Click & Collect – Saviour of the High Street?

Here at Retail Maxim we are sure that lots of you lovely people have experienced the annoyance of the little card on the doormat, saying: “Sorry we missed you.” It’s frustrating to say the least.

According to consumer group Which?, 60% of those who ordered Christmas presents online in 2018 experienced problems with delivery. Therefore, in a bid to avoid parcels ending up in recycling bins or being thrown over the next door neighbour’s fence, more shoppers are choosing Click & Collect. Click & Collect services are offered by retailers for online orders. Customers collect the goods at a local shop or designated pick-up point, when it’s convenient for them. In addition, the service is often offered for free which is also a very attractive proposition for cash conscious consumers.

When you think about it, ‘Click & Collect’, for retailers, is essentially like joining up the online world with the physical world. That is a very attractive proposition in an increasingly digital age. As has been well documented, analysts have suggested that the increasing popularity of online shopping, subdued customer demand and rising costs have combined to create a “perfect storm” for High Street stores. So, this then begs the question, could the retailers that are struggling in the current trading conditions use the ‘click & collect’ service to boost sales in-store? It would appear the answer is a resounding ‘YES’ as more and more retailers are now offering Click & Collect services. To look at the popularity of Click and Collect we ran a recent poll and had over 1000 responses to the following question:

“Have you used a ‘Click & Collect’ service where you have ordered an item online but collected yourself elsewhere?”

The results of our poll are conclusive with 68% of respondents saying that they use ‘Click & Collect’. This is backed up by statistics from retailers such as Next, for example, who recently reported that about half of its online sales had been picked up in store via Click & Collect in 2018. It would seem therefore that Click & Collect is here to stay.

Click & Collect has some distinct advantages for retailers. If you think about it, deliveries are much less costly and complicated if they’re going to one shop, rather than multiple homes. Furthermore, it’s no surprise that retailers might be keen to capture the extra footfall to boost physical stores. Infact, it’s estimated that a massive 70% of those collecting or returning parcels make impulse in-store purchases. Indeed, to capitalise on this, some progressive retailers such as John Lewis and Selfridges, now offer dedicated, or free, car parking spaces for those collecting goods!

However, the story is not all rosy. Without a doubt, Click & Collect also poses some challenges for retailers. For example, the space to store goods while they’re awaiting collection can be expensive plus staff might also need more time to sort and organise click-and-collect deliveries. Nonetheless, these issues are far from insurmountable with the right tools and planning.

One thing is for sure, as Click & Collect grows in popularity retailers will need to ensure that the customer experience they provide which links the online world to the physical world is seamless. Retail Maxim can offer ways for retailers to measure that customer experience. Contact us today to find out more.