Click & Collect has enjoyed a dramatic rise over the last few years, demonstrated by the well-published figures from John Lewis showing a 60% year-on-year increase in Click & Collect as well as IMRG research from Q3 2013 which found that 20% of online sales for multichannel retailers came via Click & Collect.
The value of the market in the UK alone is predicted to grow to over £4bn in the next four years, up 63% from its current level. Therefore convenient delivery options must be considered the fastest growing proposition in the ecommerce marketplace.
The importance of offering a varied choice of delivery is growing every year, according to Royal Mail’s Delivery Matters study, almost 40% of consumers say they would use e-retailers more if a good range of delivery options was provided, up 7% from 2011, and a third said they would use e-retailers more if they could have their parcels delivered to a store.
Implementing a new customer proposition
In the past introducing convenient delivery options would have involved expensive development, however over the past few years the number of available options, and their ease of implementation, has dramatically increased with choices ranging from store-based parcel networks to parcel terminals to own store networks.
These options can be implemented quickly and seamlessly, greatly improving your customer proposition by doing something as simple as inserting a line of code into the checkout process of your website with the required integration to ensure your carrier is pre-advised of shipments and the specified delivery location.
In addition to offering your customers added convenience, as retailers you need to be conscious that the delivery experience is an extension of your brand. Which is why ensuring that your carrier is working with you in a strategic relationship, enabling you to offer your customers an enjoyable delivery experience is crucial. Features such as tracking information, SMS and email notifications and, in terms of Click & Collect, innovations such as barcode collection which allow customers to pick-up parcels within a matter of seconds, will make a big difference to the overall purchasing experience and imperative in a market of rising customer expectations.
From warehouse - to carrier - to customer
Having a positive delivery experience is essential, but if you cannot get the orders out of the warehouse, all the effort will have gone to waste. The marketplace is rapidly expanding; having grown to around £87bn in 2013 it is predicted to continue to expand to more than £130bn by 2016.
In order to expand with the marketplace, retailers must ensure that internal operations are seamless and integrated with parcel carriers and that systems are flexible enough to handle seasonal increases such as the Christmas peak.
Fundamental to providing efficient order fulfilment is the integration of any sales order processing, ecommerce, order management and warehouse systems eliminating the need for data duplication or manual entry. This is especially relevant with multichannel retailers, whereby minimising the strain on internal operations will maximise efficiency, and therefore allow for you to improve your customers experience.
By Matthew Robertson