With consumers clicking but not collecting, how can retail seize the moment?

A new study has revealed that one in seven click and collect orders are never picked up, meaning consumers in the UK have left £228 million worth of goods over the past year. Despite one in three people describing click and collect as a ‘hassle’, it’s still the fastest-growing delivery type for 9 out of 10 retailers, so why exactly are people failing to pick up their shopping and how can brick and mortar shopping destinations support increased footfall?

 

WHAT’S PUTTING CONSUMERS OFF CLICK AND COLLECT?

15% of shoppers who admitted to not collecting their orders said they did so because they were put off by the queues and annoyed at having to pay a fee for this service. The latter is unusual given they were happy to pay when at checkout, perhaps highlighting an element of getting click-happy while online shopping.

Despite late-night shopping, the majority of online shoppers use lunch breaks to pick up online orders – or return them – perhaps highlighting an unwillingness to wait.

Cybertill surveyed 2,000 adults in the UK to delve deeper into consumer behaviour around click and collect. They found that 65% of consumers are frustrated when click and collect orders arrive late, or retailers provide vague collection instructions. 57% were put off by long queues and 52% found themselves queuing in the wrong place for collection. 38% also stated that they were unable to collect their order due to poor phone signal, so how can retailers counteract these complaints?

In response to this issue, Zara has stepped up to appeal to their target market. Their demographic is young professionals and they’re busy, which means Zara’s infamous long queues can be off-putting. Their click and collect service is a self-service with shoppers able to scan a barcode receipt in exchange for their order. To top that, their click and collect service is at no extra charge with no minimum spend.

Placing the order number in the subject line removes the need for the email message to be downloaded in full. Separate queues or pick up points work well when clearly signposted and regular, automated and updated delivery tracking should stop consumers travelling to a store before their order has arrived.

Click and collect

 

WHY IS CLICK AND COLLECT IMPORTANT?

Barclaycard found that 70% of British shoppers order items using the click and collect delivery service and on average twice a month. For a working person, this is a great initiative from online retailers, given most consumers aren’t at home during regular delivery times. With younger generations wanting flexibility and a service on their terms, the ability to pick up items at their leisure is a win-win.

Online-only retailers have also recognised the value of consumers being able to collect their orders at a time that suits them. Amazon partnered with high street retailer Next to enable shoppers to pick up their orders instore at a click and collect service desk they’ve aptly named ‘Counter’. The service is available to Prime customers as part of their subscription, showing that even the offer of next day delivery at no extra charge can be beaten by the click and collect offering.

For businesses, it is – in principle – a great way to drive consumers back into stores under the premise of free delivery and no queues. With 30% of online products returned compared to just 8.89% that are purchased at bricks and mortar stores, brands stand a greater chance of receiving an impulse buy online. By utilising click-and-collect, they could convert what was a new consumer into a loyal buyer. This can only be a positive thing for traditional retailers who are struggling on Britain’s changing high street. Once those people are instore, retailers can focus on upselling and creating an in-store experience that will encourage repeat visits.

Kirsty Morris, director at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said: “Brands have the opportunity to not only increase the number of shoppers through their doors but also to reduce costs and returns, while generating revenue from ‘Click & Collectors’ purchasing additional items in-store. Enhancing the Click & Collect experience is a potentially lucrative way for retailers to ward off the unprecedented challenges of the high street and bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping.”

 

WHAT ELSE CAN RETAILERS DO TO DRIVE FOOTFALL?

In recent years we’ve seen many stores on the high street close due to diminishing sales thanks to the rise in online shopping, but in the modern world where we spend so much of our lives glued to our screens, retailers need to get clever to drive footfall. Some examples could include:

In-store events

Events can drive footfall and help improve brand image by creating a positive experience. A prime example is athletics brand Lululemon who offer free yoga and fitness lessons in many of their stores. These are a great way to drive brand loyalty through providing a relevant perk that’s of interest to their customers.

Pop-up shops

Reach new audiences through pop-up stops. These work for both bricks and mortar and online retailers and is a great way to grow your brand recall in new areas and to new audiences. Benefit introduced their Jingle Brow Express for a Christmas pop-up and the gift of groomed brows.

Social Media

It sounds counter-intuitive, but getting your digital channels right can hugely benefit your retail success. Pub-giant, JD Wetherspoons have completely left social media, as have beauty brand, Lush. Meanwhile, retailer Poundland have had 2 years of success with their ‘Naughty Elf on the Shelf’ Christmas campaign where trading went up 20% compared to the previous year along with the sale of more than 20,000 ‘bad elves’.

Click and collect retail

 

RETAIL TRENDS FOR THE FUTURE

Click-and-collect is just one string of a multi-faceted strategy that online and offline retailers must adopt to be front of mind for consumers.

Jane Woodhead, director of consumer PR said,

“Retail brands need to evolve with their audience. While click-and-collect remains a popular delivery choice, these figures are telling. Retailers need to continue to innovate to both provide to the needs of their customers while also upselling. The high street will always be an important physical entity, but it needs to be seen as a gateway between online and the consumer, rather than a choice of one or the other. The sense of gratification you feel when shopping online is always less so than in-store, because you have the products instantly and you’re (almost always) sure that you like it – but brands need to work to encourage the impulse buys that are more frequently seen online.

The reality is that whilst you might be able to easily shop online, you can’t touch the products, try things on or socialise with your friends over a spot of lunch and these elements all add to the shopping experience. Shopping destinations like Liverpool ONE combine a retail experience with events to encourage footfall and give shoppers a positive brand experience. Define your target audience and understand their needs. Then work to provide them with services on-site that not only meet – but also exceed – those needs.”

 

With Gen Z the emerging majority consumer, brands need to evolve with their audience as this generation is looking for authenticity from the companies they buy from as well as demanding a personalised experience.

Lisa Hooker, PWC’s Consumer Markets Leader, explains: “Retailers and leisure operators need to continue looking at their businesses – including their store portfolios – to make sure they have a clear brand and product offering. The winners at the moment, such as nail bars, coffee shops, bookstores and craft beer pubs, are all flourishing because they serve the needs of emerging consumer segments and offer a differentiated physical proposition that online offerings can’t compete with.”

 

The focus of retailers in coming years will be on aligning their multi-channel offering, connecting online buyers with physical store visits all whilst creating an experience that’s positive, unique and authentic to their brand. If you need help developing your retail strategy read all about the fantastic work we’ve done for Liverpool ONE.

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