Consumers can now purchase Band-Aids and pick up their latest online shopping purchase from Urban Outfitters at the same place: Walgreens.
Narvar, a customer experience company that powers the shipping information for brands like Warby Parker and Macy’s, is debuting Narvar Concierge in partnership with Walgreens, letting any retailer on the Narvar platform enable an option to let customers pick up and return orders at more than 8,000 Walgreens stores in the lower 48 states.
Brands like Urban Outfitters and Levi’s are part of the initial group using the service. In addition to Walgreens, this service is rolling out at three Nordstrom Local stores and four Nordstrom stores in California.
“There’s so much talk about retail stores not performing, over square footage in the industry, [so] this kind of program [is providing] more approaches for them in the marketplace,” said Amit Sharma, founder and CEO of Narvar.
The partnerships, Sharma said, took more than a year to figure out, as he wanted to ensure that any retailer that hopped on board was aligned with how the platform views consumer behavior—notably the Buy-Online-Pickup-in-Store trend (also known as BOPIS). Walgreens and Nordstrom ended up as perfect first partners, since both companies already have built BOPIS technology and service in stores.
“These retailers know best how to manage their operations and customer experience part of [BOPIS],” Sharma said. “Narvar brings the technology and our partnership brings the overall experience to life.”
Nordstrom did not respond to request for comment and Walgreens was unavailable at press time. We’ll update should we hear back.
But, Sharma said, this is one of many partnerships he envisions for the platform and hopes other brands and retailers use Narvar’s technology to enable BOPIS as well.
As part of the checkout experience, consumers who shop with a retailer that’s enabled Narvar Concierge will see the option to pick it up at a Walgreens or a Nordstrom Local store. To pick up packages, customers need to bring in their photo ID. As for returns, customers can drop off packages at Walgreens as long as it’s picked up FedEx, whereas with Nordstrom, customers can drop off any package—no matter the carrier. Sharma did not disclose the terms of the partnership.
The BOPIS trend isn’t necessarily new, but more retailers are rolling it out as an option to cut down on shipping costs and returns, while also creating another opportunity for shoppers to buy more as they pick up an item in-store. Sharma said this is just the beginning of Narvar’s product map, and imagines another feature to let customers bring in items ready for a return but without the return label and packaging materials; instead a consumer could do it in-store.
“We take a multiprong approach in terms of shaping and building the innovation that’s needed in the market,” Sharma said.