Why should I operate a click and collect service?
Click and collect may seem counter-intuitive to many retailers. Why would your customers order their products from the comfort of their own home, only to trudge into town to collect their items? Understanding your customers motivations will help you design a click and collect system that fit’s the size and nature of your store.
Consumers are becoming increasingly impatient and there's no amount of next day delivery that can match the instant gratification of walking away with your purchase, as you stride away from the till. Consumers don’t like waiting. They don’t like the inconvenience of waiting in for delivery. They don’t like missing the post and dealing with the admin of rearranging or having to pick up from the post office. Click and collect puts the power back in the hands of the customer, and with Which? reporting 60 per cent of online shoppers experiencing problems with delivery in the last year, is it any surprise?
Click and collect offers the benefits of online shopping without the drawbacks. Customers aren’t beholden to delivery times or the disappointment of finding that missed delivery car wedged in the post box. There's no postage fee’s, and importantly no waiting. The hard work in already done.
And the benefits aren’t restricted to the customer. Retailers are also reaping the rewards. Offering your customers more options will always improve the customer experience, and with 72% of shoppers choosing to click and collect, it’s a good time to implement the service in your store. Allowing your customers to choose when they want to pick up their purchases boosts brand loyalty, securing the competitive edge.
Additionally, there's the added opportunity for upsell. When people pay for their purchases online, no money exchanges hands during the pickup, and many take the opportunity to look around the shop whilst they’re there. Fashion retailer New Look report a quarter of their click and collect customers will go on to make additional purchases, spending on average an additional £27 more.
The added convenience of click and collect, especially during peak trading times such as Christmas, can help boost sales. John Lewis experienced a 63% uplift in click and collect orders, responsible for delivering a 4.8% sales increase in the run up to Christmas 2014. Click and collect accounted for over half of their online orders last Christmas, processing on average 6 million orders per year.
How do I facilitate a click and collect service in my shop?
The popularity of click and collect services has blown up in recent years and the figures of online shoppers using the service is expected to increase to 76% in the next 2 years. This service has, in the past, been the reserve of large supermarkets and corporate retailers, but now it’s never been easier or simpler to facilitate a click and collect service in your independent business.
Epos Now’s Nettl integration allows customers to pay for their products online and choose either delivery or click and collect options. The integration is seamless, syncing products from your real life store and your website, meaning you’re never committing to orders when you don’t have the stock. The transaction will appear in real time on your system, so you're always aware of what orders come through and your stock inventory updates automatically.
Epos Now customer Paul Ingrouille runs a small sandwich shop in Manchester called Food on Third. He wanted to offer his customers more choice and flexibility when it came to picking up his products. Paul said “Nettl built a website for our sandwich shop which connects with my Epos Now till. It means my customers can order their breakfast and lunch online and choose a pickup time to suit them.” Paul's customers can now benefit from this service and he has seen an increase in the number of customers using the service on a regular basis.
What considerations will I need to make?
Implementing a click and collect service is not without its considerations and many of the problems encountered are as a result of retailers not being able to keep up with click and collect demand. Looking at issues experienced by larger retailers is a good way to learn from their mistakes.
According to a report published in e-commerce news, 31% of consumers experienced a long wait time when going in store to pick up their purchase, while 24% said they experience a wait due to staff facing difficulties locating items. The focus here must be on staff training. Click and collect services drive more foot traffic in store, but inexperienced or reluctant employees can undermine the smoothness of the service, which is the biggest attraction of click and collect services.
Having a dedicated click and collect pick up area may not be viable for all retailers, with space and or/cost being an issue. If you can facilitate a dedicated pick up area, position it at the back of the store. This means you are exposing your customers to the rest of your products, increasing the opportunity to sell additional items. Having a dedicated space for collections back of house will allow you to organise and store products efficiently, allowing your employees to identify customer products quickly and easily.
Employees should embrace click and collect as a cultural change rather than viewing it as a hindrance or an additional burden to their current role. Staff should take this as an opportunity to build rapport and upsell to the customer during the collection. Offering accessories to go with purchase items such as batteries, jewellery or shoes can boost total overall spend.
I don’t sell anything online... Can I still benefit?
Third party retailers can still benefit, even if you don’t actually sell your products online. Forging partnerships with a collection services company allows SMEs to earn commission and benefit from additional sales as a result.
Leading parcel service Collect plus has a network of 5,800 newsagents, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations, where customers can send or return unwanted items at their convenience. These customers often take the opportunity to stock up on essentials like bread and milk, reportedly spending 20% and visiting retailers 20% more often . Mark Lewis who runs the service says “It brings some of the benefits of online shopping back into the hands of independent traders.”