The growing consumer trend of click-and-collect is giving Australian bricks and mortar retailers the advantage over online competition. Click-and-collect is when a customer buys a product online and then picks it up from a physical store location, a method which fuses the benefit of online with the convenience of local retail locations.
Hamish Moline, eBay Australia Senior Director B2C Marketplaces told Channel Advisors Insite Melbourne 2014 conference that click-and-collect now comprises 40% of all e-commerce in the UK, indicating massive growth potential for Australian retailers to benefit from joining this rising trend. Speaking on the popularity of “cross-channel” shopping – when a buyers does product research online before purchasing it in a physical store, Moline says, “That’s where the opportunity is … and it can only be done by local players. That’s the big advantage, and customers are asking for it.”
Myer, is one retailer aware of this shift in consumer behaviour with click-and-collect representing 15% of their online sales and predicted to jump to near 50% in time to mirror overseas trends.
According to Julian Leach, the founder and commercial director of ParcelPoint, this will be the year of “click and collect” for Australia’s $14.9 billion internet shopping market, with a growing number of shoppers buying online and going to stores or after-hours convenience outlets to pick up their goods. “This is going to be the year that online shopping and offline shopping will really start to come together”, says Leach.
So why is click-and-collect so popular?
It satisfies the desire to shop online without the negative of having to wait or pay for delivery. Consumers appreciate the convenience of picking up their on-line purchase from the store as soon as they like. Today’s buyer also appreciates the option to check that a specific product is in stock and reserve it without having to trawl through the stores.
It’s a winning strategy for retailers too as it brings the online customer into your store, with the likelihood they will actually purchase more – improving the average basket price. Offering this service means online buyers may prefer a local retailer over an overseas competitor. With the NAB Online Retail Sales Index showing Australian’s spent $14.9 billion on online shopping last year, a rise of 11.3% from the year before, retailers need to cater to the changing needs of consumers.
Logistically click-and-collect can be very difficult to implement without accurate real time stock control. Having an integrated retail management solution makes all the difference. Your Inventory Management and POS software needs to give you and online buyers real-time visibility over your stock levels so that your website and retail locations synch together perfectly.
Be sure to advertise the click-and-collect service to your customers; don’t wait until they are at the POS to inform them! Ensuring your webstore and retail location has the capability to perform a streamlined service and can meet the consumer’s expectation for collection is imperative. This can only be achieved through structured and efficient processes for both your store and warehouse.
The benefits of setting up this service in your business are obvious; just make sure you invest in the appropriate inventory management and POS system to support you. Attracting buyers into your store and improving customer satisfaction all add up to greater profits. Don’t lose sales to a competitor, encourage consumers to shop locally, even if they purchase online.
Visit www.retailexpress.com.au or call 1300 732 618
Aaron Blackman is the CEO of Retail Express. Follow Aaron on Google+