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5 Click-and-Collect Pitfalls to Avoid (and Some Successes, too)


Click-and-collect (otherwise known as Buy Online and Pick Up In Store or “BOPIS”) has been steadily growing in popularity over the last few years. Research by Order Dynamics and Bell Howell found that during the 2018 holiday season, click-and-collect grew by more than 46%.

The numbers tell us that BOPIS isn’t going away anytime soon, and offering it is a must for any retailer who wants to stay competitive.

However, implementing the service in a hasty or haphazard way will do more harm than good. BOPIS programs have several moving parts and failing to stay on top of everything can lead to poor customer experiences.

In this post, you’ll learn the five common pitfalls that can derail your click-and-collect efforts. Go through them and see to it that your business avoids them all costs.


1. Setting Up BOPIS Without BOSS as Back Up

In a perfect world, when someone orders online and decides to pick it up at a particular store branch, that location will have the product readily available in stock so that the shopper can get their order quickly and easily.

Unfortunately, the real world is a little more complicated. Despite your best efforts to forecast demand, your stores may not always have the right products readily available for pickup.

This is where buy online, ship-to-store (BOSS) comes in. BOSS is a process that can serve as a backup for when BOPIS orders are out of stock.

Here’s how it works: when a customer orders an item that’s unavailable at their preferred location, your BOSS system will ship the item to that branch from your warehouse or another store in the area.

BOSS minimizes lost sales due to stockouts and ensures that customers are still able to purchase and pick up the products they need.

As consumers’ demand around order fulfillment continues to increase, you cannot afford to be plagued by out of stock of woes. CB4’s research found that when shoppers can’t find the item they want, 49% will head to a competitor.

That’s not an insignificant chunk of your customer base. That’s why, when you implement click-and-collect, it’s important to maximize your inventory levels by integrating BOSS into your fulfillment process.


2. Foregoing BOPIS for Delivery

What’s the preferred order fulfillment method of today’s shoppers? That depends on who you ask. While many analysts agree that click-and-collect is gaining steam, other studies—including research conducted by CommonSense Robotics—indicate that same-day delivery offerings in the grocery space are much more popular. Findings show that “consumers prefer same-day delivery over in-store pickup by a 4:1 margin.”

So, which one is it: should you implement BOPIS or focus on same-day delivery? The answer isn’t quite clear-cut, particularly when it comes to delivery.

BOPIS is becoming table stakes in retail, so it should ideally be implemented across all your locations.

Same-day delivery, on the other hand, should be rolled out with more caution. You first need to understand the markets in which you operate. Pay attention to where online orders are taking place and study the shipping preferences of shoppers in different locations. For example, if your customers in Boston are opting for in-store pickup or faster shipping times, then that could indicate a demand for same-day delivery in that area.

You should also take stock of your supply chain and fulfillment technologies. If you’re considering rolling out same-day delivery in New York, for instance, you need to ensure that your stores and warehouses have the capabilities to support the initiative.

The bottom line: BOPIS and same-day delivery are both popular services for consumers, so it’s not a question of picking one over the other. Depending on your locations, it may behoove you to offer both.


3. Collection Points Aren’t Clearly Defined

You’ve worked hard to get shoppers to buy online—the last thing you want is to drop the ball when they make it in-store. According to Business Insider, over a third of UK customers who opt for click-and-collect encounter problems in the store, with 32% experiencing long lines at the pick-up area.

A poor in-store experience can discourage shoppers from using your services and diminish customer loyalty. It can also inspire them to seek out your competitors.

Prevent this by ensuring that your BOPIS collection points are clearly defined and organized. For starters, separate your pick-up zones from your checkout counter and customer service area. Lumping your collection points with other store departments can lead to longer wait times and confusion, particularly as your staff tries to address the needs of customers.

Also, be sure to have clear signage telling people where to go. Most customers who opt for click-and-collect want to be in and out of the store as quickly as possible and having the right signs will help them do that.

Walmart Click-and-Collect Pickup Zone

Walmart, for example, dedicates a sizable area in its stores for in-store pickup. At this particular branch, the collection point is clearly marked and there are big, bold signs telling people where to go.


4. Promotional Efforts Fall Short

Don’t take the popularity of click-and-collect for granted. You may have customers who aren’t aware that you offer the service, and you’re leaving money on the table by not marketing to them.

If you’re not actively promoting your BOPIS services, take the following steps to spread the word:

Create a promotional email— Email continues to be one of the most efficient ways to communicate with your customers at scale. Use it tell shoppers that they can pick up their online purchases in-store.

Here’s a great example from Target. Over the holiday season, the retailer actively promoted its in-store pickup and drive up services to entice last-minute shoppers to come in.

target click-and-collect email
Target’s Email Promotes Click-and-Collect

Website promotions— Tell your online customers all about your BOPIS offerings by adding promotional banners or bars on your website. Kohl’s, for instance, promotes its in-store pickup services at the top part of its website. Clicking the link will take shoppers to a page containing all the items available at the nearest Kohl’s location.

kohl's email click-and-collect
Kohl’s Website Promotes Click-and-Collect

Physical signage— Already have your online bases covered? See to it that you’re actively promoting your click-and-collect offerings at your location. Create attention-grabbing in-store signage informing your customers that they can collect their web orders in your store.

kohl's click-and-collect sign
Kohl’s In-Store Click-and-Collect Signage

Kohl’s, once again, does this well. Their branch in Cerritos, CA has signage all around the store promoting retailer’s BOPIS services.

Kohl's Click-and-Collect Lot Signage
Kohl’s Click-and-Collect Parking Lot Signage

Kohl’s even has specially marked parking spaces for click-and-collect customers, which serve a dual purpose: they not only make the BOPIS experience more convenient, but they also help promote the service to shoppers who may not be aware of it.


5. Not Roping in Store Teams

While your inventory and supply chain technologies play a critical part in the success of your click-and-collect strategy, don’t forget that the role of your in-store team is just as significant. Failing to train your employees on BOPIS can result in order errors, long wait times, and a host of headaches for both your employees and customers.

For that reason, it’s important to invest in additional employee training and management for your click-and-collect services. Be sure to cover:

The importance of click-and-collect— Some employees may not be too enthusiastic about your BOPIS efforts because they feel that the service adds another layer of complexity to their job. Help them see the big picture benefits of BOPIS (e.g., happier customers, higher revenues, competitive advantage, etc.) and reward them for their extra efforts.

Step-by-step procedures— Outline how the BOPIS process works from the retailer’s side. What happens when someone places an order online? Who’s in charge of preparing the order for pick up? Document the procedure and train your employees to carry it out efficiently.

Dealing with customers—The customer-facing components of click-and-collect are critical. See to it that your employees are courteous and efficient. Also, make sure they know the types of information to ask for when a shopper picks up their purchases (e.g., order number, ID, etc.)

Finally, emphasize to your team that speed is key. According to the 2017 Click and Collect Retail Consumer Preference Study by Bell and Howell, 56% of consumers feel that “a quick in-and-out experience” is the most important aspect of BOPIS. To that end, you should keep your processes as streamlined and easy to follow as possible.


The Path to Click-and-Collect Success

Click-and-collect is here to stay, but it’s still evolving. The desire of consumers for instant gratification continues to increase, so we can expect supply chain technologies to be smarter, faster, and more efficient.

If you’re looking to keep up with your customers’ every in all store in your chain, get in touch with CB4. Our demanding forecasting tool helps ensure that the products your customers want are readily available whenever—wherever—they need them


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