Shopping for products online and collecting the order from a local store later has changed the way customers shop. With high home delivery costs and inconvenient delivery times, click and collect offers an attractive alternative for both shoppers and retailers.
In the UK, more and more retailers have introduced a click and collect service. According to research conducted by Planet Retail, 76% of UK shoppers will buy online and collect from stores by 2017. Why are shoppers flocking to click and collect services? Here are the top three reasons.
Home deliveries restrict customers to stay home and wait for a delivery that might not even arrive on that day. Often, customers can’t schedule an exact time or time window for the delivery. This can be very frustrating.
With one in four online shoppers being deterred by inconvenient delivery times , click and collect allows customers to pick up orders when they can and from where they want to, and to be sure that the item will be actually there, when they go to collect it.
Click and collect can save customers and staff members time by cutting waiting times and improving operational efficiency. With the increased usage of click and collect, retailers are using location technology to enhance the service to make collection even more efficient.
Retailers can know when customers approach a particular store and send them push notifications to remind them to collect their outstanding online orders.
Using the same location technology, staff members are alerted when customers are on their way to collect an order and can get it ready for collection. This reduces waiting times and queueing, especially in rush hours.
Home deliveries can be expensive. Sometimes delivery can cost more than the actual product you want to order. That pushes customers to abandon shopping carts and visit other retailers or to just shop offline.
However, many retailers offer free of charge click and collect services, which prompts customers to order online and pick the order from a local store.
The most successful retailers are placing click and collect at the heart of their multi-channel strategies and leveraging their store presence. Top retailers like John Lewis, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, the Entertainer, Asda and Argos offer click and collect to their customers.
Some have extended their service to use third-party stores – so that customers can pick up orders from petrol stations and local convenience shops. This can be good for customers who do not want to visit a busy city centre store or pay high parking fees.
The most unexpected turn is Amazon buying physical stores to allow customers to order online and pick up orders. The retailer has also installed lockers for customers to return their click and collect orders in shopping centres and train stations.
Customers are provided with special codes sent to their mobile, which unlock the lockers. Amazon has realised the potential and importance of click and collect and is successfully providing great customer service.
The future of click and collect lies in retailers following the example of Amazon by delivering on customer expectations or even exceeding them. According to Deloitte click and collect is "increasingly fundamental part of the e-commerce offer". Retailers are facing the challenge of continuing to improve their online and offline performance to deliver ever better customer experience through click and collect.
  Source: Berg, N (2014, April 7). UK Click & Collect: Retail fad or future of high street? Retrieved from http://www.planetretail.net/Reports/ReportDetails?catalogueID=61319