The 2014 Christmas season saw the largest number of orders by Click & Collect to date, but what is the reason for the sudden explosion in its popularity with consumers? Read on to find out.
As I have said in other articles, consumers are demanding more now than they ever have before. They want to be able to shop via any channel, review and comment through social media, and have those shopping experiences transcend devices by picking up where they left off with their basket items.
This is all about control, and maintaining the control they have in their eCommerce experience right through to delivery. One of the major bug-bears with clicking ‘Confirm Purchase’ is that the consumer then hands over their control to the eCommerce provider, as they will decide when their package is actually delivered. What if they arrive when I’m not in? What if it doesn’t turn up? What if I have to return it and it takes a month before I get the money back? The rise in figures of Click & Collect service use suggests that consumers want to take back this control.
I do a lot of online shopping because I like the ease of being able to browse without being accosted as soon as I walk through the door by a sales assistant. Having done that exact job in different uniforms in the past, I know they are just doing what the manager ordered, but like many people nowadays, if I can avoid it I will. However, I still like the experience of going into a shop and walking out with my purchase, being able to try it on and get a refund there and then rather than having to send off for it and wait.
Enter, the Click & Collect method.
I can safely say that for every item I buy online which has a brick and mortar equivalent, I always check for and select where possible, the Click & Collect option. I get the perfect combination of the experience I am looking for: I have the ease of browsing at home on my tablet or on the commute to work without being interrupted, delivery is free, I am able to have a much more enjoyable brick and mortar experience, and the best part of all – they always have my size!
The Facts and Figures
It is easy to see from this why the concept appeals to consumers so readily. The Click & Collect option not only gives the consumer back their control over purchasing, but it accommodates individuality and takes lifestyle into account much better. A mother who has to take her children to school and run errands during the day may not be able to wait in for a delivery, which would then get sent back to the post office collection point, constituting another annoyance in her buying experience – one which she will relate automatically to her experience of that brand as a whole.
With Click & Collect, she knows that she can factor the pick-up into her day, as she will be notified upon its arrival, and will already know the location of the store because she selected it at the point of sale.
Click & Collect represents far more to the consumer than just another delivery option; it demonstrates that retailer’s ability to take customer service to the next level and think about the number one need of the consumer – convenience. This not only keeps hold of current online customers and improves upon their eCommerce experience, but it attracts a new type of customer.
Convenience is king. Take those Christmas sales we talked about earlier; John Lewis predicted last year that over 50% of their online trade would use Click & Collect. The actual figure for the 2014 Christmas period was 56%, while online shopping as a whole constituted 36% of their overall sales, which is up by 32% from 2013.
In 2012, Click & Collect accounted for only 27% of online purchases, growing to 40% in 2013, before hitting 49% by October 2014. The Click & Collect service was expanded as part of their partnership with Waitrose; shoppers can usually collect their purchases from either a John Lewis outlet or from a branch of Waitrose. This only serves to demonstrate the power of convenience to the consumer; while many cities may not have a John Lewis outlet, they will most likely have a Waitrose, or vice versa. Conclusion? If people can use it, they will.
Click & Collect is a service which seems to further define the key needs of today’s consumer, and convenience is top of the list, with free delivery and no-wait returns following closely behind.
There are benefits to the eCommerce provider too though. Not only will you receive quality information about customer service and your team dealing with the online sector of your store, but your customers will be given a better experience, reinforcing your credibility which we know leads to lifelong consumers and brand loyalty.