BOPIS: Good for Target’s business?

To answer the question in the headline, Target would say “yes.” But, as I discussed recently at RetailWire, these kinds of omnichannel initiatives can be a double-edged sword:

Claiming success depends on what metric you use. Target’s argument seems to be that a growing percentage of orders is being fulfilled by stores — which is doubtless true — but it misses the bigger picture:

1. Is Target growing its overall topline sales? How about other general merchandisers who are pursuing “ship from store” strategies?
2. Is the “ship from store” trend actually cutting down on store visits, and the chance to sell impulse items?
3. How is the multitasking sales associate (busy fulfilling BOPIS or ship-from-store orders) doing his or her core task of interacting with customers or replenishing store shelves?

On the third point, it’s clear that department stores in particular have allowed their in-store service levels to decline while they try to fund omnichannel initiatives out of the same expense bucket. But by all appearances the issue is costing Target sales, too.

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