So you have seen the perfect item online, you’ve placed your order and wait patiently for it to arrive. Only to find that the one moment you went out for milk, the courier arrived and you missed your delivery and now need to rearrange another delivery or cancel your order…arrrgh.  We’ve all been there, and in many cases it can be a deciding factor in making an online purchase or buying elsewhere.

Well there is a solution for online retailers and those frustrated customers in ‘Click and Collect’ or ‘Reserve and Collect’. (Essentially click and collect is where the consumer pays for the product online then arranges to collect it and reserve and collect is only reserving it online and then paying when they collect it). Click and collect is helping UK retailers of all sizes to increase their delivery options to suit shoppers ever expanding needs. As shoppers continue to place importance on convenience, click and collect allows customers to get what they want, where they want it.

According to Verdict Retail ‘click and collect’ purchases are set to grow by more than two thirds, and will be worth over £4bn by 2018. So is click and collect just for the large multiples? Of course not, indies and smaller multiples should also be leading the way.
Online and independent retailers can now be as flexible as larger retailers in offering increased convenience to customers, allowing them to browse and order goods online or via a mobile device, and collect at a store location of their choice or even a PO Box address.

Not only does click and collect stop the need for customers to wait in for deliveries, it also helps customers feel more assured in their purchase and increase brand trust as they can visit a physical location with real people. So what are the drivers behind this growth in Click and Collect? It is fuelled by the growth of ecommerce and m-commerce. The UK’s consumers are now shopping at their own convenience at a time and place to suit them. Retailers need to adapt to this social shift in shopping patterns to accommodate their customers’ needs. We have started to see this with the convergence of the high street between online retailers and high street stores, and it only looks set to continue quickly becoming a standard feature when shopping online, and an option all retailers must now offer in order to truly succeed.

For retailers to offer such a facility they need live stock levels and sales figures across their business. No matter if it is a single store and a warehouse or a hundred plus stores and multiple warehouses. So how can online and independent retailers offer click and collect?

A simple way to do this is via a cloud based EPoS system. This is because with cloud based systems there is just one product and customer database, hosted online, which all locations and sales channels share. So this means a retailer has visibility of all sales as they happen and with it real time stock levels. So you don’t get the situation where customers reserve a product online only to get to the store to be told there is no stock of that item, now that would be frustrating.

The future of retail is about flexibility and offering customers: choice, convenience and excellent service. Click and collect does all three of these.


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