Click-and-collect (also known as BOPIS, or buy online pick up in store), is gaining in popularity rapidly, and for good reason! When done right, there are benefits for shoppers and retailers alike. Shoppers appreciate the cost savings (since in-store pickup is usually free), the convenience and the speed. Retailers can benefit, too: some studies have shown that consumers end up spending as much as 53% more when picking up online purchases in store! What’s more, it’s often more cost effective to fulfill from stores, or even ship to a store, than it is to ship to customers. However, many retailers are still struggling to offer this much-desired service, or having trouble implementing it efficiently with existing infrastructure.
69% of shoppers prefer to pick up online orders in store to avoid shipping fees.
To respond to consumers’ expectations of a seamless, personalized and consistent experience with brands, retailers need to synchronize and align operations between channel to act as one single face to consumers. Although a brand may operate across many channels, the consumer still views them as one, as a single company.
Many of today’s retailers still face obstacles to implementing click-and-collect, which may include:
Many retailers’ existing infrastructure, architecture and applications are dated and disconnected, and the technology simply cannot keep up with new ways of serving customers.
Many of the existing systems that retailers are currently using were initially designed for a single channel. Operating these systems often results in unexpected challenges, including added costs for maintenance, poor integration, risk of errors and reduced productivity.
Manual and Inefficient Processes
Many manual and pen-and-paper methods are still being used in stores, whether to manage customer orders or store receiving and transfers.
Inaccurate Customer Information
Lack of centralized customer information allows for only a partial view of the customer profile, which can lead to poorer customer service.
Incomplete Inventory Visibility
Lack of real-time visibility into inventory and sales results in a lack of inventory control and in uninformed purchase and allocation decisions.
The Three Essential Elements of Click-and-Collect
The success of a retail click-and-collect strategy is dependent on three main technology pillars: e-commerce platform, order management system (OMS) and POS.
The e-commerce platform is the customer-facing component of the omni-channel shopping journey. It allows consumers to engage, research and make purchases on the web, tablets, mobile phones and often, through social media. Plenty of modern e-commerce platforms support the front-end interface for click-and collect, but where retailers often encounter challenges is when they try to merge the online channel with retail systems, which is why centralized, integrated OMS and POS are so important.
Order Management System (OMS)
Today’s order management systems must do more than simply manage orders to online-only sales or store-only sales. Retailers need a central repository for inventory and orders and require an OMS that can leverage fulfillment centers throughout the enterprise. Retailers need OMS to move inventory efficiently and deliver it to the consumer according to their desired method of fulfillment. In order for the e-commerce platform and POS to operate efficiently, the OMS must also empower retailers with the tools needed to provide exceptional customer service and to provide a seamless customer experience across all channels.
Point of Sale
A well-designed, modern in-store POS system is an essential component of an omni-channel retail ecosystem. POS systems allow associates to complete the omni-channel buying cycle by processing in store pickups of products ordered online, or even to place an order that will be fulfilled from another store or warehouse. All of the orders processed at the POS terminal flow into the OMS for a holistic view of the customer’s orders across all channels.
Having the right architecture and technology to support omni-channel processes like click-and-collect is like having a solid foundation on a house: it sets the stage for efficient processes and long-term growth.
Feature Photo Source: Udith Wikramanayaka