How Click and Collect is Changing Consumer Behavior
What do customers want most from retailers? Convenience. Think about it: that’s why Amazon.com — long hailed as an “e-commerce pure-play company” — has been muscling its way into brick-and-mortar with the launch of Amazon Books stores and its closely watched $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods last year.
Companies like Amazon know that physical stores remain a powerful asset in the path to purchase for many consumers. And when you marry physical with digital, that’s where the real magic happens. Click and collect — i.e., buy online, pick up in-store or BOPIS — is the sweet spot of omnichannel retailing, the “special sauce” that happens when online and offline channels are working together in harmony to serve the customer.
Pinching Shipping Pennies
Who likes paying for shipping? Literally no one. With click and collect, your customers can shop online at their convenience and then drop in at their local store to get their purchase, bypassing the need to cough up shipping (and handling) fees. Shipping costs online often lead to abandoned carts, so offering BOPIS can drive conversions and increase sales, appealing to budget-conscious shoppers.
Ordering online usually results in several days of tracking a package, waiting and watching the mailbox, and praying that coveted items safely arrive at the front door. BOPIS eliminates all of that and offers instant gratification — or close enough. Shipping is a major factor in the pro-BOPIS argument, but next up is availability on shoppers’ list of reasons why they want to buy online and pick up in-store.
Many shoppers feel like they’re “hoping for the best” but “prepared for the worst” when they visit a physical store, especially if they’re not a standard size or seeking something particularly unusual. For example, petite and plus-size shoppers and those with very large or small feet face a limited selection of options in most stores. There’s no guarantee that any given store will carry, say, size four zebra-striped sequined flats. Consumers can browse your selection online and be confident that when they click the buy button, the item will be ready, waiting and available in-store. Transparency and inventory data can give shoppers peace of mind that they’ll get exactly what they purchase.
Hang Your Hat on the Convenience Factor
Part of the click-and-collect value proposition is getting shoppers in, out and on their way as quickly as possible. That means setting up a dedicated pickup area so that these customers don’t have to wait in line with everyone else. After all, you’ve already gotten their money. Give customers a great end-to-end experience by reserving a special section of your store to aggregate buy online, pick up in-store orders. This feature will appeal to busy customers, especially moms and others who are pressed for time.
Buy online, pick up in-store gives shoppers the ability to purchase during a break from work in the morning and then stop by the store on the commute home to pick up their orders, or to shop at their leisure in the evening and pick up their purchases the next day. Most systems include notifications that communicate to the customer exactly when the order will be ready, helping to manage expectations and improve customer satisfaction.
Give Customers a Way to Bypass Lines
While some shoppers embrace the mayhem of shopping’s busiest periods, many others don’t like fighting the chaos and crowds. Be sure to promote how click and collect can give crowd-wary shoppers a good experience despite times when there's usually an increase in foot traffic.
Click and collect is a beautiful thing for both retailers and shoppers, and more consumers are choosing this option when they shop. Offering BOPIS in your retail enterprise can help you recover foot traffic and sales, improve shopper satisfaction, and enhance your bottom line.
Paula Da Silva is the senior vice president of sales for Asia Pacific and the Americas for CitiXsys, a provider of omnichannel retail management software.
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