Customer Contact

Click & Collect solutions have become a staple for omnichannel retailers, but many are still failing to optimise these offerings and are therefore missing out on improved customer interactions, according to the latest research from customer journey experts, Qmatic.

New research which surveyed retailers on how they are currently offering Click & Collect services, as well as how they are planning to use it in the near future found that only 11 percent either do not currently offer this service or are not planning to offer it in the future.

But the research also found that many retailers could be improving their Click & Collect services  taking advantage of the customer browse time opportunity as findings indicate a half of customer are having to wait over four minutes while orders are retrieved.

Vanessa Walmsley, Managing Director at Qmatic UK, comments, “In the age of Amazon, speed, and instant gratification, the traditional brick-and-mortar retailers must innovate and optimise their in-store environment for today’s savvy consumers in order to create an integrated omnichannel experience that eliminates friction. Retailers should therefore be looking at how they can both reduce this waiting time for customers and increase browsing time and therefore sell more.”

This can be achieved through virtual queuing systems that allow customers to browse the store whilst they wait for their order from a member of staff, rather than standing in a physical queue.

Vanessa adds, “Although virtual queuing systems haven’t quite become commonplace in the retail space just yet, it’s encouraging to see that retailers clearly understand the benefits of them, with the top benefits of using a virtual queuing technology for Click & Collect cited as reducing the time taken for customers to collect their order, improving the overall omnichannel experience and less customers queueing.

“While Click & Collect solutions have become the norm in most large retail stores across the UK, there is still a disconnect between the online and instore experiences. It seems that most retailers still see their Click & Collect solution as the online to in-store logistical process, and do not often think about the critical part of the customer experience when they arrive in-store to collect items they have ordered online. This presents a significant opportunity for retailers to interact with customers, engage in conversations, offer personalised products in-store and to upsell more.”

The research also found that the ways in which customers can collect their orders is changing too. The ways that are set to see the most growth are via a locker or safe in-store or via a mobile app check-in. Only three percent currently use a locker or safe in-store, but 19 percent plan to use this in the future and only six percent currently use mobile app check-in but 16 percent plan to use this in the future.

Vanessa adds, “While most retailers have optimised websites and shopping apps, the same amount of innovation and dedication must happen to the in-store environment and it’s encouraging to see that some retailers are beginning to implement these new technologies that improve the customer journey. Similarly, retailers must stop running the online and in-store operations in silos and ensure a truly omnichannel experience is delivered. Mobile technology can be a powerful tool connecting customers to physical stores. This can ultimately help to create a truly omnichannel experience where consumers can receive personalised messages in-store, and where they can browse the store while entering a virtual queue.

“The integration of mobile technology to the in-store environment can win over new customers, deepen relationships with existing customers, and raise the productivity and satisfaction levels of staff members,” concludes Vanessa.

The research also found that:

  • Retailers are currently most likely to enable their customers to collect their online order via a dedicated Click & Collect desk (53 percent), any checkout till (38 percent) and at a customer services / returns desk (31 percent)
  • The vast majority (86 percent) of retailers that offer Click & Collect solutions are informing their customers when their package has arrived via email. This is followed by 35 percent notifying via SMS, while only 17 percent notify via a mobile app and only 14 percent notify via an internet messaging service such as Facebook messenger and WhatsApp

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