Necessity, once again, proves to be the mother of invention. As big retail chains adapt to the omnichannel, they maximize their brick-and-mortar investment as a critical part their omnichannel strategy. A big part of that, of course, is how streamline BOPIS. While some of their solutions include bigger reliance on tech (robots! cute), that isn’t a requisite. The key goal, while not always easy to plan, is to make the process easy for the customer. And all retailers can do that.
All Retailers Can Streamline Click-and-Collect
The benefit of allowing of click-and-collect hasn’t been lost on most retailers. Around this time last year, 62% of surveyed North American retailers said they were doing it. (How to streamline click-and-collect was another story. More than half said their service could be improved) Click-and-collect doesn’t just increase the chances that online customers will make another purchase when they come to pick up their order in your store. More importantly, it’s how retailers win long-term relationships with consumers. When you can sell through any channel, and fulfill through any channel, you’re an omnichannel business: you’re giving customers what they want. We’ve read of examples of how retailers streamline click-and-collect to make it a more efficient and more customer centric experience.
For more than a year, Walmart has slowly implemented its Pickup Towers. Due to its reported popularity, the company will roll it out to many more stores. The Pickup Towers are giant automated kiosks where customers collect their online orders. With their orders already picked, packed and waiting, customers don’t have to linger while staff pick their orders from a storeroom.
That was exactly the problem Zara was having when it decided to streamline click-and-collect with robots. Click-and-collect accounts for one third of Zara’s online orders, which often led to long waits for customers at time of pick-up. Zara apparently intends to use robots to pick orders and stow them in a drop box. As with Walmart, customers receive an alert when the order is ready and collect their purchase by entering or scanning a code at the drop box.
Target’s Drive Up
With Target’s curbside pickup, customers don’t even enter the store. They make a purchase through Target’s app, get an alert within an hour when the order is ready, and drive up. Retail staffers then meet with the order, which took an average of two to three minutes during beta testing. With the testing done, the company plans to roll it out nationally in the US.
Retailers Can Do It
Big retailers put a lot of money, time and resources when they streamline click-and-collect. Not all retailers, of course, can (or need to) invest in robotics and high-end kiosks. But they do need to combine some technology with staff training to sell online, route and pick orders, and alert customers when their orders are ready. With integrated eCommerce, 3PL, and POS Cin7 gives merchants a platform to streamline click-and-collect for a true omnichannel experience.
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