I had my picture taken this week. This may not sound like much of an event, but in fact it was. I was standing in a supermarket smiling…holding an iPad and being given a bottle of champagne! Individually each of these may not be particularly significant but together it was – at the least – a surprise.
We decided to purchase an iPad. When I start my new role I will inevitably be travelling a fair amount and keeping connected is really important to me. Although I can email, send text messages and make phone calls, none of them compare to the delight of seeing each other’s face. Webcams make this so much easier; Wi-Fi networks make this so much more practical; and an iPad offers the added option of Facetime.
I knew I would buy the iPad over the internet. I am an enthusiast for internet shopping – it’s so easy to shop around for configurations, colours and price. The downside tends to be delivery. Many retailers offer free delivery…but in seven days. Even paid delivery can be anything up to three days. Our nearest big stores are over hour’s drive away – so although store pick up is possible…it isn’t an attractive option.
I decided to go ahead and order from one of three on line stores I use regularly…and take my chances with delivery. But as I advanced through the respective pages to check availability and delivery details, I saw a new option – Free Delivery through Click and Pick – with one of the three stores! Ever inquisitive I had to look.
At first glance it was obvious. You go on line. Select your item. Click to order and your purchase is delivered to your local store. OK. Makes sense. But of little value to me. If I wanted to visit the store I would just go and buy the iPad there anyway.
However, on closer inspection I realised that ‘click and pick’ included option of delivery to branches of a supermarket chain, one of which is just down the road from us. I checked, and sure enough I could order from the Department Store on line and get next day delivery to the Supermarket. I also worked out – no surprise really – that Supermarket and Department store were part of the same parent company.
This all seemed almost too good to be true, but there I was the next day in the supermarket picking up my iPad. The champagne, smile and camera was because I was the first ever customer to ‘click and pick’ at that supermarket…and they wanted to celebrate the moment.
As I drove home…with an even bigger smile on my face (I had my iPad and a bottle of champagne) I found myself thinking about what had happened. For example, why was the supermarket so excited? After all, the iPad sale was booked to the On Line store and I didn’t pay anything to the Supermarket.
I came up with two answers. The more straightforward – that this was a great strategy to bring customers into their supermarket. Although this time, I only picked up the parcel and left, I could easily have done some regular shopping.
The more interesting – that I had just experienced a wonderful example of the whole being more than the sum of the component parts. Both Supermarket and On Line store are part of the same company. At its simplest, I would not have purchased the iPad from the company at all if it was not for the supermarket pick up. My purchase may not directly help the supermarket, but it most certainly helps the overall business.