Attracting the Mobile Shopper: Why Click-and-Collect is the Answer for Savvy Retailers

The team here at Iversoft is a pretty laidback group. Give us a solid selection of David’s Tea, a couple solid hockey team rivalries and Streaming Music Fridays and we’re good to go. But there’s one small gripe that seems to regularly rear its head: coordinating personal package deliveries.

E-commerce is great and makes our lives easier. But the simplicity too often loses its shine when it comes to the actual delivery. Someone sets up an office delivery since they are not home during the day, but it arrives just a few minutes before the first staff comes in. The recipient has to wait another day, frustrated. Someone else underestimates the package size, and so rather than it being in their mailbox when they get home, the package gets returned to the delivery company’s warehouse for pickup. In an inconvenient location that requires a car, no less.

There are bigger problems in life. But such inconveniences provide an opportunity for retailers to set themselves apart in a tough market. And that’s why we expect retailers to be just as keen as consumers for ‘click-and-collect’ to catch on here in North America just like it has already in Europe.

What is click and collect? Why now?

The concept is simple: give online or mobile buyers the option to pick up the goods they just purchased, at a physical location. The idea is not new, but with mobile and e-commerce taking increasing market share, it makes more and more sense for both retailers and consumers. In their recent Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) Predictions, Deloitte pointed to it as a key trend for 2015, predicting that the number of click and collect locations in Europe alone will reach half a million this year.

Click and Collect makes sense for retailers

There are several reasons retailers should consider the click-and-collect option when looking at their online sales and mobile strategy. Here are just a few:

1. Better customer experience

This is perhaps the most obvious benefit. Each shopper has different needs and factors they weigh into each purchase. The more retailers can provide better options for consumers, the better chance they have at winning that sale and creating a loyal customer at the same time. For the situations outlined above, I imagine both of my colleagues would have preferred an option to pick up the item on their way home from the pick-up location if it was convenient. Other uses of click-and-collect highlight additional ways retailers can make the shopping experience easier for consumers — everything from live in-store inventory updates to same-day pick-up (sometimes within an hour). It’s this new customer experience that has meant click-and-collect is even being tested for grocery shopping, including here in Ontario, by industry heavyweight Loblaws.

2. It fits with mobile consumer habits

With the rise of mobile phones, the online consumer is no longer just shopping from home in their pyjamas. Chances are they are just as likely to be comparison-shopping from inside the mall itself. A recent study found that 70 percent of Canadians spend time on their smartphone while shopping, and 61 percent of these are comparing prices with different retailers. For these customers on-the-go, competitive click and collect options nearby will often be preferable to waiting for ‘easy’ delivery.

3. It brings the consumer back to the store

Brick-and-mortar stores have had their challenges during the rise of e-commerce, that’s for sure. We’ve all heard of the dreaded showrooming, where shoppers check out a good in a store only to buy it online somewhere else. But in recent years, a reverse trend has been occurring. Webrooming, where shoppers research online, but then make the purchase in a store, may even be more common than showrooming.

Retailers should not see online or mobile commerce as something that competes with their physical location, but also something that, if done well, can drive sales — both online and in-store. Knowing this, click and collect becomes even more logical. Not only does it help shoppers by providing more options, and fits with their current habits, but it brings them back to the physical store — where of course they may end up spending even more. While click-and-collect does not necessarily require a brick and mortar location — e-tailers can also use it through partnering with third-party outlets — there is a clear added advantage for these type of retailers.

Click-and-collect may not make sense for every retailer, particularly if they don’t have the logistic capacity or staff to back it up. It’s one feature in a holistic approach to crafting a proper mobile strategy — with mobile payments and beacons just a couple other important possibilities to consider. But any brand wanting to create a strong approach to connecting with the mobile shopper would be well-served to consider how it could help both them and their customers.

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