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5 trends disrupting the traditional wholesale distribution model

Multichannel Distribution Specialists

Integrating Wholesale Distribution alongside In-Store, Online and Machine-to-Machine to let today's multichannel businesses increase efficiency and reduce costs while achieving flexible and agile control of the supply chain.

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How can your business avoid Christmas click-and-collect chaos?

2015 will be click-and-collect's biggest Christmas

Over the past 2-3 years we've seen the popularity of click-and-collect grow exponentially, to the point where the UK has become one of the leading pioneers of the ‘order online, collect in store’ model across the world.

The Christmas period in particular seems to generate a surge in click-and-collect orders – 39% used the service last year alone - and this has obvious benefits for multi-channel businesses. For starters, it's cheaper than home delivery, and logistically it's less hassle to co-ordinate.

Secondly, the average click-and-collect customer spends up to 53% more than the value of their original order when they arrive in-store to pick it up, according to store management solution, Collectec. There's a huge opportunity here to drive impulse purchasing, and to increase upsell on complementary items.

However, in-store collection services are not immune to the pressures of multi-channel trading, and Christmas time can push these pressures to breaking point. For example, in businesses utilising multiple channels, bricks-and-mortar has to take on a complex role serving all touch points – online and offline.

So rather than just being a place for generating sales, today's store has to handle complex customer enquiries, place in-store orders for online delivery, serve as a distribution centre for stock not available at the warehouse, and of course become a collection point for online orders.

This is fine in theory, but it relies on the workforce being able to multi-task between hugely varied requirements – usually at a moment's notice. Locating and processing a click-and-collect order is not necessarily a quick task, and can have a knock-on effect on those who've arrived straight at the store to make their purchase.

During the festive period, both store footfall and online activity soars. This creates a situation in which eCommerce is actively driving traffic towards an already saturated bricks-and-mortar environment, which can easily result in a compromised customer experience.

Rather than let the store descend into chaos, companies need to look at better ways to streamline customer requirements. For example, they may want to consider a separate point of sale for click-and-collect customers. Another effective tactic is to have a single checkout but make one member of staff a 'click-and-collect' ambassador, and give them the technology to swiftly handle orders.

Creating a richer, more effective customer experience this Christmas

Point of sale capabilities are incredibly important here, as sales associates need to have detailed access to customer information to handle click-and-collect enquiries efficiently. They must be able to look up an item, locate it, call for it if necessary and process payment – or fill customers in on the order's status if the item hasn't arrived. If the Point of Sale is integrated with customer data, they even have the capacity to recommend further products based on their buying history prior to that particular order.

But the most important factor is that they can deal with every aspect of redeeming a click-and-collect order using a single device, and process it quickly so as not to slow down the queue of shoppers waiting to make purchases the traditional way.

Just one additional point worth noting; click-and-collect is no longer solely the domain of consumer channels. Increasingly, multi-channel companies are implementing click-and-collect strategies within their wholesale strategies as well. Given the need for smooth service during the Christmas holiday trading, many of these same lessons from the store can apply to the B2B environment.

Serving multi-channel customers this Christmas with BlueBridge One

Meeting customer needs however and wherever people shop means having a single version of the truth across all channels. BlueBridge One is a leading implementation partner for NetSuite multi-channel commerce solutions, at both wholesale and retail level.

We join up companies' touchpoints and technologies to create data-driven connected experiences, including streamlining fulfilment processes such as click-and-collect. Find out how we can help you make multi-channel more efficient, and improve the customer experience this Christmas.

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