What Is Click and Collect?

Abiding safety guidelines during a global health crisis is, of course, an extremely serious, consequential matter. But sometimes, like breaking up with a toxic ex, we just want our happiness without all the extra baggage (unless you’re actually buying a suitcase, then have at it). Giving consumers the choice to buy what they want exactly the way they prefer has become more than just a necessity of the moment, it’s just good business. 

Click and collect is a purchasing method where consumers purchase products online, then pick them up in-store or at a remote distribution center. It combines the convenience of online shopping with the speed of getting items in person.

The customer pays for their purchase online and either schedules a pickup time or gets assigned one. An employee gathers the products and bags them up. The customer picks them up at a designated location — usually either a locker in the store or a customer service desk.

Also known as buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS), click and collect has seen widespread adoption throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. While it was once a “nice to have” service, in 2020, it became an essential part of the shopping experience for many consumers. Some people actively look for stores and brands that facilitate this purchasing method.

Curbside pickup has a lot in common with click and collect, but click and collect typically doesn’t refer to curbside service. Customers still have to get out of their vehicle and enter the store, where they’ll either head to a dedicated pick-up location or the general customer service counter. Buy online, ship to store (BOSS) is similar as well, but click and collect usually refers to same-day pick ups.

Here are some reasons why consumers choose click and collect, as well as the advantages to facilitating this buying method.

Why consumers choose click and collect

It may seem strange to combine in-store pickup and online shopping, but for some consumers, click and collect provides the best of both worlds. Online stores and brick and mortar stores both bring value to the shopping experience. This hybrid approach combines their advantages to give people a different path to purchase — one that some consumers strongly prefer.

It leverages online shopping

Online shopping is obviously far more convenient than in-person shopping. In product categories in which people often prefer to examine the goods in person (like furniture or tools), the digital shelf plays an essential role in research and determining where and how to buy. 

Stores that consumers have purchased from before often keep a customer account that saves their credit card information and other details, so they can complete checkout with a couple of clicks. No waiting in line. No grabbing their wallet or digging through their purse. Click. Buy. Done. The only difference between click and collect and “traditional” online shopping is that the customer has to go pick up the purchase.

And some people actually consider that an advantage.

They don’t need to wait (or pay) for shipping

When you need an item as soon as possible, waiting for shipping is a pain. Most major retailers can ship orders out the door quickly and provide accessible tracking information, but even with giants like Amazon, Walmart, and Target, customers have to wait a couple of days (or more) before their order arrives.

With click and collect, consumers can start using their products the same day they buy. And if the store is nearby or on their way to or from another errand, it’s hardly inconvenient to pick up in person. 

And of course, unless an online store offers free online shipping, the consumer has to pay extra to avoid the trip to the store. Depending on the store and the product, this can easily add $5–$10 to the purchase price.

It removes the challenges of navigating your store

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, consumers have obviously made efforts to avoid crowded indoor spaces as much as possible. Click and collect helps consumers get the things they need with less risk of being exposed to (or spreading) COVID-19. But that’s not the only reason people prefer not to wander the aisles of a store.

In-store shopping takes time. The longer the shopping list and the less familiar someone is with the store layout, the more time they need to invest just to find the items they seek. With click and collect, an employee gathers every item, saving consumers anywhere from a few minutes to well over an hour.

Consumers with mobility issues benefit in particular from services that simplify the shopping experience. Going to a single designated location to get everything they need is far less strenuous than maneuvering through an entire store.

Advantages of offering click and collect

It takes a lot of work to facilitate click and collect. It shifts employees away from other tasks, takes up dedicated space, and requires tech solutions on the back end. (Customers need to schedule pickup, and the store needs a way to inform them when an order is ready.) Many brands and retailers have found that the investment is worth it — because the advantages outweigh the costs.

It competes with free shipping

Free shipping is extremely appealing to consumers. It also puts stores into a challenging position: do you eat the cost and cut into your margins, or increase the price to make up the difference? Neither solution is ideal. But for years, demand for free shipping has driven many stores to feel immense pressure to facilitate it.

Click and collect lets consumers get what they want online without paying extra. So while there’s no shipping involved, it does provide a pathway to some of the same key benefits.

It reduces in-store foot traffic

Managing traffic flow is always important. But during a pandemic, it’s critical. The more people in-store, the harder it is to maintain social distancing guidelines and keep the facility sanitary. Click and collect helps stores continue making sales while reducing the volume of customers in the building. 

Consumers often buy more when they arrive for pickup

Click and collect creates an interesting opportunity for impulse buying. Consumers order everything they want online, and when they arrive to pick it up in-store, 85% of them buy additional products. They’re already at the store, so it’s convenient just to grab something else while they’re there.

It’s basically a chance to upsell your online customers — and you don’t even have to pepper them with marketing materials. The store itself does all the work.

Do your customers know where they can use click and collect?

If you’re a brand that primarily sells through retail partners, you may not have a way to offer click and collect yourself. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help your customers take advantage of this convenient buying method. With the right tools, you can highlight stores that offer click and collect right from your website.

PriceSpider’s Where to Buy Solution empowers customers to select their ideal path to purchase, giving them all the information they need to choose the best store to order your products from, while also enabling them to optimize conversion with shoppable media tools. In addition to letting you highlight price, ratings, and other information, you can display special buying options like click and collect when a retailer offers them, while optimizing marketing campaigns and digital properties.

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Schedule a demo of PriceSpider.

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