Many retail companies around the world are implementing Click & Collect service as an immediate measure to cope with the pandemic. The aim is to allow customers to make quick and secure purchases, strengthen loyalty, and spread expedition points across warehouses and stores. Customers can choose products conveniently from home and pick them up at their favorite store.
Click & Collect as a step towards omnichannel sales
Personal pick-up is not the same as Click & Collect
Many online stores already offer the service of personal pick-up at the store. However, the purchasing process is different. The online store displays all their products and customers can choose personal pick-up in the selected store as one of the options. If all ordered items are in stock at the selected place, then it is possible to pick up the order immediately. Otherwise, the missing items are delivered to the store (usually within 1 working day).
Click & Collect services combine both the online and physical presence of a store, meaning a client can check out the online component and then select products according to the physical store closest to them (additionally, this allows them to see what products are in stock in that store).
Examples of Click & Collect service implementation
DM drugstore offers an express Click & Collect service throughout Germany (not yet in the Czech Republic). At the Dm.de e-shop, customers choose a store in their area. The online store then displays the availability of the store for regular delivery and for Click & Collect. The DM also has a pick-up/delivery switch in the cart.
Although Żabka does not operate a regular online store, it offers the Click & Collect service in its Żappka application. It originally served as an application for the loyalty system for collecting Żappka points. In the first step, the customer selects their store, then adds products from the catalog to the cart, and then pays and picks up the order without waiting in line.
If a visitor to the ASKO Nábytek online store wants to choose the Click & Collect service, they can choose the preferred physical store at the top. Then, the online store displays products available for delivery and the one with Click & Collect service. The entire product offer can also be simply filtered down just to the offer of a specific store.
Benefits for the customer
Click & Collect service combines the benefits of online shopping and buying in a brick-and-mortar store. The customer can create an order conveniently from anywhere through a mobile phone, meaning they never have to leave home. Such a purchase is also safe, which is the main reason for the increase in online sales in recent weeks.
However, the customer still has to pick up the ordered products themselves (i.e. on the way home from work). When paying in advance, the customer picks up the goods without waiting in line. This service also has the advantage of letting one buy additional products in the store if they forgot to put it in the order.
Environmentally aware customers can enjoy significantly less waste of packaging material compared to conventional delivery. The products can be packed in an eco-bag instead of boxes, bubble wrap, and filling material. If the customer has a planned trip around their store (eg. getting groceries, doing chores, etc.), the carbon footprint is also minimized.
Benefits for retailers
The Click & Collect model also brings a lot of benefits to retailers. The service strengthens customer loyalty. The retailer can motivate customers to join a loyalty club. This is done by charging the service to regular customers and offering them to the loyal ones free of charge. It is also possible to limit the Click & Collect service only to customers in the loyalty club.
The secondary effect of the loyalty club is the identification of the customer on various sales channels (touchpoints). This will not only enable faster service of the customer in all places but also let retailers obtain more information about customer preferences and allow better personalization of the offer.
The service also has operational benefits. Advance payments increase cash flow and reduce customer service time. The introduction of the service reduces the load on one dispatch center and reduces it to several places. The big advantage is better use of staff. At peak times the service can deal with customers of one channel, and outside peak hours handle customers from the other channel.
How to start
A basic thing for the introduction of Click & Collect service is a network of physical shops and the operation of an online store. It is also necessary to have online availability of products at all stores. It is also useful to know the turnover to estimate the possible amount of products that are “reserved” in the online shopping carts.
For the successful implementation of the service, it is, of course, necessary to set up related processes and train all involved employees. The most key step and a great challenge is often to explain the need for this service from the perspective of customers and the company, the motivation of employees and the correct adjustment of the motivating system.
If the seller already has a widely used loyalty system in operation, the benefits for all parties will be even higher. If the retailer is concerned about the overuse of the service, the Click & Collect service can be introduced step by step and with restrictions, i.e. in selected cities, only for members of the loyalty club or only in a limited number of slots.