Click & Collect (C&C) is not a new concept to retailers or to customers. Earlier this year, it was estimated that retailers are fulfilling up to 70% of their online orders in-store. It’s an attractive – and demanded – part of customer service and many retailers are starting to realise measurable benefits. For example, C&C helps to reduce purchase friction whilst driving up footfall and point-of-purchase revenues.
Sustaining a robust C&C offering requires a lot of work. Many retailers have figured out the online parts of C&C. They have an e-commerce platform that accommodates purchasing with very few clicks. Yet, few are getting the full value from their C&C efforts – because the crucial human component is missing from the in-store experience. So when the customer comes into the environment to pick up his or her purchase, the journey can often fall apart.
Like many consumers, I love to shop, but I don’t always have time.
I love C&C because it works for my lifestyle. I can search online (which often happens during my commute or at night after my daughter goes to bed), purchase from my laptop, and set my collection points at stores that are close to where I will be. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, last year, a lot went wrong. As I start to think about Christmas and all the presents I’m excited to find for my daughter, my friends, and my family, I can’t help but think of last year, when I ended up having to ask my neighbour to take delivery for items I’d bought online because the C&C process went so wrong.
Here were a few of the highlights – do any of these sound familiar? I bet they do.
- I can’t easily identify where I should go to collect my goods. After wandering through a seriously crowded store for far too long, I find the collection desk – on the top floor! That means that when I finally do pick up my parcels, I have a long way to go to get out of the store – now with bags in tow! Somebody didn’t think all the way through this setup.
- No one is at the counter when I eventually find the collection point. And to make it more frustrating, there are no instructions posted about calling for assistance. I stand there wondering if I should go find someone? Wait? Wave at random people hoping they can help me?
- I have to queue up because it’s the Christmas season and the entire world seems to have had the same idea to collect purchases after work or on the weekend. And to make it worse, the person ahead of me is having an issue. Her parcel is not ready so the line is not moving. At least this time I’m not in the same queue as the people who are trying to pay for items they have just selected in store! Still, at this point, I’m wishing I had booked a day off work to take home delivery.
I got frustrated! My favourite brands were failing to delight me – not because of the products, but because of the service! I’ve paid for these items already. Shouldn’t collecting them be the easy part?
I recognise that it’s not easy being a retailer today. I realise how demanding I sound. Yet, I still want (and expect) great C&C service – especially because some brands manage to get it so right.
I’m excited to share some simple insights.
I joined the UK offices of Qmatic in 2016. It’s a hugely exciting company! We use tools like customer journey mapping to create frictionless customer experiences. This means I get to have interesting conversations with my favourite brands – and guess what? That includes showing them ways to ensure the “collect” part of C&C is a seamless, stress-free, customer-enhancing experience. First and foremost, we view every journey from start to finish, from online to in-store. We break up a journey into six parts and establish measurable objectives at each one.
Here’s what my ideal Christmas shopping journey looks like for this year:
- Pre-arrival – My favourite brand is sharing regular communications and status updates directly with me via SMS and push notifications. I know what is happening with my order!
- Arrival – As I arrive in-store, I check in – and I have options! I can use a kiosk, touchscreen, app, or even iBeacon technology. The staff know I have arrived and they confirm they’re ready for me with a text to my phone.
- Waiting – I get real-time messages telling me where to go, where I am in the queue, and giving me some activities I can enjoy whilst I wait, I know already I will browse and find more items I want to buy! I get another message to alert me when my goods are ready for pick up.
- Serving – When I get to the counter, a smiling team member is ready for me. The entire interaction is friendly – we share our excitement about the holidays!
- Post-serving – As I leave the store, I get a thank you message on my phone and a promotional offer for the next time I purchase online or in-store. I’m happy to click the link and answer a short questionnaire about my experience and to compliment the lovely staff for great service.
- Analysis – I know that every step of the process is gathering business intelligence that my favourite brand can use to keep improving.
The amazing thing is that these steps all take place within a cohesive enterprise customer journey management ecosystem! That’s how Qmatic helps brands succeed – each of these steps works together from end-to-end – from online purchase to in-store pickup.
At the heart of a successful C&C campaign is one thing – a seamless journey. Online (click) and in-store (collect) should not be considered separate channels. They need to work as a single, complementary system. And if you can make it easy for your customers to collect and you delight them in the store, they will click more often!