Click and collect: getting in store fulfilment right

It’s less than a decade since retail commentators seemed obsessed with heralding “the death of the store”. But the store has proven to be surprisingly resilient and flexible these days. Therefore, 2017 will continue to see retailers leverage stores to increasingly smarter advantage.

Key to this store revival is the rise of click and collect. This allows bricks and mortar retailers to win back competitive advantage over ‘pure play’ online providers. An increasing number of studies identify that bringing shoppers into the store to collect their goods, rather than delivering them to their homes, means they buy additional items.

Click and collect has come a long way during this current decade. Research by IMRG and CollectPlus predicts that it will continue to increase in popularity at a growth rate of 20% per year.

>See also: 6 ways online shopping is transforming the retail landscape

In fact, the service is currently proving so popular that some leading supermarkets now allow customers to order before 9am – and still promise a midday collection window.

So not only must retailers maximise the instore advantage for up sell and cross-sell, they must make the customer experience a compelling, differentiated one. The in-store systems and processes at the sharp end of fulfilment must not let the retailer down.

Make the store your brand showcase

When customers come in-store to collect orders, retailers should aim to have the ‘best-practice basics’ firmly in place. It is vital that retailers provide a dedicated collection point that is clearly signposted in-store, and all staff must be trained to identify it and guide customers to it.

>See also: Inside River Island’s transition to digital retail

Retailers must guarantee speedy, no-fuss collection, with queues kept to a minimum to ensure customers are engaged in using the service.

It is important that retailers ensure back-end organisation is slick, so that goods can be found quickly and accurately. Making the omnichannel vision a reality is a priority; consistency across touch-points is crucial, as is the single view of the customer.

Over and above the basics, there are more things retailers can offer, such as try before you buy. Rather than just handing over a parcel, it is good to let customers inspect – or in the case of clothing items, try on – items there and then in the store.

>See also: How established retailers are challenging the challengers

This is a win-win situation for customers, as it drives better customer experience, and stores get returned items back into circulation quicker, essential for the next sales transaction.

In today’s retail market, it’s worth restating what’s at stake here. The time is inarguably right for the continued success of click and collect.

Recent research from Doddle found that 84% of customers said it was infuriating having to wait at home for a delivery to arrive, and 50% of shoppers have abandoned online purchases because of poor delivery options. This provides a great opportunity for click and collect to continue to grow.


Sourced by Mark Thomson, director, Retail and Hospitality EMEA, Zebra Technologies

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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