Click and Collect 101: Getting it Right to Drive eCommerce Sales

Home eCommerce Click and Collect 101: Getting it Right to Drive eCommerce Sales

Click and collect was trending in eCommerce during the pandemic. But it was nothing new. The concept had been around for quite some time. 

Sales from click and collect had grown by 75% in 2018 as compared to the previous year. There was no pandemic then. 

By marrying the two experiences – eCommerce with brick-and-mortar, it was simply seen as a natural evolution of commerce. 

But then came the pandemic. And this naturally evolving trend became a dire need for businesses. As sales shifted online, it became harder for businesses to keep up with the intensified demand and meet buyer expectations. Click and Collect became a preferred choice for both customers and retailers. 

Companies that had already invested in the right technology and rolled out a Click and Collect strategy made the most of the pandemic-inspired trend. Target, for example, saw a 700% increase in their Drive Up sales and a 200% increase in their online sales during the second quarter of 2020. 

But even as we’re coming out of the COVID situation, this trend is here to stay – simply because it makes sense. 

In this post, we’ll take a dig at the Click and Collect method of fulfillment. And explore everything about it so you can easily implement it in your eCommerce strategy. 

Table of Contents

  • What is Click and Collect? 
  • How Does Click and Collect Work?
  • Benefits of Click and Collect for Retailers and Shoppers
  • Examples of Businesses That Are Using Click and Collect 
  • Enabling Click and Collect: Are your systems technically capable?

What is Click and Collect and Why is It Important?

It’s a method of fulfillment in which customers shop online and then pick up their orders at the nearest location. It’s also referred to as curbside pickup and Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS). 

eCommerce websites and apps make it easier than ever for customers to find what they need. But still, problems like cart abandonment and low conversions plague the eCommerce landscape. You don’t have to be a genius to arrive at the main causes of these frustrating problems. Among others, high delivery charges and uncertainty about the delivery time are important factors to blame. And both of these can be solved by offering click and collect.

As far as sales and conversions are concerned, improving the overall customer experience is the rule of thumb. The lower the friction in your buyer’s journey, the higher your odds of converting a wary visitor into a paying customer. 

Click and collect is all about delivering convenience to the shopper. When done right, it removes friction and optimizes the final stage in eCommerce – order fulfillment and delivery.

How Does Click and Collect Work?

It’s a hybrid eCommerce model that combines retail with online. The customer buys online but instead of having the order delivered, visits the physical curbside location to pick up his order. 

How it works depends on your business and the strategy you implement. There are different ways businesses use Click and Collect. Pickup locations popularly used for this strategy are:

  1. Nearest store selected by the customer during checkout
  2. Third-party locations or dedicated Collection points
  3. Collection drive-throughs 

Later on in this post, we’ll look at some examples of how successful businesses like Target, Asda, and Ikea are using Click and Collect to improve convenience for their customers. 

Benefits of Click and Collect for Retailers and Shoppers

Click and collect, curbside pickup, or BOPIS is all about convenience for the customer. When shopping online, customers want their orders delivered on time and at no additional charges. Instead of waiting for days or weeks to receive their order and that too at an additional cost, customers can drive up to the nearest location and collect their orders. It also reduces the risk of having their parcels stolen, lost, or damaged. 

To improve convenience, companies like Asda are also offering a Try it On facility at the collection point. When customers drive up to the collection point, they can check their order and even try it on. If they don’t like it, they can return the parcel on the spot – at the same collection point. 

From the shopper’s perspective, Click and Collect offers even greater advantages for retailers. 

For industries like Food and Beverage and grocery, it’s often the only way businesses can fulfill online orders while battling already low margins. For small businesses, curbside pickup is a simple operation that can be implemented easily. However, it becomes a complex operation for large businesses and requires a considerable investment in eCommerce development.

Click and Collect also offers many upselling and cross-selling opportunities for retailers. Studies have shown that customers who opt for curbside pickup purchase about 50% more than their original order. 

Offering BOPIS is also a great way to increase in-store traffic, allowing retailers to use experiential marketing strategies to engage customers and improve customer loyalty.  

Curbside pickup is especially useful during the holiday season when it becomes harder for businesses to cope with the increased shipping demands. Studies have shown that sales from Click and Collect increase during the holidays. 

Examples of Businesses That Are Using Click and Collect 

Let’s see what strategies the pros are using to implement Click and Collect in their eCommerce model. 

Order Pick Up by Kroger

Though it has taken a simple approach to order pickups, Kroger has truly reinvented the food and beverage eCommerce space. The app allows us to choose order pickup when we place the order and select the time and date for pickup. Kroger Associates, who are trained to shop for fresh produce, hand-pick our products and hand the orders to us in the parking lot when we arrive. 

To deliver a seamless customer experience, the app lets you enter special instructions for each product ordered. For example, you can let them know you want “only ripe bananas”

The Kroger app lets us communicate with the store when we’re 15 minutes away so that associates get our order ready by then. 

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Toyou by ASDA

ASDA has taken the Click and Collect concept to another level with automated robots, self-service parcel towers, QR codes and so much more. They’re making the most of technology to improve convenience for their customers. 

ASDA also partners with more than 100 retailers across the UK to offer collection and returns services to their customers. 

The way it works is simple. When you shop with ASDA or any of its partner retailers, you can choose to collect your order from a convenient Toyou location. When the order is ready to collect, you receive a confirmation email with an order ID and a QR code. 

You drive up to the Toyou location, scan the QR code and have an employee bring the parcel to you. 

ASDA has also added trial rooms to more than 300 of its locations to let customers try on their fashion purchases before driving away. If they’re not happy with their purchase they can return it through the Toyou parcel tower. 

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Drive Up and Order Pickup by Target

Target offers two options for click and collect – Order Pickup and Drive Up. 

The app automatically fetches your location and selects your nearest store. You can change your store in settings. When you select a store, you only see products that are available at that particular store. This way, you can shop and have your orders ready for pickup within 2 hours at that store. 

When you choose Order Pickup at checkout, they get your order ready and waiting for you inside the store. 

Drive Up, on the other hand, lets you collect your order without setting foot in their store. You can simply drive up to their parking lot and park your car in the designated spot. The Target App lets you communicate with the staff and let them know that you’re coming, what vehicle you’re in, and when you’ve reached. A Target employee then brings out your order and loads it into your car – all within a few minutes if not seconds. 

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Store Mode by Zara

Zara offers a Store Mode within its app. When you activate the Store Mode, you can choose the store you want to shop from. This allows us to view real-time inventory – stock that’s actually available in that store. 

It offers three different Click and Collect fulfillment methods: Click and Go, Click and Find, and Click and Try. 

When you choose Click and Go, you complete the order online and receive a QR code in the app. You then drive up to the location you selected earlier and have an employee scan the QR code and hand out the order to you. Zara has also installed an automated collection point in the Westfield Shopping center in London where you scan the QR code and a robotic arm retrieves your order and hands it out via a self-service kiosk. 

In Click and Find, you choose what you want to buy online and have the app guide you to the actual product in the store via an on-screen map. 

Lastly, Click and Try lets you buy online and have the item reserved for you in store for trying it out. This option is especially popular among fashion retailers. 

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Click and Collect by Forever New

Besides the traditional Click and Collect model, Forever New has rolled out a new feature called Reserve in-store. 

When you shop online via their website or app, it requires you to choose Reserve in-store in settings and select your preferred store from the list. Forever New uses a feature called Find in-store that allows customers to check a product’s availability in the store they selected earlier. If it’s available, they can use the Reserve in-store feature to request a reservation. Once reserved, customers receive a confirmation email and SMS. Unlike Click and Collect, reserving the product doesn’t require any prepayments. Customers arrive during the designated timeframe and try out the product. If they like it, they pay for it and possibly buy something else too. 

On the other hand, they also offer a simple Click and Collect model. However, unlike other businesses we’ve discussed here, their model is quite straightforward. The customer buys a product, pays for it, and chooses “Click and Collect” as a method of delivery. They’re then given a list of pickup stores to choose from. When a customer selects the store, the product is shipped from the warehouse to that store and is made available for pickup within a few days. 

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Implementing Click and Collect: Are your systems technically capable?

Click and collect isn’t something you can or should roll out in a day. If not done right, it may hurt your CX and drive your customers away, defeating the whole purpose of offering Click and Collect. 

In 2016, when brands started experimenting with Click and Collect, Shoppers were reporting longer wait times, the inability of employees to retrieve their orders, and orders running out of stock. 

While it was a nightmarish scenario even back then, today’s customers have become more demanding and impatient than ever. The moment they land on your website, they expect everything to be smooth and frictionless – from product search and checkout to the final fulfillment. And so, there is no room today for businesses to experiment. 

Proper implementation of Click and Collect can mean the difference between a happy customer and one that derogates your business everywhere he goes. 

Hence, you must figure out how to do it right the first time before you start offering the option of BOPIS on your online store or mobile app. 

Here is how you can implement Click and Collect in your business. 

Accurate Data

Inaccurate inventory data is one challenge retailers face when implementing click and collect. If the customer drives up to the specified location and finds her items out of stock, it can create a very negative experience. Fulfilling orders right the first time is crucial in click and collect. And for this, you need to ensure your inventory data is accurate. If your data isn’t organized and records are out of order, it’s time to first invest in an inventory management system before implementing curbside pickup.  

Besides accurate inventory, you need systems to record customer data. If you’re selling across different channels using an omnichannel eCommerce strategy, you need proper systems and software to record sales and orders coming through all of those different channels. 

Integrating your Systems

All those systems you’ve invested in are no good if they’re operating in silos. To improve your business efficiencies and reduce margins of error, you need to unify and integrate those systems to get a 360-degree view of your customers, orders, and inventory. 

A Designated location for in-store pickup

To reduce wait times for customers who drive up for order collection, your store should have a designated pickup spot. For small businesses, it could be a small counter in the store with staff specially trained in handling collection orders. Large businesses could, however, consider setting up a designated location with separate workflows and staff. 

System for Storing Parcels

You need a merchandise storage system or a mini-warehouse that stores orders before the customer picks them up. The storage system should include lockers, dividers, baskets, and shelves to organize parcels neatly. This makes it easy to retrieve the parcels.

If you’re facing increased demand for pickup orders, consider investing in automation. Big companies are using robots to automatically retrieve orders after a QR code or barcode verification. 

Email and SMS Automation

Successful implementation of Click and Collect depends on effective communication between customers and the store. When the order is ready for pickup, your system should trigger email and SMS alerts to the customer. 

When the customer has arrived at the location, she needs to be able to communicate with the store. Ideally, it should be done via a mobile app with the tap of a button instead of having the customer place calls to the store.

SMS functionality can also be integrated with your CRM or helpdesk. This allows customers to send an SMS to the store alerting them about their arrival.  

Creating Workflows for Click and Collect

To deliver a seamless experience, order collections and pickups need to be seen as separate from retail and eCommerce sales. It should have its separate workflows with the staff especially allocated for handling these orders. Likewise, its performance needs to be measured separately from its own KPIs. 

Dedicated Parking

Offering a dedicated parking spot and free parking for pickup customers can increase customers’ adoption of click and collect as a fulfillment option. 

Sales from Click and Collect soared during the pandemic. But there is no way this growth is going to stagnate. It’s estimated that the US click and collect sales will reach more than $140 billion by 2024 up from $70 billion in 2020. But it’s imperative to get it right the first time. In today’s highly competitive eCommerce landscape, there is no room for brands to experiment with a trial and error strategy. It’s recommended that businesses work with a technology partner from the outset to deliver convenience and an amazing eCommerce experience. 

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