A new wave of retailers adopting pay-in-store online shopping is tailor-made for the 99%, but with an eye for the company's own bottom line: Don't have a credit card or debit card? No problem. Just reserve your items online and pay in-store.
Kmart announced yesterday that they are adopting in-store payments for items purchased on their website. The functionality is baked into the Shop Your Way loyalty card program, which gives Kmart e-retailer-style deep analytics about their brick-and-mortar customers. Customers reserve their goods online and travel to their local store, where they pay in cash (or pay via card for customers averse to entering credit card numbers online) and receive their purchases. The program requires customers to purchase payments within 48 hours, and also allows them to pay in-store and have deliveries sent to their home for furniture or other big items.
Kmart executives are blunt in public statements about this program being aimed directly at low-income customers. "With Pay in Store, we offer our members more choices and provide access to online shopping for a large, underserved portion of the U.S. population that wants the convenience of shopping online but does not have a credit card or is reluctant to submit their card information via the Internet," Kmart executive vice president Imran Jooma said in a statement. "We are addressing a need in a way no other large retailer is doing by giving members and customers ultimate flexibility, convenience, and choice in how they shop and pay and the satisfaction of walking out minutes later with their items in-hand."
Jooma's statement isn't entirely accurate, however: There is one other big retailer offering a similar program. Walmart was the first in the space with a Pay With Cash program for Walmart.com which launched in late April. Walmart's program allows users to pay in cash in-store for online purchases, but works more akin to a traditional layaway program. Both companies are going after the smart, smart strategy of damaging Amazon by courting demographics the e-retail giant usually ignores.
[Image: Flickr user Fan of Retail]