A 2012 report from Econsultancy found that half of the UK’s top 50 retailers failed to offer click and collect. Fast forward two years and the landscape has changed significantly. Tesco boasts over 1,500 collection points around the country, whilst Asda launched Drive Thru Click and Collect points across its store network. This trend is only set to rise with our latest report highlighting that over 95% of UK consumers will use click and collect this Christmas.
As we head closer and closer to the biggest online shopping event of the year, getting your click and collect offering right will play a major part in your Christmas success. Here’s our top tips for improving the click and collect experience.
Promote your service
According to usability expert and editor of Econsultancy, Graham Charlton, the number one way to improve the click and collect experience is to promote it.
“Click and collect can be a sales driver, so sites should make it clear to visitors that this option is available.”
This means including clear messages on your homepages, product pages, basket pages and throughout the whole checkout process. The same applies for your mobile site and in-store.
Display stock availability early on in the process
Provide the option to check stock levels early on in the buying process. It’s critical that your stock levels are up to date to avoid disappointment at the final stage of reserving or purchasing an item to collect in the customer’s local store. Your customers need to be able to see upfront whether an item is available to collect without needing to enter the buying process to find out.
If items are in stock allow your customers to collect ASAP
If the items are in stock, why make your customers wait to pick them up? Let the customer decide when it’s best to pick up their order. Remember that shoppers could be searching on mobiles, and potentially minutes from your site; therefore rapid collection could mean the difference between a sale and a lost customer. A real-time view of your inventory will be essential if you want to offer this option.
Explain how it works
Click and collect works differently on different sites. While most retailers don’t charge for the option others do. Clearly displaying how it works across your site is the easiest way to curb cart abandonment.
Selfridges have a really useful page explaining how the process works answering commonly asked questions. They even provide 30 minutes complimentary parking for all customers using their click and collect service which is really persuading – believe me!
Give alternative options
Offer alternative collection points for when in-store isn’t convenient. For example, John Lewis have extended their click and collect service to enable customers to collect orders from its partner Waitrose.
Services such as Amazon Lockers and CollectPlus has opened this delivery option to retailers of all sizes, meaning that customers no longer have to slog through the busy high-street to collect their items.
“Click & collect allows shoppers to take control. It works for them because it’s on their terms.” Neil Ashworth, CEO of CollectPlus.
CollectPlus’ network is made up over 5,500 collection points meaning that 90% of people who live in the UK are within one mile of a CollectPlus store, ideal for those last minute people who need emergency presents Christmas eve. The only possible drawback is whether the added convenience outweighs the increase store footfall and upsell opportunities.
Make it easy for customers to find your collection points
If you do offer click and collect you need to make sure it’s easy for customers to find their nearest delivery point. Using a store finder which includes distances and driving directions is an essential way to improve this process. In our recent click and collect Survey over 70% of consumers said they preferred a store finder which allowed them to search for click and collect points nearest them using their postcode.
Majestic Wine cater for everyone by providing a map and postcode search to search for their nearest stores.
Allow your customers to save their nearest store as a preference so you can highlight relevant information and services to your customers. This provides a far more personalised shopping experience encouraging offline shopping.
A returns policy is probably one of the most important considerations when buying online.
If you offer click and collect you need to be able to offer a simple and easy way to return the item if it’s not suitable. Give your customers the options to choose if they want to return the item in the original collection store or to use a third-party drop point like Collect+ local stores or local Post Offices. Promoting an easy and free returns service could be a great way to attract new consumers to try click and collect.
Test, test, test
As with everything you offer, you should always test your click and collect first. Using leading high street retailers models as a starting point is a good idea, but don’t think you can just carbon copy their approach. After all your products are different, your logistics systems are different and most importantly your customers are different.
Brian McArdle, Online Channel Manager at Countrywide Farmers told us that running a test in six stores before full roll out helped in getting the click and collect offering just right for their rural customer base. “Since rolling out in full we have seen click and collect represent nearly 30% of orders placed via the website and have seen total conversion increase also, the feedback to the concept has been very positive”.
Which sites do you think offer a good experience for click and collect and why? Let us know below.