Click and Collect gives ailing retailers a leg-up

According to Reuters, last U.S. holiday shopping season showed stores could be offering a significant advantage over e-commerce giants like Amazon. ‘Click and Collect’, or sales where customers order goods online and pick them up at a nearby store, soared 47 percent in November and December compared with a year earlier, outstripping 16.5 percent growth in online sales, as confirmed in research conducted by Adobe Analytics.

Several stores announced big increases in such sales, including Best Buy Co Inc, Target Corp, Walmart Inc and Home Depot Inc. The experience of the 2017 holiday season, where bad weather and a late surge in online orders overwhelmed shipping firms and led to delays, is likely to have contributed to the surge in store pickups last season, retail experts say. Yet even as UPS and FedEx largely avoided a repeat of the problems this time, analysts say store pickups, when handled right, offer enough benefits for consumers and retailers alike to keep gaining importance.

According to retail research and consulting firm GlobalData Retail, store pickups accounted for nearly a third of U.S. online sales in November and December, compared to about 22 percent a year earlier and just over 17 percent during the 2016 holiday season. The method “brings together the benefits of the digital shopping experience…with the instant gratification of same-day store pickup and easy returns,” said Jeff Sylvester a senior analyst at Foresee, a company that studies customer experience.

Shoppers, on their part, avoid shipping costs and the agony of waiting for the delivery and can get help from store staff if any issues come up. Steve Molloy, a web designer who shuttles between Sydney, Los Angeles and San Francisco, said a 3-1/2-week delay in delivery of a pair of Nikes he ordered online during the 2016 holiday season made him switch to in-store pickup. “It feels like you have a little bit of control,” he said.

Retailers save on packaging and delivery costs as they have items on sale in their in-store backrooms rather than a distant warehouse. Foresee’s Sylvester estimates that the Click and Collect process costs retailers about $5.60 in packaging, labor and fuel to deliver goods ordered online. Factoring in other costs, retailers stand to make a 25 percent gross profit on a shipment of $82, the size of an average online order during the 2017 holiday season. The store pickup option raises that margin to at least 33 percent, he said.

More than a third of customers who come to collect their orders end up buying something else, said Tom McGee, chief executive of International Council of Shopping Centers, a global trade association. During the holidays that number increases to 86 percent, he said.

Seems like Click and Collect could also offer some peace of mind to purchasers of AV hardware or software too…

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Martin Dew

editor

11 Comments

  1. By the way, I use the function of ordering on-line and then picking up my orders quite often. Target along with Best Buy are the main retailers I use that technique with. I just love it! I'll order something and as a retiree I usually pick it up the next day when they open the store.

  2. My nearest Best Buy is 30 minutes away, so I don’t use it that often for Best Buy, but I use it frequently at Target, Walmart, Home Depot and Lowe’s. Walmart and Home Depot have the best process as Home Depot has lockers and Walmart has the tower, both which allow you to scan your receipt and immediately get your purchase without having to wait in line at customer service with the people making returns. There have been times at Lowes where it would have been quicker for me to grab it off the shelf and go through the regular checkout line then pick up my order due to the number of people making returns. It’s a great idea and I’m glad more retailers are getting on board with it.

  3. I have used the Best Buy in store pick-up several times to avoid shipping costs and make sure the store has the sale item I want before driving there to pick it up. I did not notice any reserved parking spaces for online in store pickup, but I wasn't really looking for them — I usually go on a weekday morning after rush hour, and there are always parking spots reasonably near the door.

    I still prefer ordering online and having the item shipped to my house, so I tend to use Amazon (I'm a Prime member), but will buy elsewhere for pickup if the price enough less to make the trip worthwhile.

  4. I use Best Buy in-store pick-up when I need a small item, like a flash drive, that won't include free shipping and I know I'm going into Reno in the next 24-48 hours. I'm usually on a tight schedule when making a day trip into the big city (120+ miles), and pick-up is convenient in that I don't have to hunt down the item in the store. Most stores even provide priority parking!

  5. BobO’Link

    I've used Best Buy frequently. They've significantly stepped up their game there and offer, IMHO, the best experience in town. Special parking spots close to the door, pickup area right inside the door, and I've done it enough that they recognize me and have my order at the register as I step up.

    Over the holidays, I visited the Best Buy store I used to work at, and was amazed at how they had changed their pick-up procedure. The store was part of a pilot program that had a larger and more dedicated area for in-store pick-up, located away from customer service. A friend had me pick-up an order for them, and it was faster and easier than it was when I was working there just over a year before (the employee was "new" in that he didn't recognize me, so it was definitely the layout and procedure).

  6. The last time I used Best buy in Store Pick up, Was Christmas Eve 2018. The family wanted to see the Polar Express. I had been to several places and it was out of stock. I was able to find it at the best buy in my area and picked it up within the hour. Prior to that, I had used it to get a Black Friday deal on a 32 inch TV ..I was in and out of the store in 10 minutes in both cases

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