The pandemic may have provided an unexpected lifeline to high street bricks and mortar retailers as the use of click and collect services has grown exponentially.
While online sales are the obvious growth area, customer behaviour is demonstrating that people still like picking up their orders from a shop.
Click and collect has been around for more than a decade and has always been particularly popular among consumers who didn’t want to wait at home for deliveries or pay delivery charges for small items
It is a great compromise between the ease of online shopping and being able to receive purchases at consumers? convenience.
During the pandemic, the benefits of click and collect focused on the safety element it provided. Customers turned to the service as a safe way to collect their supermarket shopping or to collect goods from high street shops. Also known as kerbside pick-up, customers could arrive at a store and collect their purchases without leaving their car. While the main reason for its growth was safety, now the convenience factor means it remains a popular choice with customers, many of whom only started using it during the past 18 months.
Among its advantages, click and collect means people can skip crowds, keep the kids in the car rather than navigating a family around a shopping environment, and the goods are quickly and easily loaded into the boot. Researchers for US company Adobe Analytics have found 23 per cent of online shoppers prefer click and collect to receiving deliveries at home.
In the UK, research by Barclaycard found that 71 per cent of UK shoppers have used click and collect in the past 18 months.
For the retailers, this is good news as it bridges the gap between online shopping and the physical reality of shopping. While many click and collect customers may just pull up to the kerb and receive their goods, others may decide they want to browse the store. There is also a sense of loyalty to a shop, with staff, that is stronger than a loyalty to an online entity.
Click and collect services tend to be relatively easy to set up for a company with an established store network and these days there are also logistics partners for those with no brick-and-mortar presence. Retailers with such a service tend to find that it’s the fastest growing delivery option and for those with store networks, up to 85 per cent of customers will buy additional items when they collect their online order.
In addition, whilst retailers have to deal with no shows, 77% of retailers report reduced returns, saving on the costs of processing refunds and restocking items.
With the lack of enough van and lorry drivers in the UK causing delays and uncertainties to deliveries, click and collect is fast becoming the number one option for people who have their own transport and crave convenience.
Investment into click and collect services will bring efficiency benefits. When it comes to supporting retailers as they develop and enhance this service, Pursuit Software’s products are geared up to supporting click and collect. For example, in the case of a retailer with many sites, the Pursuit Software system will identify at which location the product is available and effect an automatic transfer to the desired collection location. It is efficiency such as this that will see a speedy return on initial investment into supporting systems as customer confidence in click and collect develops.
Click and collect may have been around for a decade, but it is now coming into its own as a model of convenience, efficiency and as a bridge between the customer and the brick and mortar high street shop.