Prior to the pandemic, most consumers viewed shopping as visiting a store, selecting merchandise and waiting in line at a cash register. Today, 18 months after the pandemic began, the majority of consumers are making purchases via their Smartphones, having the store put their order together, paying via their phone and picking the order up outside the store or at a special “phone order” kiosk.
Click and Collect is Here to Stay
While viewed as a product of the pandemic, this so-called “click and collect” method of shopping shows no signs of losing its popularity among consumers. The amount of merchandise purchased via this method of shopping doubled in 2020, and it is expected to have double-digit growth rates through 2024. In 2021, due partially to the COVID-19 pandemic, click and collect is expected to account for just under 10 percent of all eCommerce sales, around $83.47 billion in sales.
What is Click and Collect?
According to Ombori, a leader in innovative retail technology, “Click and collect allows shoppers to purchase items online and go to a local store to pick up their purchases”. Consumers can access the store’s inventory and make their purchases via an app or at the store’s website. Goods can be collected at the store’s customer service counter, at curbside, at a designated third-party location in spots where the retailer doesn’t have a bricks-and-mortar presence, and even from a special locker inside a store.
Benefits for retailers
The benefits of click and collect for retailers are many. First and foremost, it takes fewer staff to handle these types of orders compared to customers browsing in the store. In addition, interestingly enough, click and collect shopping has increased the rate of impulse purchases added when the customer comes into the store to collect his or her purchases.
Challenges for Retailers with Click and Collect
Obviously, having a good inventory control system is essential when using click and collect. You certainly don’t want to send customers to your store to collect a product that you don’t have in stock. In addition, being able to list the store’s entire inventory and have it easily searchable online can be difficult for some retailers. Having the right technology has never been more important in the retail industry.
Ombori is an innovative technology company that provides a platform for ready-to-use, customizable, modular solutions for interactive in-store screens and mobile devices. In addition to inventory control systems, the Swedish-based company offers queue management systems, interactive in-store displays and appointment booking apps. Ombori is also the creative force behind such revolutionary in-store technology as a talking mirror that asks shoppers to take a selfie with it and an interactive window display that lets passersby shop without even entering the store.