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Method to avoid individual shipping costs through symbiotic partnerships between online and brick and mortar retailers

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000201574D
Publication Date: 2010-Nov-15
Document File: 4 page(s) / 56K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Disclosed is a method to develop a business relationship between online and brick-and-mortar retailers which would benefit partnered retailers as well as the consumer. An online retailer provides a local pick-up option which allows the consumer to conveniently and more cost-effectively obtain their purchase.

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Method to avoid individual shipping costs through symbiotic partnerships between online and brick and mortar retailers

Shipping costs and logistics are often both expensive and problematic for consumers and retailers.

The disclosed solution is a relationship between online and brick-and-mortar retailers which would reduce costs and streamline processes for the businesses and the consumers.

The solution entails online retailers leveraging brick-and-mortar retailer inventory to reduce shipping costs. By purchasing the goods of a retailer local to their consumer, online retailers can offer the exact goods to their consumers and reduce the shipping costs and simplify logistics. Additionally, brick-and-mortar retailers offering such a service have the potential to gain customer traffic into their store as well as increase profit through a service charge for each item the customer picks up at the store.

For this relationship to be successful, online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores need to establish a relationship made up of the following components:
• Brick-and-mortar stores publish an accurate inventory that they would like to make available for sale by online retailers.

• Both retailers would negotiate a sales price for their inventory satisfactory to both parties; allowing a good price for the consumer while maintaining a healthy profit margin.

The process of the relationship follows:
1. The online retailer introduces an alternative to free shipping whereby the consumer can locally obtain the purchased item.

2. The online retailer presents the consumer with a list of local "pickup" locations.
3. The consumer selects a local retailer location.
4. The online retailer purchases the item at the negotiated rate from the brick-and-mortar retailer. Perhaps the consumer is also charged a nominal "pickup" fee, which is a fee less than shipping costs.

5. The brick-and-mortar retailer is responsible for reserving the item and preparing it for pickup.
6. The consumer goes to the physical retailer location to pick up the item they purchased from the online retailer. The consumer could also return the item to the brick-and-mortar location (which would in turn force the return of the item from the physical retailer to the online retailer).

The disclosed invention suggests two distinct business models based on the type of contractual agreement made between the two retailers:
1. The item of purchase is regularly stocked and sold on the shelves of the physical retailer's storefront. If the customer purchases the item by means of the online retailer, then the physical retailer agrees to hold the item for a certain amount of time until the customer comes to pick it up. Note that in this case the product is originally owned and housed by the physical retailer and a customer can still walk in the store and purchase the item without ever having to interact with the online retailer. The online retailer profits only when the customer uses their site...