The world of shopping is quickly moving towards online sales. E-commerce and home delivery are becoming more and more important. At the same time, a new movement is gaining momentum.
Whilst e-commerce giants such as Amazon are focusing on providing a bigger and better express delivery service, brick-and-mortar stores have the ability to provide the best of both worlds: online shopping and real life in-store transactions. How is it possible for physical stores to establish such a strong presence during a time where ecommerce is taking over and dominating the shopping world?
The secret to success is Click & Collect. And it’s working.
Click and Collect: Buy Online, Collect In Store
Click and collect is a new delivery method that combines online shopping with real life transactions. Customers can purchase products online from the comfort of their home, and once they’ve made the purchase, they can choose to pick up their goodies from your brick-and-mortar store.
Click and collect is a great example of omni-channel retail: the business model of the present and the future. Omni-channel retail means that your brand has entry into your customer’s lives in many different ways, both digitally and in-person. To achieve this, you can use information from one channel, to invite customers to use another channel. And that’s exactly what you’re doing with click and collect. Customers visit your online store, make a purchase, and are then prompted to collect their purchase in store. This way, they are forced to pay a visit to your brick-and-mortar store, where you could then refer them to, for example, your social media channels. One process, multiple channels.
Why offer Click & Collect?
Many people are weary about online shopping, especially when it comes to fashion and jewellery items. The colour might look different in real life to online photos, or the sizing or fit of an item might be wrong. If you allow people to collect items from your physical store, you simultaneously give them the chance to check their purchase before taking it home. This provides online shopping sceptics with the reassurance they need to continue shopping online.
Click and Collect Is Getting Popular. Very Popular.
In its most basic form, click and collect has been around for years. Most online shoppers will do some online research before they go in-store to make a purchase. Merchants now have the opportunity to make this process a lot easier and more convenient for customers by offering a click and collect option. This means less uncertainty surrounding product purchases based on an item’s size, fit or colour. Not to mention, customers can view a product's availability at their chosen store.
The statistics say it all. According to Business Insider, more than 50% of UK shoppers use the click and collect option, which makes them the biggest users of click and collect worldwide. Not far behind is the US, where, according to CNBC, a third of holiday purchases are made using the click and collect option.
The Benefits of Click and Collect
Click and Collect is becoming more and more popular, and this is why:
Benefits for Customers
Convenience and Flexibility
Having the click and collect option makes the shopping experience more convenient and flexible for your customers. With click and collect, customers have the opportunity to view a product in real life before making a financial commitment. Not to mention, providing a method other than delivery can individualise the shopping experience for your customers as they can tailor it to their own needs.
Shipping Cost Savings
One of the biggest reasons for abandoned-cart-syndrome is shipping costs. People have no problem selecting a product and adding it to their cart, but once they reach the check-out stage and see the order total including shipping costs, it’s bye-bye shopping cart. Click and collect can be a good alternative for people who would rather save on shipping costs.
Avoiding the Stress of Missed Deliveries
Home delivery isn't necessarily the best option for everyone. Standard delivery often takes at least a couple of days to arrive - time some last-minute shoppers don’t have. This is when next day in-store pick up is a great option. Take for example someone who works unusual hours or is not home during usual delivery hours. In-store pick up means your customer can collect their item at a time that best suits them, without having to worry about missed deliveries.
Easier In-Store Purchase
Many people conduct online research before visiting the physical store and making a purchase. Without click and collect, these customers cannot be sure that the specific product they’re after is available in store. They also risk long queues. With the option of click and collect, however, you can help your customers avoid long waiting times and the disappointment of product unavailability. In return, they will reward you with their loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals. It’s a win-win situation.
Benefits for Store Owners
Minimise returns and exchanges
Online shopping doesn’t come without risk and uncertainty. Clothes might fit differently on the model, a customer might order the wrong size, or the colour may appear different in photos. This often leads to a high volume of returns and exchanges, resulting in impatient and unhappy customers, not to mention a lot of time and effort on your part. If you give customers the chance to have a look at their product or try on an item in store, they can decide then and there whether or not it is the right fit for them. As an added bonus, the customer can return or exchange the product on the spot, which reduces logistics issues for you.
Avoid Damaged Goods
Delivery might not always be the best way to distribute your products. Particularly if you have fragile or breakable goods, the transport from your warehouse or store to the customer’s door may not be a safe journey. If you face the possibility of delivering damaged goods, click and collect can help you solve that problem. The last thing you want to do is have to reimburse your now unhappy customer for their damaged goods!
Opportunity for Upselling
One of the greatest side-benefits of click and collect is the opportunity for upselling. When people come to your store to collect their delivery, it means that you automatically increase foot traffic to your physical store, and increased foot traffic means increased sales!
The Wall Street Journal reported that around 50% of shoppers opt for in-store pickup. Out of these 50%, 45% also purchased something else during their visit to the physical store. This means that click and collect not only reduces the cost of returns and exchanges, but also generates extra revenue from in-store upselling opportunities.
Overall, click and collect combines the best of both worlds for merchants and customers alike: online shopping and real, in-store transactions. And as ecommerce is becoming more and more competitive, adding an option for click and collect gives you an edge over your competition. You are able to reach more customers that prefer in-person pick-up, and you have the chance to turn occasional customers into loyal fans by offering more convenience and flexibility.
Should Your E-commerce Store Offer Click and Collect?
Whilst click and collect offers many great benefits to customers and store owners alike, it might not be every business’s cup of tea. The set up of click and collect requires a fair bit of time and effort, and means that you must make changes to your online and offline processes. So, should your store offer click and collect?
Best Products for Click and Collect
Click and Collect makes the most sense for ecommerce stores that offer products that need to be tried on, and for fragile products. Clothes and shoes have emerged as the frontrunners for click and collect, as customers are able to try their items on in store and check the colour, size and fit. Other products that work well with click and collect include gadgets and household items, not to mention cakes and other baked goods that are easily damaged during transportation. On the contrary, heavy or bulky items such as furniture or kitchenware are less suitable for click and collect, as customers would struggle with transporting these items home themselves.
Establish a Seamless Connection Between Your Online and Brick-and-mortar Stores
Before getting started with click and collect, there are a few things you need to put into place. Here is a checklist of everything you need to consider when setting up the process:
Market it Well
Make sure that the click and collect option is visible to your online customers. Create hype around the new delivery option and take this opportunity to encourage sales. If people don’t know about it, they can’t take advantage of it.
Onboard Your In-Store Team
To make sure that the click and collect process runs smoothly, ensure your in-house staff are on board. Train your staff on how to process click and collect orders, and reward them so that they are encouraged to foster the upselling process.
Have The Order Ready
Once you set up click and collect online, make sure that your online and offline systems are connected, so that in-store staff can see online click and collect orders straight away and have the items ready for collection at the agreed-upon time.
Inform Customers About The Delivery Status
The best way to ensure that an order is ready for collection at the agreed time is by sending customers emails about the status of the delivery. Once they receive their purchase confirmation, keep them informed about where their package is, and let them know when it’s ready for collection. This way you avoid disappointment and discontent.
Offer In-Store Benefits
One of the major reasons people might opt for online shopping and in-store delivery is the certainty that they will receive the product in-store, and save time compared to normal purchases and home delivery. To make sure that you cater to this system, you can either let them skip the queue, or set up a special collection point in-store.
Tempt Customers In-Store
In order to take advantage of the upselling opportunity, make sure that your in-store point-of-purchase is on point. For example, Zara places smaller items such as sun glasses and perfumes on their counter, so that people are tempted as they are paying for or picking up their items.
Set up a Trial Phase and See What Works
The best way to ensure that the click and collect process runs smoothly is by listening to your customers’ feedback. Once you have set it up, collect their feedback and see where you can improve. Similarly, you need to make sure that you are reaping additional benefits. You could do this by, for example, tracking if and how much people purchase additionally when visiting your physical store to pick up their online orders.
In general, pickups should be treated with the same diligence and commitment as any other core business activity. If done right, click and collect is a great way to minimise the cost of returns, increase customer satisfaction through flexibility and convenience, and increase your bottom line through upselling efforts.
Ready to Click and Collect?
Have you decided that click and collect would make for a great delivery option for your Shopify store and give you that competitive edge? Contact Elkfox and we can help you streamline the setup process and be on your way to providing a seamless and enjoyable customer experience. We’re here to help.