Saholic.com, Spice* Group’s online retail store which offers Mobiles, Tablets, Laptops & Accessories, has introduced ‘Buy Online, Pickup In Store’ feature, where-in customers can pick up their orders from a nearby Spice Hotspot retail outlet. Presently, the service is only available in Delhi/NCR region as a pilot, and the company intends to roll it out nationwide, in a few months. According to the company, this feature was introduced after feedback from customers, who wanted to pick up their orders from a physical location, instead of coordinating with the courier/delivery company.

How to place a ‘Pick Up’ Order: The customer needs to select the ‘pick from store’ option at the time of the check-out, and choose a store as per his convenience. The site offers 3 stores in each zone, which means that not all Spice Hotspots are offering pick-ups. When we selected our Zone, the nearest store was about 5kms away, though there are two stores in the vicinity. Users can pay for the product using a Credit Card, Debit Card, Prepay Card, Net Banking, EMI Option or can also Choose the ‘Pay At Store’ option to make the payment at the time of the pick-up. However, the customer needs to present an identity proof at the store, and collect the order himself.

The physical store experience? : Spice was not offering a cash on delivery option on Saholic, at the time of its launch. We had said that Spice had an advantage as it also runs about 850 offline stores, and that it should leverage it. Looks like Spice has found an interesting solution as customers love to research online but choose to buy products like mobile phones, offline. So it created a hybrid, wherein customers can book online and pay offline, making it a more attractive option as they don’t need to part with their credit card information and worry about the products not being delivered.

Also, through the feature, Saholic will be able to deliver a physical retail experience to customers, as a lot of customers expect the staff to set up their phones, transfer contacts from their old phones, explain key features and offer accessories like screen guards. However, Saholic’s website clearly mentions that the staff might not assist the customer in setting up the phone as they would be busy serving other customers.

We’re not sure how Spice will deal with fake orders, people not turning up to pay and collect, and users who would claim to have ordered a different product or a variant. We’re also not sure if returns would be through the same channel. This will also put more pressure on the company’s retail staff. But then, it’s better than cash on delivery – even if the order turns out to be fake, the company would not have to spend on shipping, and even if there’s an inter-store transfer, the inventory can be utilised.

*Disclosure: Spice Digital is an advertiser with MediaNama