Four Ways Retailers Can Optimize the Click and Collect Experience

Click and collect
David Abbou
  • David Abbou
  • July 19, 2018

Looking at all of the technological innovation that has transformed the online retail industry in recent years – and the experience businesses can deliver to customers nowadays – few customer touchpoints reflect just how full circle we’ve come better than click and collect.

There’s nothing more ‘throwback’ than optimizing every part of your online funnel and then realizing how important a strategy it is to make it easy for your customers to, well, do what they’ve been doing for years and pick up items in-store.

All kidding aside, it all makes perfect sense: Online retail brands, eCommerce, and marketplace sites must use their offline footprint to their advantage and truly deliver omnichannel convenience, both online and in-store.

Why click and collect is the best of all words for online retailers and customers

Of all the sources of friction at checkout, shipping prices top the list for shoppers. This was the reason most selected in our recent consumer survey as to why they would abandon a shopping cart.

Quite simply, customers are not comfortable with paying fees for the pleasure of waiting a given number of days before finally getting their product in their hands.

Delivery time is money for customers, too, and right up there with their top deal-breakers. Busy in both their personal and business lives, consumers no longer want to be limited by time and location to receive their item. They want the ease of ordering online combined with the flexibility and instant satisfaction of walking into a nearby location.

These changing needs represent a huge opportunity for online retailers to gain an edge in today’s crowded eCommerce landscape.

With delivery costs for retail and eCommerce brands only rising, click and collect options are a clear way to cut down on complex and costly logistical processes needed to deliver products.

Click and collect processes also bring customers into the store, giving retailers additional opportunities to connect and generate new sales: research by the International Council of Shopping Centres shows two in three consumers – and three in four millennials – made an additional purchase while at a store to pick up their original order.

Optimizing click and collect key to maximizing omnichannel opportunities for online retailers

As retailers look to the future, the importance of establishing and optimizing click and collect runs far deeper than the immediate benefits of reducing costs and increasing revenue.

Buying online and picking up purchases in-store is fast becoming a must-have for customers if it isn’t already – and it will be a table stake requirement of delivering an omnichannel experience to your customers across all channels.

As Kristen Montella Taganashi, Claire’s Global Vice President for Ecommerce and Digital Marketing, explained in our recent ebook interview:

“Another critical component for us making it more seamless to buy online and pick up items in-store, not only from a cost-savings perspective for us, but also because this is increasingly what our customers want and expect – to choose how and where they want to shop.”

How do you optimize click and collect and maximize its business potential? Bring the customer experience truly full-circle and ensure it is seamless and connected from online to offline.

Here four main areas to consider when creating an optimal click and collect experience:

#1 Map your offline footprint to your customer journeys to determine your collection points

Audit your existing network of local stores and trade suppliers for all inventory, and distribution and collection points. Many retailers today are leveraging post offices, convenience stores and other collection points to increase customer convenience. Then build these options into a store locator that accurately displays product availability and location hours. Planning, designing, and implementing a tailored click and collect online journey that accurately reflects all offline collection options will ensure you offer the value this option is meant to for your customers.

#2 Determine the right payment process for click and collect orders

This greatly depends on whether you need to ship a particular product to a collection point or not. If it’s the former, have customers pay online before arriving to pick up the item in-store. If the item is available at a local store, giving customers the option to reserve it speeds up your checkout process. When they arrive at the store, making additional purchases is even easier as they don’t have to do a separate transaction.

#3 Optimize click and collect search on mobile

It’s important to focus on the search experience for product availability for mobile users. Customers must be able to easily find availability of products within your brick-and-mortar locations and know the most convenient pick-up location for that item they’re viewing online. Once you have this in place, take it further by providing a live stock checker, which is especially useful for roaming mobile customers. Equally important is sending out push notifications to customers based on their proximity to your local stores.

#4 Keep customers informed and up-to-date on their click and collect order

It’s always better to err on the side of communicating too much rather than too little with your customers after the sale. If you’re shipping an item from a warehouse or distribution center to a collection point, make sure to update your customers on the status of the order and ETA for that product to be picked up via email, push notifications or SMS. This is also the perfect time to avoid any last-minute frustration by reminding them to bring their proof of ID, reference number, credit card, or any other piece of identification needed to verify themselves.

Building your fulfillment strategy with these priorities in mind and making it available to customers throughout all your online and offline touchpoints will help you deliver the experience that your customers want today AND help drive growth by removing temporal frictions.