Click & Collect is about way more than securing an online order. With the right strategy and systems, it can offer a wide range of advantages for your business and customers.
A Competitive Advantage for Bricks and Mortar Retailers, A Better Experience for Customers
As this blog shows, in-store shopping is still by far the most preferred option for Australian & New Zealand consumers over eCommerce. However, they’re increasingly using the web and mobile to find nearby retailers offering the best products and the quickest, easiest way to get hold of them.
By offering a well-designed Click & Collect system, your prospective customers have a means to ensure a local store has inventory available and then visit so they can get the goods they want the same day. This provides bricks and mortar retailers with a means to differentiate and compete against pure-play online brands by offering consumers quicker access and a cost saving on home delivery fees.
Australian shoppers have a high usage of Click & Collect; the two key drivers being ‘to avoid home delivery charges (45% of shoppers)’, or because ‘it is more convenient than home delivery (37% of shoppers)’. (1)
Offering a reliable, real-time Online Stock Checker function on your website alongside a Click & Collect option provides an ever greater chance of securing an in-store sale. By providing visibility of real-time stock availability across your stores, customers can just use your online presence to confirm its worthwhile making an in-store visit so they can make the purchase transaction there and take home their goods. For many shoppers this is a preferred shopping experience as it allows them to try before they buy (whereas with Click & Collect they have to commit to a purchase before picking up in-store). Offering customers multiple options is of course going to maximise your chance of winning their business and long-term loyalty.
Driving Higher Value In-Store Purchases & Named Sales
In addition to offering more convenience and flexibility to the customer, driving online customers in-store is attractive to retailers as it tends to generate higher average transaction values. Research has found that almost 50% of customers who come into the store to collect their online purchases make an additional unplanned purchase. Many retailers even offer discounts for customers opting to Click & Collect for this very reason.
With suitable training and systems to encourage staff to maximise cross-selling and offer attractive multi-buy promotions, average transaction per order can be dramatically increased. In-store visits also offer an opportunity to build a more emotional connection with shoppers, generate loyalty program sign-ups and capture customer profiles to pave the way for customer growth programs.
Click & Collect and Online Stock Checker provide bricks and mortar retailers with the reach and market coverage of eCommerce, the opportunity to differentiate on customer experience AND the higher average order values and lifetime value potential of in-store. However, getting it to work in a frictionless way is not so simple...
Operationalising Click & Collect - Supply Chain Challenges
Click & Collect relies on having the right business systems in place to ensure accurate in-store inventory data is reflected on your eCommerce site. If there is not a live, two-way sync of inventory data between your stores and your eCommerce platform then you risk making Click & Collect sales when stock is not actually available. Another challenge retailers face is providing suitable inventory coverage across each of their stores so there is always a local outlet nearby with stock. Lastly, once a Click & Collect purchase is made, systems need to be in place to ensure stock is reserved / allocated at the store for the customer to pick-up. A customer who shows up to collect their goods and is told they aren’t able to is unlikely to ever purchase from you again. They will also most likely pass on negative word of mouth to their friends too!
Holding dedicated Click & Collect inventory is NOT the answer
Some retailers attempt to get around the challenges mentioned above by holding dedicated stock in their stores just for Click & Collect sales. However, this presents the risk of your retail stores being unnecessarily over-stocked which adversely affects inventory turnover and GMROI (Gross Margin Return on Inventory).
An Omni-Channel Solution to Click & Collect
Retailers need live, real-time omni-channel systems in place that allow inventory across all of their stores to be up to date in their eCommerce store and instantly reserved for collection once a Click & Collect purchase is made online. Where inventory is not available in the preferred pickup location for the customer, best-of-breed systems enable stock to be transferred from other nearby stores. This reduces the risk of online abandonment due to the customer not seeing a nearby location that they can pickup from.
They will have Google Maps integration so your customers can see the distance to your nearest stores.
The same systems used for Click & Collect should also enable a real-time In-Store Stock Checker function to be offered on your eCommerce site. This means that customers who want to try products before they buy can visit your store confident in the knowledge that stock is available and then complete their purchase there. More often than not with a higher level of spend than they would have made online.
Many retailers have also evolved their Click & Collect systems to enable collection from third-party locations such as the Post Office and shopping centre collection hubs. This involves an additional step in the fulfilment process to be enabled in your operational software where the store (or warehouse) that is holding inventory ships the goods to these third party locations. Though there are challenges in implementing a successful Click & Collect and In-Store Stock Check service, brands that overcome these obstacles will likely meet or exceed customer expectations, creating loyal repeat shoppers.
The Retail Express and Shopify integration provides a continuous 2-way sync of inventory data and advanced business processes to enable your stores and eCommerce to work in unison to provide the frictionless Click & Collect / In-Store Stock Check experience your customers demand.