Click & Collect has become a real focus for many retailer’s online presence and for good reason. Customers are frustrated with the problems of direct to home deliveries; they are often expensive and as most require someone to be available to sign for them, inconvenient. Today’s busy consumer wants their goods quickly, but also at a location and time that suits them.

This is now starting to be reflected in usage figures where Barclays predict that deliveries direct to customer addresses set to decrease from 72% to 64% by the end of 2018 whilst the volume of Click & Collect deliveries will increase from 26% to 35% overall. 

Click & Collect is likely to become a big market in the near future and is an excellent opportunity for companies that get the service right. Implementing a Click & Collect service however, is not without its challenges, and getting it wrong can lead to unhappy customers and lost revenues. With the market growing so quickly it has never been more important to make sure your Click & Collect operation is up-to the challenge. 

What can go wrong?

When implementing Click & Collect businesses often struggle to keep queues at the collection point minimal. In a recent survey, 32% of UK consumers admitted to experiencing long lines at their Click & Collect collection point.  Queues occur because customers are having to wait while your staff search your storeroom for their products. This gets further aggravated when your Click & Collect customers have to pick up their products from the same checkout as your normal shoppers as both services then get affected. This is a common issue and 50% of retailers stated their primary objective was to reduce the number of in store queues their customer experienced.

One solution is to move Click & Collect collection points away from the main checkouts, however, this collection point will need to be staffed at all times. This can be a very inefficient use of your employees’ time during quiet periods. Customers will also still get delayed while your staff look for their products, so queues will build very quickly. 

What are the solutions?

A number of solutions have been suggested to this problem and one that was initially very popular was the idea of separate ‘off-site’ collection points. Collection points are usually located at a petrol stations or convenience stores and customer’s goods are delivered there instead of in store. In theory, this is a great solution and solves the issues mentioned above. In practice however, it has proven unpopular. 

In Barclay’s study of consumer preference, only 2.2% of consumers currently use collection points, compared to 18.5% who use Click & Collect to store. Depending on the location, ‘off-site’ collections are not always more convenient. Retail stores are located on high-streets and customers can pick up their items whilst doing other things, whereas a petrol station could be in a remote location.

Collection points also miss one of the key benefit of using Click & Collect for a retailer. When consumers come to pick up their goods, they often browse and make other impulse purchases. By having an ‘off-site’ collection point, consumers are no longer able to do this. As a result, Click & Collect deliveries to store seem to be the best option, but how can you avoid long queue and wasted staff time? Electronic lockers may be the answer. 

How do lockers work?

Electronic lockers are separate from your checkouts and are usually located at the front of your store. Online purchases are placed inside the lockers and customers are automatically sent a access details for their goods. This process requires minimal input from your staff; lockers can be filled at regular intervals throughout the day but filling doesn’t normally take longer than 30 minutes. Once this has been completed, the collection process is all automatic and your staff can go back to their usual duties.

However, the biggest advantage of Click & Collect lockers is that transactions are much quicker. Waiting times for customers are reduced from an average of 7 minutes to just 7 seconds. This is not just better for your customers, but also better for you. Customers who are able to pick up their goods quickly are more likely to go in store and make other impulse purchases whereas customers who are frustrated with the waiting time, tend to leave immediately after receiving their products.

Click & Collect lockers are an excellent way to benefit from the Click & Collect boom without impacting your existing business. ByBox has its our own Click & Collect locker solution that has been designed to be simple to implement and use, while still giving your customers a positive retail experience.