Author: Elsa Martinez – Project Manager – OSF Digital.
For some time, leading thinkers in the ecommerce industry have been shouting from the rooftops about the numerous benefits gained by employing an omnichannel strategy. They advocate that this approach ensures that companies like yours can provide customers with a seamless shopping experience regardless of whether consumers are online, using a mobile device, or physically at your brick and mortar store.
If you aren’t convinced as to why you need to embark on an omnichannel approach, or if you’re looking for a way to dip a toe in the water, this article will make the case for why you should consider click and collect (C&C) as a smart way to get in on the action. Despite click and collect still being in its infancy, many customers are now starting to develop an affinity for merchants who provide this offering as it becomes a part of their shopping experience. It’s an untapped delivery method that holds great potential for commerce due to its positive transformation of the fulfillment aspect of the sales flow and the promise it offers for enhanced service delivery.
Whether you call it BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store), or click and collect (C&C), the principle is quite clear. Empowering your customers to decide where their order should be delivered is an essential feature of online retailing today and one that enhances the customer’s journey. There are many demonstrated benefits to be seen by both customers and commerce alike when introducing click and collect into the shopping ecosystem.
The first question any company who is interested in offering click and collect for shoppers is “So what’s in it for my customers?” Pure and simple, you’ll be satisfying their demand for a fully-integrated shopping experience that matches their specific needs and wants. According to Hubspot, 96% of Americans shop online, but 65% of the average amount of their allocated shopping budget is spent in stores. Given these numbers, it’s clear to see that while the love of shopping online is no passing phase, most purchases still happen offline.
With click and collect, customers can get their order fulfilled faster by purchasing their preferred products online and then going to the store to retrieve them. Delivery wait times are reduced considerably with C&C. If you offer a dedicated area for customer to pick up their orders, your clients will appreciate that they won’t need to wait in line and can quickly pop in and out without any fuss. Gold standard service will ensure repeat purchases in the future as eliminating lengthy wait times is a major bonus for today’s busy customers.
Shoppers benefit from instant gratification combined with savings and reduced frustration. They will avoid costly shipping and delivery fees as well mitigate as the risk of missing the delivery entirely or having to deal with the frustrations that come from dealing with shipping companies, waiting all day for the order to arrive, the dreaded card in the mailbox or parcel left on the step fiascos that may arise. It’s all about the experience. Consumers benefit from the convenience of picking up their purchase on their terms, perhaps during lunch hour when they’re already at the mall or when they on their way home from school or work.
Bell and Howell’s 2017 Click and Collect Retail Consumer Preference Study found that the key motivator behind consumers choosing click and collect is to save on shipping charges with 76% of those surveyed indicating this as their primary reason behind preferring this delivery option. Requiring the chosen item the same day (54%) and being close to a specific store (50%) were other motivating factors cited by this report.
Consumers can go directly into the store to manage any returns they may have as well as to leverage the expertise of the salespeople should they require assistance, additional training or have any questions about their purchase. They also have the chance to inspect their products in-person and make any necessary changes on the spot if needed. The added benefit to merchants is that online returns are reduced and in some cases eliminated since customers have this ability to experience the item in-store and exchange or return it in person if they need to do so. This takes some of the pressure off of the company’s service center and helps to reduce costs.
Once the case for click and collect has been made demonstrating how it can be of benefit to shoppers, the next question a company has is ‘What’s in it for me?’ OSF’s valued partner, Order Dynamics wrote a convincing and well-developed article titled Omnichannel Retail ROI – Does it Exist? which contains a business case analysis / ROI calculation that makes the argument for choosing this tactic and I highly encourage you to check it out.
In-store pickup can offer a revenue boost for your business by increasing sales beyond what can be seen from having goods delivered to a shopper’s home as it accomplishes the goal many brick and mortar stores have in getting shoppers to visit their stores. Customers may then decide to purchase additional products when they picking up their order, or you can take advantage of the opportunity to upsell other items. Bell and Howell’s 2017 study noted that 49% of customers will buy additional items when they go in-store to pick up their order.
From a customer experience standpoint, there are positive effects to be seen from providing consumers with another option to consider than just going in store to both browse and purchase or going online and having their order delivered to them at home. Shoppers are seeing that more and more companies are providing them with this choice, and if you’re not offering this opportunity, then you’re missing out. Click and collect keeps shoppers on their intended path to purchase as it’s noted that 17% would abandon their purchase if this option wasn’t offered to them, and 28% would look for the same item from a different online store that did offer them with this delivery method.
When a customer arrives to pick up their order, they have the chance to speak with an experienced salesperson and receive optimal service and support. This activity contributes to enhanced customer satisfaction if you’re staff can leverage this face to face opportunity.
It’s clear to see that click and collect is no longer just a passing fad but an essential part of any ecommerce offering. It is looking like this option will revolutionize the commerce industry and become a commonly used fulfillment method in the coming months. The benefits that are available to both customers as well as merchants are plentiful on both sides, making the case of why you should consider embarking on a plan to introduce this option to your shoppers. Speak with an experienced partner to learn more about how you can offer click and collect to your valued clients. The investment is worth it and it’s cheaper and faster to implement than you think.