Getting goods from warehouse to consumer, commonly known as ‘The Last Mile’, has long been a challenge for online retailers. The issue came to a head in 2010 when, due to extreme weather conditions, goods were held up in depots and, in desperation, retailers asked shoppers to come instore to collect their Christmas orders. Many consumers did so and the movement contributed to a fresh awareness of future customer demand for a more structured solution.
Click & Collect provides an additional way in which shoppers can specify and anticipate the receipt of their online order. Over the next four years home deliveries are set to decrease with Click & Collect becoming more prevalent. Figures are expected to increase from 35% to 82% within that period.
Click & Collect has proved successful as it benefits both retailer and consumer. It offers consumers flexibility in picking up their goods. For retailers it reduces their fulfilment overheads by removing the cost of home deliveries. Neither party has the worry of missing deliveries and both retailers and consumers can tailor the service to fit their needs.
Recently, Sports Direct reported that they have seen an increase of online sales by 14.4% hitting the £401 million mark. They claim the rise in sales was partly due to their new Click & Collect service which launched summer 2014. Click & Collect makes up more than 20% of their online UK orders. Great news for Sports Direct, but can other retailers benefit too?
Many retailers offer the service for free which, in turn, drives consumer’s instore, this gives retailers further opportunity to control and manage their customer’s experience. This footfall has resulted in incremental spend as it give retailers the chance to upsell additional products, something which cannot be achieved with a home delivery.
As well as Click & Collect, many retailers are offering the option of Collect+. Collect+ allows consumers to choose where and when they want to collect or return goods, with over 5,800 locations including local convenience stores. 90% of UK residents are within one mile of a Collect+ location and the majority of these are open ‘early till late’, seven days a week which is even more convenient for consumers and couriers.
With the inconvenience of home deliveries for many workers, they often opt to have online orders delivered to their place of work. Many companies are starting to discourage employees from doing so as it causes disruption to their working day having to sign for packages. Therefore, Click & Collect again becomes a more suitable option for those out of the house during working hours.
Today’s consumers want the ease of buying their products with the guarantee their item will be ready for them to collect at their convenience and cost free. Failed delivery attempts is not only a cost to retailers but also frustrating for consumers which inevitably can damage brand experience.