Why Click & Collect is booming in the face of delivery uncertainty
A growing number of consumers are turning to Click & Collect in the face of strains on the delivery networks due to postal strikes, and the in-store pick-up service could help fuel the recovery of the high street post-pandemic, a leading logistics provider has said.
Tony Mannix, CEO at Clipper Logistics, a GXO Company, told TheIndustry.fashion that while carriers had been struggling with deliveries to home, it had witnessed a boom in demand for delivery to store.
"Click & Collect has delivered in spades," Mannix said. "On timing our performance has been outstanding."
Mannix added that by offering Click & Collect, retailers are able to make their full inventory available to consumers for collection the next day, making them highly competitive in the face of services such as Amazon Prime.
"If you've got a store, you've got something that Amazon hasn't got. Customers can buy something online, have it delivered to a store and while they are in the store you've got the chance to sell them something else," he said.
Retailers need to capitalise on the emotional element that drove a consumer to buy a particular item and to take advantage of the store environment when they come to collect it, Mannix said.
"Retailers have become very very good at handing over a parcel, but at no point does someone try to get an added value sale out of it and try to coax you into being a customer because you are in a shop," he said.
When customers are in-store, staff should be encouraged to interact with them, showing them additional items and encouraging them to try on items to enable them to immediately return those they don't want.
The packaging in which items are despatched to store can also play a role in this approach, Mannix said.
"Let's say you've ordered two jackets as you aren't sure of your size. Most people in fulfilment would wrap them in tissue paper, put them in a bullet proof pizza box and deliver them to your home or store.
"Why don't you have them delivered in minimal or returnable transit packaging to allow the store staff to interact with [the customer]?
"You could even use an app alert to let the customer know their item is waiting and have it hanging in a fitting room for them when they arrive.
"That way, [store staff] probably get the ability to sell you something you haven’t ordered, i.e. something to go with the jacket, and more importantly you get immediate return of inventory," he explained.
Those retailers with few or no stores are also able to benefit from Click & Collect via collaboration with other retailers. Some 40 retailers are using Clipper's Clicklink services to power their Click & Collect and smaller players can take advantage of the 'shared service' model.
For instance, activewear retailer Sweaty Betty and digital-first clothing brand Boden both offer the ability for customers to pick up their orders in branches of Waitrose, which is seeing the benefit from increased footfall from a consumer group that matches its own.
"Why don’t we start to talk to other people in the eco-system to allow different brands to be picked up in stores?" Mannix said, adding that he believed that such collaboration would help revive the fortunes of the high street.
"I truly believe that high street retailing is all about collaboration. The Internet has changed retailing but that doesn’t mean that the high street doesn’t have a role to play," Mannix said.
Mannix added that if town and city centres make it easier for customers to travel in and if consumers could be made aware of the sustainable benefits of a large number of parcels going to one place, rather than multiple homes, then the benefits to the post-pandemic high street could be great.
"If we can harness online activity and make going to a city centre feel less impactful, it will make a huge difference.
"If you're walking to pick up your parcel from a big store, you will pass a lot of smaller independent stores and you may go in or you may buy a coffee. Being active in the high street ends up being better for everybody,” he explained.
"If retailers view themselves as nothing more than a parcel collection point, they're missing the point," he added.