Click and collect is continuing to be an effective revenue stream for retailers. Customers welcome the ease of searching for an item and picking it up in-store, knowing that the item they need is available and has already been paid for.
In addition, shoppers want to collect their items as quickly as possible. In many instances, waiting several days for an item to arrive in-store isn't good enough. So instead, shoppers seek brands that offer a rapid click and collect, where they can pick up an item within just a few hours of making their order.
Brands such as Smyths Toys Superstores have long offered fast click and collect options, and supermarkets such as Sainsbury's are now rolling out same-day home delivery and click and collect services.
If Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) technology is already readily available, how can we improve it to meet customer demand?
For online retailers, this is quick & easy to implement.
Amazon is successful because customers can save multiple delivery addresses to their accounts. As a result, they can easily purchase birthday or Christmas presents for loved ones and have the items shipped directly to the recipient – often with gift wrapping options available. Other retailers should consider updating their systems to offer greater flexibility for their customers ahead of busy shopping periods such as Black Friday and Christmas. It could be extremely lucrative for retailers and provide a stress-free shopping experience for those shopping for other people.
But could we also do something similar in-store?
We know that customers appreciate physical shops because they like physically trying or testing products and feel confident that what they are buying is what they are looking for. During key shopping periods, when customers buy for multiple people, they can get frustrated with carrying heavy shopping bags around.
For example, 43% of shoppers told us that carrying heavy bags is what they like least about shopping in-store, making it the second biggest frustration (after lengthy queues and checkouts). So, suppose the convenience factor and ability to ship directly to other addresses are the two things that shoppers like most about shopping online. In that case, retailers should find new ways to learn from this and improve the overall shopping experience.
An option could be to introduce "buy and send" capabilities in-store.
This is where a customer can physically buy an item in your retail outlet and pay for it in-store, yet have the item shipped directly to their chosen destination.
This is already in place for big-ticket items where retailers manage the order in-store and arrange delivery later. But it's something that shoppers would welcome in stores where they can buy smaller items.
Let’s imagine a scenario during the busy Christmas shopping period. Shoppers could visit retail outlets to find the ideal presents for their loved ones. Then, they could purchase the ideal gifts in-store (and take advantage of further up-sell opportunities or spot additional impulse purchases) and arrange for the item to be sent directly to the recipient.
From a technical perspective, this could be relatively easy to facilitate. For example, if retailers have aligned their eCommerce platforms with their in-store till points, sales staff could facilitate a purchase via the eCommerce capabilities. That way, they can take payment and arrange shipment to the chosen address, all without being impacted by the practicalities of dispatching the physical item within their store.
Interestingly, our research showed that the potential "buy and send" model available in retail stores would be overwhelmingly popular amongst all age groups.
Typically, most digital innovations designed to improve the shopping experience, have been welcomed by the 16-24 and 25-34 cohort of shoppers. This is because these generations have grown up within the digital era. However, a "Buy & Send" model of retail was welcomed by all age groups.
This demonstrates to retailers that a "buy and send" retail model could be a welcome possibility, regardless of your customer demographic.
To read more about how retailers can combine online & offline shopping experiences and discover practical suggestions that can have a significant impact on their bottom line, please read our whitepaper.