Cybertill’s CEO Ian Tomlinson advises the Pro on how to operate a bricks and mortar store alongside an ecommerce website.
When bricks and mortar and a successful website are integrated offering ‘better’, customer service comes as standard. Customers can buy online and collect in-store, redeem gift cards in-store or online, collect loyalty points on purchases made in the shop or online. Essentially if they shop online or in the store they get the same excellent service as the two ‘sales channels’ work as one.
Now the next big thing in retail, for both multiples and indies, is click and collect. Services like click and collect, which offer customers convenience, have really gathered momentum throughout 2014 – in fact the UK is the world’s biggest user of click and collect, with use of the service expected to double by 2018.
For ecommerce websites, offering just one delivery choice nowadays just doesn’t cut it. Some shoppers can’t guarantee they will be home during the week to take a delivery, which is where click and collect comes in. This allows customers to order and pay for their items online, then collect them from a nominated store.
With click and collect, customers can pick up their order at a convenient time for them, perhaps on their lunch hour or at the weekend, at a convenient location. It also means that customers can shop from the comfort of their own home and still get the benefit of actually picking their items up in store without delivery charges.
Click and collect also offers many benefits for sports retailers. It ensures customer satisfaction with your service is high by offering delivery options tailored to their needs and prevents your courier from having to make repeated delivery attempts. What’s more, it provides the opportunity for upselling and driving footfall in store, where independent sports retailers can show off what they do best with personal service and in-depth product knowledge.
However, for retailers wishing to offer services like click and collect, there are challenges to be tackled. As we saw during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales last year, even large retailers struggled to keep up with the demand of online orders and as a result many retailers’ click and collect services suffered. The real issue for retailers is making click and collect work for them and their customers. For many this may mean overhauling outdated systems that don’t talk to each other and using technology to ensure they can offer real time stock levels to help ensure the success of such services.
With real time stock levels, sports retailers can future proof their system to ensure it can keep up at peak trading times such as summer events and the busy Christmas period. It also reassures shoppers that what they are purchasing is definitely in stock. As with every first impression, if a retailer’s click and collect service returns out of stock items or does not function properly then customers may well take their money elsewhere.
So it all comes back to integration. Get your shop and website working as one then your excellent service in-store then becomes excellent online and in-store, and those customer winning services become simple to manage and offer.
“For ecommerce websites, offering just one delivery choice nowadays just doesn’t cut it”