RealTime IT News

Buy With a Click, Then Hit the Bricks

It took a little longer than expected, but Amazon.com has followed through on a vow to offer in-store pickup of many items sold via its partnership with the 600-store-plus Circuit City chain of electronics stores.

Originally promised in November when the partner deal was announced in August, the mechanics of coordinating online ordering with in-store pickup apparently took a while longer than first thought.

Nevertheless, it's clearly an interesting idea, and for shoppers who are out running other errands, it means that merchandise ordered online can be in their hands much more quickly.

Amazon has said that it will be paid a percentage of the revenue for Circuit City electronics merchandise purchased through Amazon.com's Electronics store. Amazon will be responsible for processing the transaction; Circuit City will be responsible for product fulfillment, as well as providing product-related customer service.

Customers can pick up their merchandise "as soon as (they) receive the order confirmation e-mail from Circuit City," the companies say on the Web site.

Calling in-store pickup a popular consumer offer, Dennis Bowman, senior vice president and chief information officer at Circuit City , said: "We believe that Amazon.com electronics shoppers will love this option ... Moreover, if there's a problem with a product purchased at Circuit City, it can be returned to any of our more than 600 Superstores nationwide. Those benefits will be extended to customers who buy Circuit City products on Amazon.com."

A new Amazon in-store pickup boutique is available by typing "circuit city" in the Product Search navigation tool at Amazon.com's home page. Products offered by Circuit City are viewed alongside other consumer electronics items available at Amazon.com. In cases where both companies offer the same electronics products, customers have a choice between traditional Amazon.com shipping options and immediate pickup from a nearby Circuit City Superstore.

W. Alan McCollough, president and chief executive officer of Richmond, Va.-based Circuit City Stores Inc., said earlier that he believes the agreement "will serve as a revenue generator for both companies." Circuit City already has its own Web site and has offered in-store pickup to its customers for some time, but this deal gives it wider exposure to Web shoppers.