Imagine walking into your fast-food restaurant of choice and having your order ready when you get to the counter. Or being handed a cup of coffee — just the way you like it — the moment you get inside the door.
Ordering ahead is a big deal for Starbucks, McDonald’s and the other big hamburger chains. The companies have introduced or will soon roll out mobile apps that let you order and pay before you arrive.
It sounds convenient. It might cut down on mistakes. But will it save you time?
A study of big retailers that offer in-store pickup for online orders found mixed results. Customers who ordered online saved, on average, 96 seconds compared with people who walked in and bought the item off the shelf. And at a few stores, picking up an online order took longer.
Retail consultant StellaService found traditional shoppers took 7 minutes, on average, between entering the store and checking out. Shoppers who ordered online spent 5.4 minutes in the store.
StellaService said traditional shoppers spent less time at Home Depot, Macy’s and Nordstrom compared with people picking up online orders.
The company studied Best Buy, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Macy’s, Nordstrom, Office Depot, Sears, Staples, Target, Toys R Us and Wal-Mart.