The rise of click and collect; Convenience, experience and opportunity

David Buckingham
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In today’s omnichannel world where everyone is competing with Amazon, retailers are continuously looking for ways to boost their offerings, improve customer experience and remain relevant.
Click and collect is just one of the ways bricks and mortar retailers are trying to compete - by driving shoppers into stores. By offering consumers the convenience of picking up their purchase from a store rather than waiting in for a delivery, it saves them delivery charges at the same time.

But what’s in it for the retailer? In a recent survey, 69% of US consumers who used click and collect during the 2017 holiday season purchased additional items while picking up in store. This opens up a world of opportunities for retailers to take advantage of click and collect shoppers and encourage them to spend more time (and money) whilst they’re in store.

The UK’s click and collect market is expected to grow 78% by 2020, to £8.2 billion, which is not at all surprising considering the strategic shift away from price to convenience. One retailer that is leading the way in this area is Debenhams. Under the leadership of ex-Amazon Fashion boss Sergio Bucher, the company is trying to add to its bottom line by focusing on getting customers into store and onto its website more often. The retailer is using a mix of tactics to do this; bringing in more brands, de-cluttering the shop floor and capitalising on the opportunity of click and collect, which sees customers spending up to 20% more when they collect their orders themselves

And Debenhams isn’t alone. Sainsbury’s recently announced the expansion of a partnership with Patisserie Valerie. Not only is the supermarket stocking the patisserie’s products in-store, but it is also running a click and collect service across 51 shops. Since the trial began, Sainsbury’s says it’s experienced strong incremental sales.

What this really shows is the opportunity to cross-sell, upsell and encourage shoppers to spend more time in-store. Click and collect combines the convenience of internet shopping (easily finding what you want, comparing prices and adding it to a ‘basket’) with the in-store experience and ease of collection, all the while driving people into physical stores at the same time. And it’s on the rise, too. Figures released by GlobalData say that in the next four years, click and collect sales will account for almost 14% of total online spend.

Click and collect is the perfect way to engage with customers while they’re in store, particularly at the point of sale. Once in-store, or at the collection point, retailers can encourage shoppers to stay longer; but how?

By offering them coupons (targeted and personalised based on their past purchases or what they’re collecting). This doesn’t need to be restricted to product-based offers. It can include complementary promotions, such as a coffee in the store cafe, or a make-up consultation in a department store – all designed to make the shopping experience better and keep customers in store for longer.

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But how does click and collect really differ from buying on Amazon and collecting your packages at designated collection points or lockers? Just like the online experience, this is completely devoid of human contact and solely focused on convenience over experience. Customers are still coming to pick up their order, but there’s no incentive to linger – it’s a functional experience that presents a missed opportunity.

With click and collect, retailers have the perfect way to differentiate themselves from Amazon and deliver both convenience and experience. Place the order online, collect in-store quickly and easily, and receive personalised offers and promotions to make the experience that much better.

Click and collect is the perfect hybrid, merging the convenience of online and the experience of shopping in store. It works across retail sectors - grocery, fashion, hardware and even baked goods. While it’s a great idea for consumers, it’s even better for retailers who can use it as an opportunity to engage with customers in-store during collection. And it’s a major differentiator for traditional retailers in the battle against the almighty Amazon.


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