In the UK, one in seven customers placing a click and collect order will never actually collect it, according to a new study.

The perceived hassle of click and collect is leaving around £228million of goods uncollected at stores across the country with shoppers citing long queues, hidden collection desks and city centre parking as reasons for changing their minds.

Nearly three-quarters of UK shoppers have placed a click and collect or buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) order but one in seven of these is never collected, creating a paperwork headache for retailers and impacting on stock visibility.

To shoppers, the idea of buying online and collecting in-store appeals on many levels; shorter waiting times than home delivery, collecting at a convenient time, fitting into your daily routine.

Previously, the convenience of online shopping was only available to those who were at home during the day (or had very patient neighbours!). Now customers who work full time can access online deals while collecting (sometimes within hours) from a location near to work or on their way home.

But the majority of retailers just haven’t got the experience right. With collection desks hidden away at the back of the store, understaffed and with no phone signal for shoppers to get their order number, one bad experience can make a customer not want to use that service again.

Not only do you lose their online custom, but you’ll probably lose their in-store custom too as the bad experience happened inside your store!

The opportunity of BOPIS for retailers is huge. Barclaycard estimates that each retailer could both increase spend and generate savings – around £178,000 can be saved in logistics and administration alone through effective implementation of click and collect.

Once customers are in store, the likelihood of adding to their spend with tailored offers and experiences also increases. 89 per cent of retailers officering click and collect have seen increased footfall in the past few years and almost all of those have seen an increase in revenue too.

Over half of shoppers say that their opinion of buying online, picking up in-store would improve greatly if they were offered rewards for using click and collect, and 30 per cent wanted additional experiences such as testing out or trying on the items they have collected there and then.

So how can retailers cash in on the opportunities presented by click and collect?

  • Store layout: 17 per cent of shoppers surveyed cited difficulties finding the correct collection location in-store as the main reason they don’t collect their items. Careful consideration of wayfinding and location of the collections desk can make all the difference. Understaffed, under-resourced retailers often combine collections with cash desks but this can be a mistake. Giving click and collect customers their own self-service collection points means they can take control of the transaction and cuts down waiting times.
  • Connecting online with instore: Online shoppers want the same look and feel instore as they’ve experienced on your website. Offering digital technology to continue their shopping journey in-store appeals to digital natives. Digital signage for wayfinding, kiosks to call a colleague and smart mirrors to text out purchases all present opportunities to appeal to click and collect customers.
  • Automation: Smartlockers and self-service kiosks allow customers to click and collect smaller items quickly and securely, adding to satisfaction and the likelihood they will use the service again. Most shoppers choosing to buy online, pick up in-store are doing so to save time so placing barriers like long queues and waiting times will create a negative impression.
  • Rewards: Tying click and collect in with your rewards scheme gives you access to a wide range of data such as optimum times of day for collection and how regularly customers use your service. Offering extra points or discounts via your self service collection point serves as an incentive for loyal customers and increases the chance of spending in-store if offers are time-sensitive.
  • Added extras: A third of shoppers say they would like to try out the product they have just purchased. Designated changing rooms close by or lounge space to unwrap and test out not only provides a quick opportunity to return anything that’s not suitable, but also increases dwell time and presents opportunities for staff interaction and upselling.
  • Updates and information: Text message updates let customers know when their item has arrived in store and when it’s ready to collect. 63% of customers say that updates via text, email or push notification are something they expect as standard from retailers. Clear wayfinding in-store helps to manage the experience once they arrive too.
  • Collect from other locations: Many retailers are combining forces to add options to their buy online, pick up in-store service. Waitrose shoppers can collect their John Lewis orders, Amazon has partnered with Next and many retailers use Collect Plus options. Supermarkets such as Tesco are even offering a drive-thru collect from your car option for online grocery orders.

Overall, it’s clear many retailers are missing a key opportunity to engage with customers and offer high levels of customer satisfaction.

About the Author

Dean Ward s the founder and CTO of Evoke Creative which specialises in the design, manufacture and implementation of interactive hardware and software. The company develops digital solutions to increase spend, improve customer experiences and deliver instant ROI by solving problems in both front and back of house.

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