I was recently reading an article about getting your online business ready for Christmas. The article I was reading informed me that more than half of consumers online will have started Christmas shopping before the beginning of December. This idea got me thinking, not about this Christmas, but about next Christmas… What are some things you can begin working on now which will help set you apart from the pack this time next year? My answer is ‘Click and Collect.’
Although Click and Collect is nothing entirely new, in my opinion, is being under-utilised -- making it the next step.
A click and collect system allows customers to browse your website and find what they’re looking for, in the comfort of their own home, pay for it to secure the goods, and then come into the store, at their earliest convenience, to collect the items. It’s really as easy as that.
Listing the reasons as to why you should be using this tool and the number of reasons it can be used to create an enormous point of difference, equal why I think it’s a great idea.
The fact is that 72% of people research what they want to buy online before going into a store to purchase the goods. If your business can better accommodate that segment of the market, you will find that turnover and revenue will increase!
Chances are, your customers will appreciate the initiative for a number of reasons;
1) Not everyone can get to your store during opening hours to purchase.
Giving your customers the option to shop on their terms can only be a good thing. Not everyone feels comfortable shopping online but due to life being busy, they may not be able to get to your shop during opening hours. If people feel relaxed when shopping, i.e. relaxed on the couch in their home, they will enjoy the experience. Chances are, they will spend more in the long run.
2) Depending on your target market, the research shows that there are still trust issues when shopping online.
Click and collect is a great way to alleviate this trust issue and helps to reduce any perceived risk that consumers might feel when buying online. With this, your customers will familiarise themselves with your online checkout process -- in the knowledge that they can safely purchase online, with a safety net of dealing with real people in a real store should anything go wrong.
3) It allows you to secure payment for the goods up front.
You are able to secure payment up front and online which reduces the chance that people will simply ‘forget’ about the purchase and never show up to pick it up. An issue which can also be alleviated which consumers face when they purchase directly from a shop front is when the product a customer wants to purchase isn’t in stock in the size and/or colour they want. When your customer shops online and nominates a particular day to collect it, you are given a chance to source the goods you may not necessarily have in your storeroom or shop floor. It also allows you to create a sense of urgency and collect payment for the product while your customer is feeling the impulse to buy.
4) It reduces the returns rate from the online store.
Your customers will be able to come in store, try the goods out and eyeball them before walking away with the purchase. It allows your customers to feel comfortable about what they are buying and gives your bricks and mortar staff the opportunity to up-sell and drive more revenue through the till at the point of collection.
Most importantly, and here is the cool part, it gives your business the opportunity to implement offline conversion tracking as discussed in my previous blog post.
Implementing a click and collect scenario into your sales channel gives you the chance to collect a database of converting customers, assign them a customer number through the means of a loyalty card and at the point of collection, allows you to track any further sales offline.
This is perhaps the most valuable element in the strategy as it allows us to better understand the behaviour of some of your most important customers and tailor specials and deals toward their buying habits. It’s the kind of thing that will take some time to implement. The boat has sailed for Christmas this year, but in all reality Click & Collect is not a tool consumers only use during the lead up to Christmas. It can be used all year round. If you’re organised, you can implement it and iron out the bugs during 2015 to ensure that next Christmas is your biggest one yet!