Sports retailer Sports Direct has just announced that its online sales have increased by 14.4% and hit the 551 million Euro mark.
The rise in sales was partly due to the retailer’s new Click & Collect service which launched in the second half of 2014. To date, Click & Collect accounts for more than 20% of all UK online orders.
This is good for Sports Direct but the question is: can other retailers reap the benefits of using a Click & Collect service?
The Rise of Click & Collect
Some of the retail early adopters of Click & Collect included:
- Argos: Used collection from store as part of its core business model
- Woolworths: In 2002/3
- Tesco Direct: In 2006
- House of Fraser: In 2009
Research by Planet Retail shows that the number of UK shoppers using Click & Collect is poised to more than double by 2017.
This is backed up by a recent report from e-retailing experts IMRG which predicts that Click & Collect options — in-store, parcel store and lockers — will increase in popularity by 20% each year.
Although this is good news for retailers considering or using the service, reports still show that UK shoppers are relatively slow to use Click & Collect, compared to their European counterparts. So is it for you?
The Benefits Of Click & Collect
A Click & Collect service can be used effectively by the following groups of retailers:
- Multichannel retailers that have a large network of stores across a wide geographical area;
- Retailers with smaller or regional store networks also using third-party networks;
- Pure-play retailers entirely reliant on third-party networks for offering a Click & Collect service.
There are benefits for both shoppers and retailers:
- For shoppers, Click & Collect provides a fixed, prearranged way for them to receive items that they have purchased online. This additional security blanket can be a strong selling point. Recall, for example, those affected by the poor weather conditions in 2010 that held up so many Christmas gift deliveries. Click & Collect would be a great service to avail of in such circumstances.
- Click & Collect may be cheaper than the cost of home delivery for customers, especially as postage prices are continually rising and more than likely the costs are passed onto the customer.
- Although “convenient” might not be the correct term — especially as the majority of shoppers still prefer home delivery — a Click & Collect service allows customers to collect their order at a time and location that suits them. This could be after work, at the weekend or sent to a handier store location.
- For retailers, having customers come into their store means that they can better manage the customer experience, upsell and cross-sell additional products and handle returns more efficiently.
- Over the past two years, according to the IMRG Click & Collect 2015 report, retailers have found that Click & Collect drives in-store footfall and incremental spend. It has become more than just another delivery channel; it is now an effective marketing tool that, if used correctly, can create additional spends per customer.
If your circumstances allow you to offer a Click & Collect service, make sure that you promote the channel to your customers as effectively as you can by using all means available to you – there is no point in having the service if nobody knows about it!
The Future of Click & Collect
Global technological advancements have meant that there are some ideas being trialled now that had not even seen the light of day 12 months ago.
Granted, some of them seem beyond the realms of possibility to most UK retailers — for example the use of drones or ‘in-boot’ Click & Collect items sent directly to customers’ cars — but watch this space. We might be using these in the not-too-distant future.