By Lee Adams, Senior Manager – KIT.

Click & Collect is fast becoming a ubiquitous term in retail, but what does it mean for retailers and consumers, and how can it benefit both when done well? Quite simply, Click & Collect allows customers to browse and purchase online at their convenience and choose to collect that purchase at a time and place of their choosing. However, it is not just about the uncomplicated customer experience of picking up a pre-ordered product.

As retailer’s pivot to ever-changing customer demands and behaviours, Click & Collect is evolving organically and quickly. For example, many agile and fast responding retailers have extended Click & Collect to include Kerbside Pick-up, creating a convenient and safe shopping experience for both employees and customers during the pandemic. It is also a golden opportunity for retailers to continue to promote their brand in a physical environment.

Of course, creating great in-store and online experiences with new technology solutions is nothing new. Still, undoubtedly, development has been supercharged over the last year, and retailers are learning how to make the most of expensive enterprise solutions by adding layers of functionality via off the shelf and bespoke applications. These technological innovations will help reshape the physical retail experience for the better over the coming years. And this is the key – there are considerable benefits to reap from Click & Collect, when done correctly, for both consumer and retailer. Such a simple but effective idea as Click & Collect also has a huge impact on the environment and sustainability. Customers collect products themselves, drastically reducing the miles travelled by the package, the amount of packaging needed for each item, and also reduces the environmental impacts of excessive transportation needs.

Retailer Benefits

  • As retailers turn bricks and mortar stores into a more experiential journey, Click & Collect will drive customers to that experience, helping build brand loyalty and differentiation.
  • Reduction in lost sales – by pre-ordering, the customer gives the retailer the appropriate prep time to ensure the product is ready for collection.
  • Click & Collect will undoubtedly save on delivery costs, with customers returning to the store to collect their purchases.
  • Click & Collect allows Store Associates to focus their time on walk-in customers instead of searching for purchased products, particularly applicable to contactless collection options.
  • Cross-sell and up-sell by having the interaction with the customer.
  • Often customers on the Click & Collect journey make additional impulse purchases that may complement the original purchase. Retail, after all, is about driving sales.

Consumer benefits

  • Consumers love and demand flexibility and choice – Click & Collect lets them shop when, where and how they want.
  • Some customers balk at the idea of shipping costs and opt to shop elsewhere – Click & Collect removes these charges.
  • Travelling to your favourite shop and finding they don’t have what you are looking for in-store can be frustrating – Click & Collect bypasses all this frustration allowing pre-ordering online.

How do Clienteling solutions such as KIT fit in?

Clienteling solutions such as KIT offer Click & Collect functionality as standard, integrating seamlessly with relevant back-end systems. The result is the store, and its staff, being fully prepared when the customer arrives, ensuring Store Associates are not left hanging around, waiting for a product to pass onto a customer – the product is ready to go. The Store Associate can scan a customer’s QR code from within the app on their phone or tablet, which automatically surfaces customer and product data from anywhere in the store – not from a fixed PoS. Customers can even schedule an appointment to collect the item reducing waiting time even further. Equipping Store Associates with mobile devices means that Click & Collect can be managed from anywhere – not just a fixed till-point with an endless queue.

As customers return to the high street, their expectations, demands, and behaviours will continue to change. The key for retailers is to provide the best experience possible based on these expectations, differentiate their brand, improve brand loyalty, and drive sales. By embracing the latest technology solutions, retailers will respond quickly and in the right ways to what customers want and when they want it, while also enabling Store Associates to become true Service Associates.