Why Click-and-Collect Should Not Be the End of Collection and Delivery Innovation
There's no arguing that the convenience of click-and-collect has become one of the retail industry’s biggest trends of the last few years. In 2015, 32 percent of holiday shoppers used a click-and-collect service, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers. That percentage will almost certainly increase this year.
Delivery and collection are core to successful e-commerce businesses. The ability for a consumer to buy something on their mobile phone in the morning and collect it or have it delivered that afternoon shouldn't be underestimated. Some retailers use click-and-collect to show innovation and forward thinking, when in reality, it's now the norm. For some, it's become a full stop in their e-commerce strategies, and retailers need to think beyond click-and-collect to take full advantage of the endless aisle.
Retailers must be mindful that click-and-collect isn't a differentiator anymore. Shoppers now expect flexibility in delivery and collection; loudly proclaiming a click-and-collect offering is akin to boasting of the ability to process chip-and-pin payments. E-commerce is extremely fast paced and consumer expectations rise quickly, yet many retailers seem to be resting on their laurels with click-and-collect. Furthermore, click-and-collect isn't well-suited for all sectors of retail. The benefits of click-and-collect are negated because consumers can only physically carry home a certain amount of items.
Click-and-collect can also have a significant impact on product returns. In a 2015 report, Deloitte highlighted this risk, with people prone to overordering as they know any unwanted goods can be easily returned and refunded. This can cause a returns loop that leads to stock shortages.
Innovation Must Continue
The tendency for certain retailers to ease up on e-commerce innovation is the most significant potential downside to click-and-collect. It's easy for retailers to implement click-and-collect and feel they've added enough new functionality to please customers.
Providing customers with choice and price competitiveness through online marketplaces is another significant area of growth within e-commerce, and retailers could and should be looking to combine the two innovations. Combining choice and price competitiveness with the convenience of click-and-collect makes for a potent e-commerce offering for a retailer.
During the past couple of years, same-day delivery has been on the rise, and although we aren’t there yet, drone-based delivery could well be the next wave of innovation. Amazon.com is actively exploring drone delivery, allowing the retailer to get product to customers within a matter of minutes. Same-day delivery could soon be the norm, and drone delivery the next big thing.
Click-and-Collect in 2016 and Beyond
Click-and-collect undoubtedly has a healthy future and will continue to play a major role in e-commerce, but retailers must not let this restrict their innovation. Brands should continue to look for other ways to improve the customer experience and operate smoother logistics.
Click-and-collect isn't the end-all for collection and delivery and can still be refined and improved upon. This can be accomplished a couple of ways: collaborating with unusual partners such as noncompetitive retailers or integrating with other e-commerce initiatives, such as online marketplaces. Retailers should always be investigating the next phase of delivery innovation to fully take advantage of e-commerce’s endless aisle.
Adrien Nussenbaum is the U.S. CEO and co-founder of Mirakl, a SaaS online marketplace platform provider.