The pandemic transformed ecommerce fulfilment and popularised in-store and curbside pickup. These click and collect statistics prove that it’s here to stay.
Changes brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have altered the retail landscape by popularising new ways to buy online. Although many retail locations have reopened for in-person shopping, experts believe that the emerging preference toward ecommerce retail solutions, especially hybrid solutions like click and collect, may be here to stay.
Online shopping in Australia reached an all-time high last year, with online purchases growing 57% year-on-year. A good percentage of those sales came from purchases made online through traditional brick-and-mortar retailers (especially grocery stores, many of which adapted to enable delivery services for the first time during lockdown).
Many consumers are growing accustomed to the added control they now have over when and how they receive their purchases — and won’t want to relinquish that control once things fully return to normal.
An early look at click and collect statistics from this past year indicates an enormous increase in usage among consumers. However, when you take into account click and collect statistics for 2019 and earlier, it becomes clear that this larger trend toward widespread adoption was already happening. Here are the numbers:
A report from the Commonwealth Bank in 2019 suggests that many retailers had begun shifting to ecommerce-based delivery prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, 48% of those retailers gave customers the choice between delivery and click-and-collect pickup. Looking back even further, nearly a quarter of retailers in Australia offered click and collect as early as 2015.
Similarly, consumer adoption of click and collect had been steadily growing prior to the pandemic. Between July 2019 and March 2020, click and collect sales increased by 7% when compared to the previous fiscal year.
Some of that growth likely originates from more Australians making ecommerce purchases — in 2018, only 73% of Aussie households shopped online — but also indicates more widespread penetration into markets like health and beauty, fashion, and grocery.
Ecommerce has undergone a mammoth growth phase driven by the effects of COVID-19 on consumer behaviour.
According to the Australian Retailers Association, retail trends toward ecommerce accelerated by a decade in just the past twelve months. An average of 1 million additional households shopped online per month when compared to the previous year, leading to a $50 billion total spend.
At the same time, delivery services were severely stressed by increasing volume, leading many consumers to look for alternatives like curbside and in-store pickup. The result has been a massive transformation in consumer behaviour and expectations.
Many retail experts expected that a gradual “return to normal” would lead to a drop in ecommerce demand. So far, that rush back to stores hasn’t materialised, even as stores around the globe loosen restrictions and accept more in-person buyers. But why?
Click & collect isn’t just a way for shoppers to minimise unwanted exposure to crowds. It can also help overcome the shortcomings of buying online, especially as related to cost, choice, and time.
Unsurprisingly, cost is a motivating factor in most purchases. Ecommerce retailers often have to take on the burden of shipping costs — otherwise, consumers will opt for fast, no-cost shipping from ecommerce giants like Amazon.
High cost of delivery can turn off potential buyers from completing a sale. However, many buyers are willing to pick up a purchase in person, especially if it can be acquired faster than waiting for at-home delivery. Click and collect allows them to get what they want for less.
Speed is still one of the most important deciding factors for buyers, with some 49% of consumers reporting it’s extremely or somewhat important according to a recent CommBank report. The evolution from next-day to same-day delivery has created an incredible logistical and cost-checking challenge for last-mile experts.
Recent years have shown that people don’t mind picking up orders on a lunch break or on the way home from work (so long as it’s fast and convenient). Click and collect allows buyers to get their purchase faster, and without the hassle of shopping in-store or waiting for the post to arrive.
Click and collect also enables fast and easy reverse logistics to power free on-site returns — an important selling point for fashion retailers in particular.
CommBank also reports that choice is extremely or somewhat important to more than two-thirds of consumers. People want a purchase that balances the ease of ecommerce with the instant gratification of brick-and-mortar shopping. Thankfully, click and collect fits the bill.
Click and collect allows buyers to choose factors like location and timing as part of their purchase. Product can be picked up later in the day or, if stock is unavailable, delivered to the home with advanced last mile fulfillment. When a purchase doesn’t meet expectations, consumers can select from a number of locations to execute a free return on their terms.
Click and collect is one way that retailers of all sizes are changing to meet evolving consumer expectations. But easy in-store and curbside pickup isn’t just good for buyers — it’s great for business as well.
Click and collect drives people back to physical stores, and helps to keep in-person experiences relevant in an increasingly digital world. In-store pickup also helps retailers leverage impulse purchases during the pickup process. After all, nearly half of people who pick up their goods end up buying more items while they’re in the store.
With these benefits in mind, it’s no surprise that Australian retail icons like Woolworths, Myer, and Bunnings expanded click and collect services in the past year.
Click and collect will continue to be a great investment post-COVID. It was booming before the pandemic, and is poised to become even more popular after as the service becomes more widespread.
Retailers need to be cognizant of how customers want to shop post-pandemic, and it's clear click and collect is here to stay. But powering click and collect requires smart software solutions. Thankfully, a software provider like Localz can help streamline your click and collect operation and get you up and running faster.