Click and Collect made Simple – a Guide for Retailers
Click and Collect made simple – a guide for retailers: In the past couple of years, almost all of us have had some kind of encounter with online shopping. By now, it is possible to live almost entirely digitally when it comes to purchases.
Chances are, if you have any experience at all using the internet, you’ve also had at least one phone call from an elderly relative asking for something to be ordered online.
Lots of Irish businesses turned to online services at the height of the pandemic restrictions. In some sectors, it was the only way to provide goods and services to their customers and ensure that trading could continue.
Thankfully we are now able to choose a return to bricks and mortar shopping again should we wish, but many have come to appreciate the safety and convenience of an online option.
That being said, consumers often enjoy the pastime of physically browsing a store, and are even more likely to spend more in-store due to a number of factors – the personal touch, real-time advice, beautiful displays, and impulse buying among others.
A ‘Click and Collect’ service bridges the gap between online shopping and in-store shopping. It’s also cost-effective and due to its popularity, it is now available to even the smallest business.
What is click-and-collect?
Click and collect is a handy commerce tool that allows your customers to do their browsing, research, decision making, and purchasing online, via a webshop which is linked to a physical store. Then, rather than having their items delivered, they travel to the store to collect their items.
The click and collect service provide a number of benefits both to the retailer and to the customer. Anybody with the internet can easily access or offer the same goods and services that they could in a bricks and mortar shop, ready to be picked up at a convenient time.
How does click-and-collect work?
Click and collect works by linking an online store (webshop) to an existing physical store. This is surprisingly quick and easy to set up, by offering products using the stores’ existing inventory and pricing.
Once live, customers can browse the online store, and use the information provided to make their selections and add them to a virtual shopping basket. They can then check out as usual but instead of choosing delivery options, they select an option to collect in-store. More options may be offered here as required, such as collection area, regional location, or time slot.
Payment can then be processed online by card, with the system automatically sending a receipt and collection details to the customer, reserving the stock items, and sending an order to the store for processing. A member of staff then arranges the purchases as usual and places them in a holding area or collection point.
Advantages to offering click-and-collect
There are many benefits to offering click and collect services, sometimes even over a standalone physical store or delivery-only services. The benefits extend to the retailer and customer alike.
- It’s convenient; both the retailer and customer can arrange collection times that suit their schedules.
- Reduced risk shopping for those with health concerns.
- There is no need to organise a separate courier or delivery service, click and collect can be the only option offered.
- Customers can spend as long as they wish researching and comparing products and prices, taking the pressure off them and saving precious staffing resources. Interactions are generally shorter and more efficient.
- Customers still get a chance to browse the store displays or talk to a staff member when collecting their purchases. The personal touch can still be applied.
- Purchases can still be viewed before taking them home, increasing customer satisfaction and reducing the returns rate.
- Click and collect offers an edge over competitors, driving additional in-store traffic.
- Low maintenance – once click and collect is set up, it’s automated to work in parallel with the bricks and mortar store. For example, stock changes generated by click and collect purchases are automatically updated in-store.
- Low running costs with fast setup, no additional shipping or courier fees.
- Click and collect is highly suited to those stores able to offer an out-of-hours collection service.
- Customers can check if an item is in stock and secure it immediately.
- Highlight and promote those items with plenty of stock availability – they can easily be made into features or promotions to collect in store.
- Allows efficient processing of click and collect orders during quieter times in store.
- Purchases can be collected on the same day, with no waiting around for delivery services or missing deliveries.
- Full analytics, it’s a great way to gauge the traffic a business might receive when thinking of offering a full website with a delivery service.
How to implement a click and collect service
If it’s time to introduce an efficient click and collect service for your customers, it can usually be added quickly and easily using your existing EPOS system or point of sale service.
You’ll need a webshop, which is quite straightforward and created using the company’s existing inventory and price files. This gives your customers the option to browse your entire store online, selecting and purchasing their items then choosing from the store collection options that you have pre-determined.
The whole process is surprisingly quick, and with low setup costs, you could be offering your customers a click and collect service in no time.
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About the author:
Susan McGuire has been with Retail Solutions for over 6 years, and during that time has had roles within the areas of Maintenance, Finance, & Marketing. You can follow her on LinkedIn!