The rise of internet shopping was initially seen as a threat to physical stores and shopping centres. However, the developments of e-tailing has actually increased footfall and is motivating consumers to drive to different centres rather than their local.
When click and collect was first introduced it was appreciated as an additional offering, however in the past 2-3 years the phenomenon has took off massively, between 2011 and 2015 the click and collect market grew by 155%. The service is no longer seen as an extra service to be considered in a retailers strategy – consumers now expect this offering as a staple.
Consumers are becoming more demanding and more impatient every day. They don’t want to wait at home for the post man to arrive and furthermore they don’t want to pay the additional postage charge. Click and collect allows consumers to merge the digital and physical shopping experience. Shoppers can browse online in the comfort of their own home, and then travel to a centre at a time of their convenience, knowing the item they want is ready and waiting. More than two-thirds of UK shoppers have now used click and collect, the service is quickly driving retailer’s profits and pulling consumers to Shopping Centres.
Even retailers that don’t have a high-street presence have started merging with delivery companies to offer a click and collect service. SecretSales has recently signed a deal with Hermes to give their consumers more flexible delivery options – this clearly demonstrates how pertinent click and collect is as an offering to consumers.
Click and collect enhances the ‘experiential’ idea that is spreading across the shopping centre industry. The effectiveness of the service gives consumers more time at centres to visit the F&B and leisure offerings which are becoming more and more important within schemes.
The service offers cross-selling opportunities to retailers, New Look reported 25% of click and collect customers make an additional purchase in-store. If the store is laid out strategically with tactical visual merchandising, and the store staff are trained, the shopper is likely to buy more, increasing the average transaction.
Another benefit to retailers is the reduction of returns – returns are a major drain on retailer’s profits. When consumers come to a store and physically see a product, it gives reassurance the product it is correct. A lot of online shoppers find when they receive their purchase it wasn’t as expected or if it’s clothing it may not fit properly. Giving the consumer a chance to see the item before they purchase reduces the risk of returns.
At busy times, especially Christmas, the click and collect service saves those last minute shoppers the stressful run around on Christmas Eve! Those shoppers with busy schedules can order everything online, not worrying about if it will arrive before Christmas day and can relax and enjoy the holiday. Click and collect is not only convenient for shoppers – it’s a real footfall driver, which ultimately drives a scheme’s growth and profit.
Kat Whitehead, Marketing & Operations, Foundation Recruitment