Click and collect is booming.
- Click-and-collect sales will increase by 60 percent in the U.S. in 2020, reaching nearly $60 billion.
- One in three consumers in the U.S. has reported ordering a product online and picking it up at the store’s physical location.
- 68 percent of online shoppers report checking to see if the product they’re looking for is available at a local brick-and-mortar store, and 53 percent intend to buy online and pick up at the store (BOPUS).
Retailers preparing to offer BOPUS for their customers need to know how much click and collect costs and how the practice will affect the business’s profitability. Here’s a look at the ways retailers can ensure that their click-and-collect operations benefit customers, employees, and the operation’s bottom line.
Efficient Implementation Ensures Low Click-and-Collect Costs
The first consideration for retailers planning to offer their customers a click-and-collect option is to confirm that they meet all the requirements, as marketing service Profitero explains:
- A secure storage space for the orders and the order-processing equipment.
- An integrated inventory management system that tracks products across business units in real-time.
- A notification system so customers can track the status of their orders and receive alerts when orders are ready for pickup.
- A centrally located pickup spot that’s easy for customers to find and access.
Forbes explains the steps retailers need to take to make online ordering and in-store pickup beneficial to customers and to the business’s profitability:
- Customers need to be able to view all inventory items available at the location they’ll pick up from. The inventory system has to support real-time updates and maintain accurate product counts to ensure customers don’t order products that aren’t available.
- The online ordering system has to be responsive in all situations to prevent customers from abandoning their purchases due to system-related lags and delays.
- Customers expect a personalized experience, so the system has to identify returning customers and maintain a history of their purchases and shopping preferences.
Advantages of Cloud-based POS Systems for Click and Collect
One of the amenities that customers have quickly grown accustomed to is having a seamless experience when moving between online and in-person shopping. Cloud-based POS systems offer many features that smooth a retailer’s implementation of click and collect:
- A branded website with click-and-collect capabilities built-in
- An abundance of integrated payment options
- Order-management features
- Up-to-date notifications to customers and staff
- Secure storage of customers’ payment information
The retailer’s website is ready to publish or migrate almost instantly, which saves the store a considerable amount of time and effort. The POS system is flexible enough to accommodate the short order turnaround that restaurants require while also supporting longer pickup windows to allow retailers and customers more flexibility in scheduling and adjusting their pickup time.
How Click and Collect Can Boost Your Business’s Profile
Retailers who have grown accustomed to selling only from their physical premises may balk at the added complexity of managing a second sales channel when they open for business online. However, by providing their customers with more shopping options, the stores are able to reach a wider audience while simultaneously making life easier for their current clientele.
By adding click-and-collect features via their POS system, retailers are able to combine and streamline sales and inventory tracking. From a single, clear interface, stores are able to get a snapshot view of the entire operation:
- Track the number of times a product is viewed online.
- Manage online and in-store orders.
- Confirm payment status.
- Monitor deliveries.
- Keep tabs on the status of customers’ pickup orders.
Cloud-based POS systems make it easy to publish a branded website and create and distribute a custom, branded application for the business. Store employees are able to move seamlessly between filling online orders and serving customers on the shop floor by using an application loaded on a mobile phone or tablet. Sales and inventory figures are updated in real-time to account for both online and in-person transactions.
Click and Collect Helps Retailers Stay in Touch with Customers
The personal touch is a primary reason why customers choose to shop at their favorite retail stores. Businesses may fear losing the ability to make personal connections with their clients as they shift to more online sales, product deliveries, and click-and-collect fulfillment. In fact, in-store pickup provides retailers with a new opportunity to communicate with their customers.
Among the important information that stores can share with customers at pickup time are updates about the products they’ve purchased, new hours of operation, and special offers they qualify for. It’s also a good time to offer return customers loyalty discounts or to sign up new customers for the store’s loyalty program.
To ensure the click-and-collect process is as efficient as possible, include these three components in the business’s planning process:
- Make your store’s online presence inviting for customers by adopting a look and feel that mirrors the ambience of the in-store shopping experience. The retailer’s site and custom app must be well organized and easy for customers to navigate.
- Choose a POS system that can be used to update the store’s site and application to add new items, remove old ones, and check inventory levels in real-time.
- Apply the features of the click-and-collect operation to improve the store’s on-premises operations, such as automating and integrating order tracking and confirming deliveries.
The silver lining to the cloud that has engulfed the retail trade in 2020 is the opportunity the upheaval has created for stores to reimagine their operations, find new ways to connect with customers, and identify areas of greatest potential revenue growth. Meeting the increasing expectations of customers for more shopping and purchase options is a huge first step for retailers devising their strategy for success in the new reality, and the POS experts at talech can help businesses meet those needs.
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