Browse Prior Art Database

Method and Apparatus for Online Shopping with In Store Pickup and Payment

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010644D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jan-02
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jan-02
Document File: 4 page(s) / 88K

Publishing Venue

IBM

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  Method and Apparatus for Online Shopping with In Store Pickup and Payment

Description of Problem Solved:

Existing eCommerce solutions suffer from the following limitations

(a) No touch and feel: Most eCommerce solutions fulfill only via home delivery. In this case, ordered goods cannot be examined in-person before the purchase is completed. This significantly limits the sale of a wide range of retail items, from perfume to clothes.
(b) Added cost: Costs associated with fulfilling via home delivery are added to the cost of the items shipped.
(c) No cross sell: For home delivery, the multi-channel retailer has no opportunity to cross-sell with in-store items
(d) Sales abandoned during on-line checkout: A large fraction of eCommerce transactions, both home initiated and in-store kiosk initiated, are abandoned during the onerous "checkout" stage of the transaction when the customer must enter credit card information, shipping information, etc.

The invention provides a practical business process and apparatus which meets the needs of retailers for a solution to problems (c) and (d) and the needs of consumers for a solution to problems (a) and (b). It accomplishes this by adding function to existing eCommerce solutions so as to enable fulfillment via customer pickup in a local store. The invention provides process and mechanism for requesting local store pickup as an on-line "checkout" option, confirming and guaranteeing availability at the selected local store, suspending the transaction until such time as the customer arrives at the local store to pickup the merchandise, completing the transaction at the local store point-of-sale (or, alternately, changing or cancelling the transaction once the merchandise is examined), and distributing the transaction details so as to make them universally available across an integrated multi-channel retailing environment.

Description of Typical Embodiment:

A high level description of the business process of the invention:

(1) eCommerce site allows the consumer to select fulfillment via local store pickup and to elect a local store. (eCommerce site may be accessed from conventional browser, in-store kiosk, cell phone micro-browser, PDA, etc.)

(2) The system queries clerk/associates in the store regarding availability of the specified items. Query/reply mechanism can be as simple as a web page pick list or as complex as an automated pick processing application on a network of workload balanced PDAs.

(3) If item isn't available in the store, the system orders the item from web inventory to be automatically shipped to the store.

(4) System notifies consumer of ship status (via e-mail, synthetic voice, etc.)

(5) In-store customer service function receives and holds items awaiting pickup

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(6) System confirms pickup availability to the consumer

(7) Web store suspended transaction is passed to store POS system as a POS suspended transaction ....consumer arrives in store...

(8) Customer loyalty c...