Click and collect (or in-store pickup as it’s more commonly known in the US) has become more and more popular over the last few years, and it’s a key delivery option for many retailers and shoppers.

If presented and executed well, click and collect is an option which allows shoppers greater convenience, and can help to persuade them to make a purchase.

For retailers, click and collect can be cheaper than other delivery options and for customers, click and collect means they don’t have to wait in for a delivery, and can collect at their own convenience.

In some cases, it means customers can receive their items more quickly. It also helps at key sales periods. For example, when retailers can’t guarantee delivery in time for Christmas, in-store pickup can fill the gap.

According to stats from IMRG, the majority of shoppers have used or into to use click and collect for online purchases.

It’s not enough just to offer click and collect though. A good proposition is all about improving customer experience through convenience and usability.

Here are some best practices for retailers…

1) Promote it clearly on the site

The availability of in-store pickup can be a factor when customers decide to buy, so it’s important to promote it clearly around the site.

It should be clear on product and checkout pages, but it also helps to promote it elsewhere if customers are keen to use it.

Click and collect is important for Screwfix, with lots of customers needing items quickly to complete jobs, so the speed of its service is highlighted on the homepage.

2) Offer alternative collection points

In-store collection is not the only option. Offering collection at convenient locations like local shops and service statins can broaden the appeal of the service.

For online only retailers, the use local collection points means they can compete with other sites offering click and collect.

Even for retailers with store networks, the added option of local pickup can help to broaden the appeal of picking up the goods instore.

3) Use in-store stock inventory

Some click and collect services simply deliver to a local store for customers to collect items, while others can use the store’s existing stock to fulfil orders.

The advantage of the latter approach is speed. People can collect their orders more quickly and stores don’t need to deliver items for collection.

4) Allow customers to check in-store stock

This option is great for shoppers who want to find items quickly. It isn’t easy for every retailer, as it requires retailers to have up to the minute information on store inventory.

If it’s possible to offer though, it makes the click and collect offering much more persuasive.

For example, Smyths automatically shows in-store availability on its product pages.

Argos allows customers to search the local area, and can differentiate between stores which offer collection the same day, anytime, and immediately.

5) Make Click and Collect free to use

There are costs associated with click and collect from retailers, but charging can make the proposition less attractive for retailers.

IMRG stats show that customers often choose click and collect as they consider it a cheaper option, but there are benefits for retailers.

While customers are in stores to collect items, many will make other purchases while they’re there. According to GlobalData, 41% of click & collect shoppers go on to purchase additional items.

There are, of course, costs associated with offering in-store pick-up, and this is something retailers have to balance with providing a service that customers want to use.

The majority of retailers do offer free in-store pickup, but there are a few that charge for the service.

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6) Make it easy for mobile users

Click and collect should be usable for mobile shoppers, as it has the added benefit that it’s possible to appeal to people out and about, thanks to fast and immediate collection options.

Smartphone features can also be used to improve the in-store pickup experience for shoppers.

Geolocation data can be used to show customers the nearest pick up points, SMS can be used for conformation and reference numbers, while maps can direct customers to pick up points.

7) Make it easy to find items that can be collected

The ability to collect items in store, or same day availability, can be a deal breaker for some shoppers.

B&Q has added click and collect into the filtering options on site, so shoppers can view only those items which can be collected in store.

8) Easy store selection

On some sites, customers can only select stores for collection during checkout. This is too late in the process, as many shoppers may only find out about availability and the collection date at this point.

This adds more complexity to checkout, and increases the chances that customers will abandon if a preferred collection point or time isn’t available.

A better approach is to deal with this on the product page, or at least on a basket page where customers are deciding on a purchase.

This approach also streamlines the payment process, as shoppers just need to add billing address and card details to complete the purchase.

9) Keep in touch with customers

Text alerts and emails should be used to confirm reservations, to update customers on collection status, and also to convey key information.

Here, Schuh informs me how long my reservation will be kept for me, the store’s opening hours, and the process for collection once I arrive in store.

10) In-store experience is important

Retailers have a chance to impress customers once they arrive in store.

Make it easy for customers to find collection points, deal with orders quickly, and allow customers to check or try items on if they want to. This can help to reduce returns and enables customers to find alternative sizes or items there and then.

If you’d like to know more about how UserZoom can help test, measure and improve your own site’s UX, please get in touch!

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Main image by Henrik Dønnestad