Flexibility for consumers is a rising demand that many businesses need to continuously consider and, as stated in a retail trends report, “Click & Collect is a win-win situation for retailers and customers.”
With retail sales seeing improvements based on customers having options, businesses need to adapt in order to stay competitive and continue to meet their supply needs. Click & Collect offers a unique solution to meet demands in a modern way that is convenient for the customer.
To assist businesses that are looking to implement their first click and collect service and its increased benefits, or improve their existing collection process to achieve more sales, this blog post will expand on:
- What click & collect involves
- Common challenges for retailers
- The benefits of collection lockers and the solutions they offer
What is Click & Collect?
Click-and-collect is a process that involves a customer buying items online, for collection of the order in person at a physical location. This is typically the store where the order was bought.
Although e-commerce, or online shopping, has become a huge factor in sales for many businesses in a lot of industries, physical retail shopping is still important and the growth in demand for click-and-collect services proves this.
A Deloitte article states that at the start of the pandemic in the US, the use of click and collect services increased from 15% to 25% and saw a 65% share increase. It also shared statistics showing that consumers were 26% more likely to continue to shop online for in-person collection in 2020/2021.
Businesses must create an interchangeable environment that caters to digital and physical shopping patterns. Click & Collect Locker solutions ensure that companies not only remain competitive, but that consumer expectations will be met in an easy and flexible way.
Common Click & Collect challenges
Click & Collect services have functioned for a long time and continue to provide value in more ways than one. However, it’s important to understand the challenges many companies face with this service without the benefits of dedicated click & collect lockers.
The shifting expectation of click-and-collect services
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the use of collection services was a steady option that was useful on occasion. However, as we slowly came out of lockdown, it provided a way to continue to shop online, as well as receive faster delivery than standard home deliveries.
As shown in the stats, the major factors that consumers are choosing to click & collect are efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The sharp rise in click-and-collect services enabled consumers to browse freely and safely online and collect items at their leisure. However, pandemic or not, it’s important to keep up with the demands and adapt accordingly as and when buying trends and needs change.
The by-products of manual processing
Manual click-and-collect processes for physical stores typically involve alternating employees to find customer orders in a likely-packed storage room. This often takes several minutes, sometimes longer if the order cannot be found or if the wrong order was supplied to a customer. Additionally, when short-staffed it can lead to even longer waiting times for customers waiting to speak to an employee, leading to:
- Lack of consistent in-store processes for collections
- Long waiting times in queues
- Decreased customer service on shop floors
- Reduced storage space
- Poor overall customer experience
Manual collection processes slow down response times. It decreases the chances of staff being able to smoothly upsell more products and lowers store productivity, financial gain, and the overall quality of customer experiences with your business ─ all of which self-service collection lockers can help solve significantly.
The bigger picture of being cost-conscious
What might seem like a tiny step forward could have a progressively larger impact than we realise. Survey results from a giant retailer broke down the costs that can be saved by simply incorporating click & collect lockers into the sales process.
It showed that “on an average of 30 orders per store per day, the current manual processing time is 150 minutes (2.5 hours) at a cost of £25 per day.”
Comparing the figures with self-service click & collect lockers, where it takes roughly ten seconds for store staff to load orders into a collection locker, businesses can see a higher ROI through saving more money while gaining more trust ─ and increased repeat business ─ through better, more attentive customer service.
Based on 30 orders per store per day, manual processing includes:
- Current time is taken to manage a Click & Collect order = 5 minutes
- Typical average salary (incl. NI & pension) = £10 per hour
This equates to 150 minutes (2.5 hours) at a cost of £25 per day.
Based on 30 orders per store per day, click & collect lockers include:
- Process time = 5 minutes
- Smart Locker process cost = £0.83
This equates to saving (per store, per day) = £24.17
Assuming the retailer has 400 stores nationwide, this would be a saving of £9,668 across all stores per day. If trading for 364 days per year, that’s an annual saving of £3,519,152.
How to implement an effective Click & Collect solution?
Offering a collection point for contactless delivery that is not restricted by the store’s service hours with self-service functionality can effectively increase engagement from online customers through physical stores. It also assists in increasing opportunities for impulse purchases and building face-to-face customer relationships in-store.
Introducing in-store package storage lockers brings additional advantages, including:
- Streamlining manual processes
- Easier delivery of customer orders
- Increased accuracies of delivered orders
- Real-time reports of locker usage and collection patterns
- Higher customer satisfaction and in-store experiences
Businesses with a pre-existing click-and-collect process can focus on improving their in-store collection solutions by establishing further options for their customers, such as:
- Same-day deliveries for speed
- Additional pick-up locations for extra convenience
- Customer engagement opportunities for feedback and increasing overall experiences
In short, Click & Collect Lockers introduce valuable ROI for retailers looking to streamline processes and enhance the customer experience, all while cutting operational costs. Enabling online shoppers to collect in-store using self-service smart lockers is a great way for businesses to increase significant savings through more sales and improve the customer experience through:
- Improved staff availability, and customer service
- Increased flexibility to collect when convenient
- Reduced delivery and return costs
- Reduced queues in-store, and extended service hours
Whether you’re looking to customise the locker banks to your branding or integrate it into your existing business software, Vpod’s Collection Lockers offer a flexible and automated solution tailored to your business needs.