Click and Collect is set for explosive growth in USA
17% of US consumers used a Click and Collect service last year
A recent article published by digitaljournal.com highlighted some interesting statistics on the growth of Click and Collect across the pond predicting that Click and Collect is set for explosive growth in USA
Michael Zimmerman of hedge fund Prentice Capital notes that 17% of US consumers used a Click and Collect service last year and he believes that fulfillment is going to be the next big battleground among internet retailers. The concept is very simple: Customers buy something online then, rather than wait for the mailman, go to a shop and collect it themselves.
The article also references the impressive and ever increasing use of Click and Collect in the UK and the amount of UK on-line consumers who used the service during 2013 – an enviable 40%.
Many US retailers have been keeping a close eye on the development of the collection channel in the UK, the customer demand for the service and the cost savings it offers the retailer. Retail giants such as Walmart are one such example of this, their UK grocery giant ASDA have worked hard to identify what their customers want, how they want to take possession of their on-line orders and how the collection can be made even more convenient and cost effective.
Click and Collect primarily offers the removal of the “last mile” costs associated with home delivery and means retailers no longer have to subsidise home deliveries in an effort to maintain their market share. The article states that “Click and collect is taking off because it solves the delivery problem: people just don’t like waiting for deliveries, but most are happy to pick up from a local store”.
The UK has lead the way in recent years in developing Click and Collect to be a “must have” service for retailers and it is now standard across retail formats from grocery to gardening equipment.
A comprehensive guide to Click & Collect for the grocery market published last year by IGD noted that “The loyalty of early adopters of Click & Collect is still to be played for. Meeting their needs and providing a satisfactory shopping experience could help to acquire and retain these promiscuous shoppers”. The report covers many aspects of Click and Collect, its influences and potential market for grocery retailers. It also states the need to find a way to connect the physical and digital retail worlds that collection consumers now demand.
What is now starting to play out in the UK retail market is the increase in demand for Click and Collect to be a service…not a process. UK collection customers started to reject the customer service (or rather the lack of) they received when they arrived at the store to collect their on-line orders. Retailers have focussed all their time, budget and resource in getting the customer to the website, ensuring that real time & robust shipping procedures are in place and that goods arrive at the collection store ASAP.
What they didn’t focus on was how would the digital order be collected in the physical world. Customers quickly started to comment on social media and feedback websites about long waits in store, excessive queues, no process to collect, repeating request to numerous store staff and generally the feeling of being abandoned when they arrived to collect.
Collectec identified this customer demand and developed a solution to transform the store collection into a true customer service journey. What customers said they disliked most was the feeling of being “uncertain” in what was happening, by whom and for how long. They were asking why they were in the queue at customer service desks listening to complaints and problems, or waiting in busy payment queues with shoppers wanting to pay for store purchases. “But I’ve already paid…why am I in this queue..?” they tweeted and complained after their collection visit.
Collectec do things differently, a new approach, simple and intuitive for consumer and retailer providing a “joined up” collection experience. What we do first is put the collecting customer in the driving seat, they instigate their collection when in store when they are ready and in a simple way. We connect the shopper to the store, why queue for 15 minutes to tell a store cashier that you want to collect an order? They didn’t queue on line, they have already paid, why queue at all? Allowing the shopper to use their mobile to inform the store of their arrival and alert them to their collection request is the start of both time saving and stress removal for the customer.
Next, we tell the store staff all they need to know to complete the collection for the customer, everything from the customer name to where the order is located and any special instructions the customer would like during their collection visit.
Finally we give the customer information and information gives them choice. Are they in a hurry, do they want time to browse the store, is their a wait time for collections and if so how long? All this information is quickly established, calculated and relayed to both customer and store staff so the both parties know all the information they need complete their side of the journey.
All this results in a queue and stress free collection, productive store staff, removal of collection customers from cashier queues and total customer collection gratification. Knowing how long a collection will take empowers customers to collect at their convenience and faster collections provide additional opportunities to do it. This repeatable and consistent store journey mirrors the experience of on-line that retailers strive to provide and customers appreciate. And in a marketplace where the ability collect is widespread the key differentiator is service. After all that’s why the customer selected to Click and Collect in the first place.
The full IGD survey can be found here Click and Collect grocery shoppers – IGD Guide 2013
Read the full digitaljournal.com article here