Retailers today are adopting a modern model to meet customer expectations. Click and Collect is the perfect way for retailers to drive in-store foot traffic and connect their offline and online experiences.
Click and Collect allows retailers to blend the online and in-store experience to engage with customers while offering a more convenient way to shop. The option — called Buy Online, Pick Up in Store (BOPIS) in the United States — notably picked up steam during the COVID-19 pandemic, with nearly half of the top 500 retailers offering the model.
However, even after the pandemic concluded, Click and Collect has shown no signs of slowing down. Click and Collect retail sales are projected to jump from $73.16 in 2020 during the pandemic to more than $150 million by 2025.
Instead of being a one-time occurrence, Click and Collect is proving to be a staple of the industry and one that can be used throughout the year, even for holiday gifts and Black Friday.
As retailers increasingly implement Click and Collect into their omnichannel retail strategy, it’s important to understand what is and why customers are now expecting it.
How Does Click and Collect Work?
Shoppers want choice, accessibility and flexibility in how they want their orders fulfilled, and they want to be able to complete their purchases or make returns quickly and efficiently.
Click and Collect is key to delivering convenience by enabling customers to conveniently select which items they want to purchase and which are worth waiting for.
Here’s how the process works:
Customers buy online.
Retailers need to create convenience by enabling customers to complete purchases online or in-app, simultaneously selecting the time and free store pickup location to pick up the purchased products.
With real-time local inventory visibility, the consumer can choose when and where to pick up their products.
The store fulfills the order.
There are two scenarios when ordering through Click and Collect.
If the item is in stock at the customer’s chosen local store, a store associate can use an app to quickly locate, pick and pack the order to hold for the customer. When ready, they can send a notification email to the customer letting them know it’s ready for pickup — saving time searching the aisles while removing barriers to order fulfillment.
On the other hand, if the store does not have the item in stock, the associate must order from a nearby store or warehouse facility. Once it arrives, the customer is notified and it will be available for pickup at their convenience.
The customer picks up the order.
Customers can go inside the store to a designated online pickup area where a store associate will hand over the items. As mentioned above, stores are taking it one step further by facilitating curbside pickup — where customers can receive their orders without leaving their cars and with little more than their photo ID or driver’s license.
Either way, consumers should be easily guided through the steps for picking up their purchased products, whether through a text message, push notification or order confirmation email with a receipt or QR code.
How to Increase Ecommerce Sales
Explore our collection of free resources designed to help you scale smarter and accelerate your online growth from $1 million to $100 million.
Examples of Click and Collect
There are many companies who have successfully implemented Click and Collect, including:
Nordstrom has found success with their Nordstrom Local model, launched in 2017 and specifically tailored to Click and Collect orders. In Q1 of 2022, 39% of total Nordstrom sales were digital, a success that their CEO attributed towards Click and Collect.
According to Erik Nordstrom, Click and Collect comprised 10% of Nordstrom.com demand — a 2% increase from the year prior.
Lululemon is another clothing-based retailer that has found success with Click and Collect, leveraging its capability through its website and mobile app. After selecting your store and product, all you have to do is make the purchase online, and in two hours, the product will be ready for pickup.
Target has embraced Click and Collect and curbside pickup through initiatives like its Drive Up program, created in 2018. The retailer has found extensive success with its focus on Click and Collect, with fulfillment revenue increasing 400% since 2019.
How Click and Collect Can Help Elevate Online Businesses
Online businesses are also realizing the benefits of Click and Collect and taking advantage of implementing this method to succeed in the last mile. Some of the benefits of Click and Collect include:
Reduced shipping costs.
Shipping orders from a retailer’s distribution center to a customer’s front door can be expensive for the retailer, with labor and packaging costs quickly adding up.
Retailers can save on last-mile shipping if customers pick up items from the store while still offering a fast, free shipping option.
Lower cart abandonment rate.
Two of the primary reasons for cart abandonment among online shoppers are expensive shopping costs and long delivery times.
With Click and Collect as an alternative option, companies can help customers bypass frustrating aspects of online shopping and ensure that their customer journey ends with checkout.
If customers need an item immediately, it’s much faster to order an in-stock item online and have it ready for pickup in an hour than it is to wait two days or longer for an Amazon delivery — as long as the pickup occurs on business days and within store hours.
Getting products in the hands of the customer fast is essential, and Click and Collect can offer exactly that.
Click and Collect serves as a kind of insurance that the item customers want is 100% at the store of their choice when it’s ready for pickup.
The last thing a consumer wants is to purchase an item through the app selecting a Click and Collect fulfillment option, only to arrive at the store and find out the product is unavailable or has been substituted for something else.
Increase store traffic.
As online shopping has grown in popularity, many brick-and-mortar stores have struggled to increase or maintain their store traffic. Online shopping is more convenient and often a faster journey.
However, with Click and Collect, retailers can bridge the gap between the online and physical stores to drive shoppers back through the door.
As a natural byproduct, nearly half of shoppers make additional purchases while picking their items up in-store — helping store locations promote store-based best sellers and new arrivals.
Click and Collect Challenges to Know
Once you know what Click and Collect is and how the process works, it’s essential to determine if your store has everything necessary to offer Click and Collect to customers. The good news is it’s quite simple — you need just a few things:
You need a brick-and-mortar location.
Of course, Click and Collect doesn’t work for stores that only have an online presence.
Retailers must have at least one brick-and-mortar location to fulfill online order pickups and act as a hub for customers to pick up their items. The store should be located strategically to provide customers with a convenient place to go while providing an opportunity for increased foot traffic.
Time to fulfillment and in-store storage space.
The more your Click and Collect programs find success, the more orders you will have to manage and the amount of inventory space you will need will increase. If this happens too fast and you’re not prepared, you can very quickly end up in a situation where orders have piled up and you aren’t able to satisfy your customers.
Before using Click and Collect, ensure that you have a dedicated staff and systems to handle the extensive processes that will occur.
Inventory has to be synchronized.
Retailers need to analyze and implement the right technology components to deliver the most up-to-date inventory available to the consumer.
This involves connecting the elements of the retailer’s fulfillment system to create real-time analytics on order statuses, order numbers, product pages, overall cycle time, location handling and customer engagement.
If you have multiple locations, your solution must connect your POS inventory across all areas to provide visibility to customers and ensure same-day pickup options.
Requires an initial investment of money and time.
As with most things in business, Click and Collect requires a substantial investment of time and money on the part of retailers. You will need to have a system in place that can handle a potentially large amount of store orders and a staff to manage it.
Additionally, as online purchases grow more complex, businesses will need payment processes in place that can work with Click and Collect, no matter if the customer is using credit cards or gift cards.
Ultimately, Businesses will need to ensure that the Click and Collect model works for their company and that the initial costs will ultimately be worth it.
The Final Word
While the COVID-19 pandemic may have been the impetus for the massive growth that Click and Collect has seen in the last year, that doesn’t mean it’s a flash-in-the-pan trend.
With nearly 70% of shoppers aware of Click and Collect, the model will likely only grow in popularity.
Shoppers continuously crave convenience, which is why retailers are adopting the Click and Collect model to compete against Amazon and effectively utilize their physical stores as hubs for fulfillment — ultimately placing the product in the hands of the consumer at a much faster rate.