The days of scanning through shelves in a grocery store for your favorite brand of mustard are long gone. This means no more standing in long queues, no more trolley bumping, and no store assistants trailing behind you. The obvious alternative may seem home delivery. But that also means additional shipping costs and a tedious exchange process in case you don’t like what you bought.
This is why the click-and-collect model works—it brings together the ease of online shopping with the security of in-person pick-up. You can place the order in a matter of seconds and collect it from whatever location is convenient to you.
The e-commerce boom is undeniable since Covid, promising to bring in over $843 billion in sales in 2021 alone, and click-and-collect is a popular method of omnichannel fulfillment for this. Consumer preferences are continually evolving, resulting in hybrid models that combine the best of both worlds.
What is Click-and-Collect Model all about?
The Click-and-collect method is also known as BOPIS (Buy Online and Pick up in-store), curbside pick-up, and ROPIS (Reserve online, pick up in-store). It allows customers to place an order online and collect it whenever they please. In 2019 during the holiday season, BOPIS sales were already up by approximately 35%, the pandemic has only accelerated this growth.
This omnichannel fulfillment method makes friends of both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar stores and promises a more convenient shopping experience. The customer need not stand in lines nor wait in anticipation for their order to be delivered to their doorstep. This is a win-win model as it provides businesses to upsell their product and also drive more sales. Personalized service brings ease to both the retailer and the customer.
How does it work?
Ease has a significant role to play in the success of the BOPIS model on the retail front. Customers are king and can choose to pick up the order whenever they please. Click-and-collect model is a pretty straightforward fulfillment mode and looks something like this:
- Item is purchased online: The customer makes a purchase by accessing the website or the mobile app. Before check out, the time and pick-up location must be selected by the customer. Inventory updates inform the customer about the availability of pick-up.
- Order is fulfilled: Two scenarios can take place here. One is when the item is available at the retail store, so a notification is sent to the customer to pick up the order in the form of an email or text. The other is when the said item is unavailable at the store and must first be ordered from another store to the warehouse in question.
- Order is collected: The order can be collected either in-store or at a designated location. Curbside pick-ups are popular too, where the customer drives to the storefront, and the order is handed to them.
Both the Customer and Retailer Win
The click-and-collect order fulfillment method is not just beneficial for the customer but the retailer as well. According to a study by Invesp, nearly half the shoppers make additional purchases when they come to pick up their orders. This fulfillment method reduces the cost of exchange and returns as well, as the customer is likely to check their order before taking it home.
Customers benefit from the ease of this method. There is a greater selection on offer online as compared to physical stores as well, and a transaction can be carried out in no time. For instance, if items are purchased online from a grocery store, they can be collected through a curbside pick-up soon after. Another advantage is the money saved on shipping. According to Statista, 51 percent of the US citizens are unwilling to pay delivery charges.
Logistical Challenges and Solutions
Introducing new omnichannel fulfillment methods comes with its unique challenges, and this is no different. Inefficiency in order packaging can lead to late delivery, and a shortage of in-store inventory can result in unfulfilled orders and disappointed customers. Customers need to be notified in time, and pick-up queues require proper management as well.
Thankfully, most of these can be met with the intelligent use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the click-and-collect retail supply chain. AI can help analyze consumer shopping habits so that the store always has enough stock in place. Understanding seasonal trends and market dynamics can also lead to a more personalized shopping experience.
At the same time, a time-slot management system can get orders ready for the pick-up process by allocating specific times, so there are no more queues.
To say that click-and-collect model is a mere trend might be an understatement. The pandemic has set a new normal in place with online trends overstaying their time and changing consumer habits for good. Omnichannel strategies are yet to be adopted by many small and medium e-commerce businesses, but the conversion is slow and certain. Fulfillment methods like click-and-collect model enable such change by bringing flexibility and security to customers’ shopping experience.
Locus offers scalable last-mile optimization solutions to retail businesses. Get in touch with us for a quick tour of our solutions!
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