Why Click and Collect Is a Must-Have for Retail

Click and collect, buy online pick up in-store, kerbside pick-up – whatever you call it, this popular method of fulfilment here to stay. While click and collect has been gaining traction for years – 42% of Australian retailers were offering it in 2017, up from 24% in 2015 – the pandemic proved that it’s no longer a nice to have, it’s a must-have for any business selling online. 

If for whatever reason you still haven’t jumped on the click & collect bandwagon (come on, it’s time!), here’s everything you need to know to get started.

Why is click and collect so popular? 

When it comes to people’s shopping preferences, a useful rule of thumb is that they want it all. Most people shop both online and in-store, and they choose the channel based on their current circumstances. If they’re on their way to a friend’s birthday party and forgot a gift, they’re probably going to shop in-store. If they’re trying to multitask and do the weekly shop while watching ‘The Crown’, they’re going to jump online. 

Convenience is key, but it’s not about which channel is more convenient overall, it’s about which channel is more convenient for the customer at any given moment. The same goes for delivery methods. Click and collect is just one more way for customers to get the goods they need (in addition to home delivery and in-store shopping), and sometimes, it’s the most convenient option. 

For instance, a customer might not have the time or desire to go in-store, but they don’t want to pay for shipping or wait 3-5 days for standard delivery. (Some retailers offer 30-minute click and collect, which beats even the fastest same-day shipping offers.) They might not want to risk missing an at-home delivery and having to wait for a redelivery. Or they might have ordered something they’re not sure about and want to be able to return it right away if it’s not what they were expecting.

This is all to say there’s no single reason a customer will choose click and collect; you should offer it simply because it’s part of being a customer-first business. 

One caveat to this, of course, is COVID-19. During the height of the pandemic in Australia, when many bricks-and-mortar retailers shut their stores and eCommerce companies faced record delivery delays, click and collect offered businesses and their customers a lifeline. 

Who should offer click and collect?

If you look at the businesses offering click and collect today, you’ll see it’s common across a wide range of categories, from supermarkets to liquor, office supplies to hardware, fashion to department stores, and much more. One category that is not well suited to click and collect is large furniture and other bulky products since it might not be safe or even possible for store staff and customers to move these items. 

And while it might seem like you need a bricks-and-mortar store network to offer click and collect, it’s not actually a requirement. Companies like Hubbed and ParcelPoint make it possible for online-only retailers, or retailers that don’t have the ability to turn their own stores into collection points, to offer click and collect at third-party locations, such as national convenience and petrol chains.

What do you need to keep in mind when launching a click and collect offer? 

Rolling out a click and collect offer is a major undertaking, so it’s not something that can be covered in a single blog post. But here are some of the most important things to keep in mind. 

Speed

Retailers like Dan Murphy’s, Supercheap Auto and Cue Clothing have thrown down the gauntlet on super speedy click and collect, with all three businesses offering 30-minute click and collect across their store networks. The only way they’ve been able to make this work is by using store inventory to fulfil click and collect orders. This not only requires having an accurate view of store inventory in real-time but also an integrated backend across online and offline sales. 

If you’re thinking that sounds like a lot of work (and money), you’re right. But don’t forget, customers want different fulfilment options to meet different needs. If they have to wait several days to pick-up an online order in-store, why not just have it delivered to their house in the same amount of time? Whatever your budget and ability, try to offer the fastest click and collect possible.

Staff

Getting store teams on board with your click and collect offer is crucial. After all, they’re going to be the ones receiving and preparing the orders for collection. Finding a fair way to attribute the sale so they’re incentivised to make it a success can go a long way to achieving this. Once you’ve done that, set some parameters for how quickly a team member needs to respond to an order after it has been received, and how long they have to prepare it for collection. 

Remember that any time your store staff spend on a click and collect order, they’re not able to spend serving customers, tidying changerooms, or performing any other tasks in-store. It can be tempting to think they’ll only work on click & collect orders in their downtime (efficiency!), but it often doesn’t work like that. Be realistic about whether you need to adjust your rosters after rolling out click & collect. 

Signage

This should go without saying, but explaining to customers exactly how your click and collect process works is really important. Everybody’s system is a little bit different. Some require payment upfront, some at the time of collection. Some simply ask for a name and ID to verify the pick-up, while others want to scan a barcode or see an email confirmation. During COVID-19, many retailers switched to a boot delivery service, where customers parked in a particular bay at a prearranged time and alerted the store that they had arrived and where they were parked, so their order could be brought directly to their car. Letting your customers know exactly what they need to do to collect their order will help keep them from getting frustrated.