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Convenient click and collect no longer "nice-to-have" for retailers

Once viewed as a nice to have, click and collect is now a must have as consumers opt for contactless collection to minimize time in-store and proximity to other people. 

COVID-19 has changed normal ways of living, and social distancing measures have increased the demand for contactless click and collect services. 


What is click and collect?

Click and collect, also known as “buy online, pick-up in-store,” BOPIS is an omnichannel strategy where online shoppers order items and pick them up from a physical location rather than have it delivered to them at home or other personally relevant address. 

Click-and-collect can take several forms:

1. Delivery to the collection point of a third-party network 
2. Collection from a designated store;
3. Collection from a centralized click-and-collect hub in a shopping center 


Collection stats

Once viewed as a nice-to-have, click and collect is now a must-have as consumers opt for contactless collection to minimize time in-store and proximity to other people. 


Woman collects shopping wearing a mask due to covid-19


The New Store Shopper in High-Touch Retail report states that 85% percent of shoppers have significantly increased curb-side pick-up orders compared to pre-COVID-19 rates.

This shopping behavior isn't likely to change soon as consumers intend to continue to favor contactless collection. 80% of shoppers expect to increase BOPIS and curbside pick-up over the next 6 months.

From the statistics above, it's clear that click and collect is important if you want to build a strong omnichannel strategy and increase sales. This article looks at the benefits of convenient click and collect service to retailers and shoppers.  We’ll conclude the article by sharing tips on how you can set up your click and collect service.


Click and collect benefits for customers


Benefits of click and collect for retail customers


1. Convenience

Consumers are too busy and find waiting for a delivery to arrive frustrating. Click and collect gives consumers the ability to pick-up their purchase at their convenience instead of waiting at home for a delivery. 


2. Shipping cost

Shipping cost is one of the main reasons consumers opt for click and collect. 76% of consumers select click and collect when shopping to save on shipping charges. With click and collect, consumers can pick-up their orders themselves in-store for free and avoid home delivery charges.


3. Speed of delivery

Consumers seek instant gratification and want to get their hands on their orders quickly.  With click and collect, consumers can pick-up deliveries the same day they make their orders instead of waiting for home delivery. 


4. Social distancing

We've already seen that as the pandemic continues, consumers are opting for low-contact shopping options such as home delivery and in-store collection. In some countries, physical stores are unable to open unless they offer curb-side pickup. Click and collect allows customers to continue to purchase essential and non-essential items while maintaining social distancing. 


Click and collect benefits for retailers


Retail stores can remains open thanks to click and collect


1. Eliminates missed delivery

Failed delivery costs retailers a lot of money and can negatively affect customer experience.  84% are unlikely to shop with a brand again after a poor last mile delivery experience. Click and collect reduces missed delivery and increases delivery certainty as customers pick up their orders from a dedicated point at their convenience.  


2. Increases fulfillment efficiency  

With consumers demanding fast last-mile delivery (thanks to Amazon), click and collect allows retailers to increase efficiency and speed up delivery. Stores are used as fulfillment centers and pick-up points so retailers don’t have to rely on third-party providers to make deliveries. This makes it easy to have visibility into the chain of custody and fulfillment flow.


3. Reduces fulfillment costs

Consumers’ fast delivery expectations make last-mile delivery expensive for retailers and squeezes margins. Offering click and collect slashes fulfillment costs as retailers don’t have to invest in delivery fleets or pay for couriers services to make deliveries. 


4. Leverages retail store space

Click and collect enables retailers to leverage their store space as pick-up locations. The stores are used as fulfillment centers for pulling inventory from selves to fulfill online orders quickly. Consumers only need to wait at curbside or line up outside the establishment to pick-up deliveries.


5. Enables sustainable delivery

Consumers are aware of the environmental impact of delivery vans and are now opting for sustainable delivery options. Over half (56%) of 18-24 year old shoppers would be persuaded to shop with a competitor who offered more sustainable fulfillment. Click and collect is a sustainable delivery option that reduces carbon emission from delivery vans by consolidating hundreds of individual last-mile journeys into a single drop off point.  


Retailers offering click and collect services are reaping the rewards. According to the Salesforce Q2 shopping index,  sites advertising buy online or curbside pick-up options saw digital revenues grow by 127% year over year. Meanwhile, sites that operate physical stores but didn’t offer a pick-up option only increased by 54%.

Click-and-collect delivery has proven advantageous to all. But adapting a convenient click and collect service can quickly turn into a nightmare if not done correctly. In the next section, we go over the best practices to help you set up your click and collect service.


Click and collect best practices

Shoppers will switch loyalties to retailers who offer a seamless click and collect experiences. Here are some best practices that will help you create an excellent click and collect customer experience.


Click and collect customer SMS communication with unique one-time PIN


1. Communicate updates

In advance of the collection window, communicate clear instructions via email or SMS when items are ready for pick-up and how the handover process will work.  You can automate this process using smart, real-time messaging, and location technology. 


2. Have a designated pick-up area

Have a designated pick-up location that customers can easily access either at the front of the store or outside (curbside). Provide clear signage to help customers easily find designated pick-up points and cut the time it takes to complete the pick-up process.  


3. Pick-up time

Avoid having too many customers in one area at the same time by enabling shoppers to book collection times.  Collection time windows can be added as a post-checkout screen using a time slot appointment scheduling software.


4. Reduce wait times

According to the 2018 Bell and Howell Click and Collect Retail Consumer Preference Study,  more than 80 % of consumers expect to be able to pick-up their items in under 10 minutes. 

Reduce pick-up time by informing customers in advance where to go for pick-up and enable two-way communications so customers can notify you when they’ve arrived to reduce dwell and handover time.  Equip store associates with handheld mobile computers and scanners so that they can locate customer orders and expedite pick-up. 


5. Train employees

Train store associates on how to associate process orders quickly.  Also, consider training employees to digitally share knowledge and give expert advice about products and services with customers. This will help them to deliver a great click and collect experience.


6. Fraud protection

Due to the increase in online shopping,  click and collect is being targeted by fraudsters.  Buy online, pick-up in-store fraud rose by 55% in the first half of 2020, according to the Forter Fraud Attack Index

Protect your business and customers by issuing a unique one time PIN code to customers. To collect their order in-store, customers simply present your pin code at the designated collection point.


7. Keep customers safe

Ensure social distancing at the store by keeping customers in their vehicles through the pick-up process. You can rezone parking bays exclusively for Pick Up or make drive thru available for all collections.   Leverage digital IDs to remote validate in your checkout system without a customer having to get close to show their government-issued ID.


8. COVID-19 safety

Provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)  for all staff picking and packing as well as those close to customers at handover. Frequently clean totes, shelves, counters, storage areas, and commonly used surfaces. Whenever possible, encourage the use of debit or credit cards to avoid cash on collection. 


Time to invest in convenient collection

With consumers unlikely to feel comfortable mixing in shops until the COVID-19 crisis is over, click and collect has become the new normal and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.  Now is the time for you to offer a safe and convenient click and collect service to have a competitive edge, build customer loyalty, and grow your business.