News & Goings on

Expect to collect

Sitting on the sofa at home, armed with your phone or laptop.

That’s the new war room for tackling any minor modern-day task at hand.

Jobs around the house, entertainment for the kids, a new fitness regime. There’s nothing we can’t tackle with a bit of shrewd searching and some online shopping.

But let’s say you go ahead and order that power saw. That trampoline. That matching set of yoga blocks. When do you want it?

2-3 days? (shudder) Next day? (Hmm, maybe). Nope. You deserve better. You want it now.

And you’re not alone because that’s a new level of expectation you’ll find in most avid shoppers. Gone are the days when free-next-day was enough. It’s good, but it’s not the one. Consumers will seek out the shortest wait in order to fulfil their needs. As a result, click-and-collect is what’s needed for when you just need it now.

Lady with Box

There’s been a change in the stores

We shop differently now. And it won’t go back to being the same. Social distancing restrictions have definitely fast-tracked the availability of click-and-collect. After all, it’s a contactless way of keeping the sales flowing. It’s easy to manage distance and minimise time spent ‘in-store’.

No surprise then, big names like McDonald’s and Aldi are launching click-and-collect services in response. And Toolstation, who already have 400 trade counter warehouses, are aiming to roll out a number of ‘click-and-collect only’ stores across the UK.

It’s within your reach

But it’s not all about the big names. While click-and-collect has typically been reserved for major retailers, recent developments have ensured the reach of this tech has broadened. Now its affordability means it’s achievable for SME retailers. Retailers like you. As specialists in click-and-collect for SME businesses we thought it’d be helpful to run through some tips. In particular, our top 10 insider tips to help you win at gratificollection.

#1 Let people know

Promote it and raise awareness. Posters, flags, direct mail, email campaigns, banners on your home page, a dedicated landing page. All these help to educate your clients about the service and its benefits. So tell them!

One of the biggest benefits is immediate availability (or at least pretty close). For example, Toolstation boast that your order can be ready for collection in as little as 5 minutes. Whooshbeagle!

Another feature is safety. Many shoppers still feel anxious about visiting stores. In light of this, click-and-collect can be a great way to reassure them. Indeed, it’s a way to shop smart, by getting in and out in a quick, calm and contactless fashion!

#2 Pay now or later?

Click-and-collect or click-and-reserve? The difference being whether the customer pays for the order online (collect) or instore (reserve). From a retailers point of view, the first option is preferable. After all, a shopper simply reserving online may decide not to turn up and therefore the sale is lost. However, asking people to pay online is a barrier.

What’s more, if paying instore, people are likely to buy more on impulse upon collection (if other products are indeed available to buy on collection). Whereas a shopper who has already made a transaction is statistically less inclined to get their card out again.

#3 Show stock availability

People want to know the item is in stock before they set off to visit a store. They don’t have time to browse in hope. And above all else, we know how it feels when the item isn’t in stock, all very frustrating indeed.

This is yet another fantastic consumer benefit of click-and-collect. If shoppers know what they want is going to be there, you’ll find they’re happier to make that trip. Obviously this affects click-and-reserve more than click-and-collect because you’ll most certainly want the item to be there if they’ve already paid for it!

Another benefit of showing stock availability could be the scarcity impact on sales psychology. Basically, if you’re buying online and there’s only 1 left in store, you’re gonna wanna get your skates on!

#4 Be mobile

With M-commerce growing faster than any other purchase channel, you don’t want your customers pinching, squeezing and faffing on their phones to try and complete an order. People like easy things and so they get frustrated when it’s hard work. If it’s not easy to purchase on your website with a smartphone they will find somewhere else where it is.

Smartphones can also be used to enhance customer experience. Think of SMS messages to update order notifications and give simple order numbers that can be shown to your server. Location features can be used to help people find their nearest store for example.

#5 Make it free

Unless you’re Tesco, it’s best practice to make click-and-collect free to use. OC&C Strategy Consultants rank ‘free click-and-collect’ as the main reason for clients to use it. You could argue that today it’s more about convenience.

But either way, according to Ampersand, 79% of retailers always offer free in-store click-and-collect without the need for a minimum spend. Your competitor won’t be charging, so it’s a barrier if you do. Especially today, where we need to do what we can to help.

#6 Clear collection times

Customers like convenience. We all do. None of us like waiting around for things. This is what can annoy people about home delivery. Having to hang around, peeping through the curtains because you think that van at the end of your road is for you. Wait. Is that it, Oh, no, it’s the window cleaner. To avoid delays and manage queues, give your customers the ability to choose a slot. Ensure you have it ready for them.

JustEat does this with food order collections. It helps you to manage busy workflows and keeps customers happy. Happy people come back to buy more things. And if you’re lucky (or better still, good) they may even tell their friends.

#7 Educate them on how it works

Giving your customers certainty helps them decide to buy from you. Nobody likes doing things when they don’t know the next steps because it’s a little daunting. Daunting and online sales don’t play nice. be clear. Add a landing page to your site explaining the process. It manages expectations and removes any ambiguity from a user perspective.

Be sure to cover all the important points without being overcomplicated. A good way to tackle this is by having a simple graphic with a few steps outlining the process. You know,

  • Order online
  • Wait for order to be ready
  • Wear a face covering
  • Go to collection point
  • Give name and order number
  • Relax your face

But if there are additional points, why not pop them in a section of FAQs?. Answer questions related to common concerns, such as

  • How do I pay if I haven’t already?
  • What do I need to bring with me?
  • How long items are held for?
  • Can you bring items to my car?
  • What to do if I miss my collection slot?
  • Can I transfer my order to another store?
  • How can I return goods?

#8 What’s your (collection) point?

The most successful retailers have dedicated collection points. It’s like a reward for customers for doing some of the hard work for you. Should they queue and wait while the other consumers do all the things that the click-and-collect client has already done? Nope, reward them for doing most of the work for you online, it will encourage them to do it again.

What’s more, segregating till/collection points in this way can only be good for crowd management, safety and social distancing.

#9 Signpost it

Literally scream collection point. OK, maybe not literally scream because that would be weird. But do make it crystal clear where to go, where to stand and what to do.

Use wayfinding signage such as flags, banners, window vinyls, cones, posters, floor stickers or even a dedicated gazebo. You don’t want people gathering around or looking lost. Browse our range of footfall-essentials that can help you improve your space and enhance the customer experience.

#10 Don’t be a stranger

Just because we can’t do hugs doesn’t mean we need to be strangers. Communication is key with commerce so remember to keep in touch. There are multiple reasons to keep the conversation going once your client checks out online.

  • Order confirmation
    Your way to confirm what’s been ordered and the first opportunity to thank your new friend. Remember to give advice about when their order will be ready.
  • Order is ready
    Remember to include directions and instructions.
  • Collection reminders
    Especially important for ‘click-and-reserve’.
  • How did we do?
    Thanks again for your custom, how did we do? Here’s a voucher because we’re besties now.

Clicking is the path to collecting. Your webshop leads to orders, orders lead to collection, and collection leads to more orders.

We’ve multiple solutions for you, working with names such as Square and the UK’s leading Epos provider ‘EposNow’. This enables us to bring click-and-collect to SME retailers at an affordable price.