Customers and staff are getting very familiar with Click and Collect ecommerce and many businesses may find that the demand could stay longer than expected.
With restrictions associated with the recent Covid-19 pandemic in place around how companies can operate, retail and wholesale businesses now need to get their Click and Collect operations running smoothly.
For some businesses in wholesale and retail, ecommerce was only a small part of their operation and for some, click and collect wasn’t even an option. Businesses that previously relied on close contact with their customers, are now needing to adapt so that they can operate with social distancing in mind.
Retail and wholesale businesses that we work with have reported an increase on average of 300% on online orders, with those not previously offering click and collect noticing how much planning, processing and administration activity is involved in fulfilling those orders.
There isn’t a "one size fits all" solution for order fulfillment, unfortunately; some business products are small making it easy to pack and deliver orders, others have far larger items that are better suited to freight trucks and vans for delivery.
Although there are high quality computer systems available for warehouses and retail, unfortunately many SMEs are not able to take advantage of expensive ERP’s, Warehouse Management Systems (WHS) and/or Inventory Management Software.
With transactions being contactless, many things need to be considered when ordering online so that both the business and the customer are prepared.
Three things to focus on are:
1. Communication - Order Process Page.
- Before visitors start shopping they need to be aware of the purchasing flow; therefore, it is best to have a clear message outlining your order process.
- Every business will be slightly different, though keeping it simple works best. We have seen everything from clear and concise video messages, to complex 12 step processes. Some just have a simple collection times, and others require you to download an app.
- Unfortunately a 12 step process may put people off and apps can create their own issues. However, communication is required right throughout the process no matter which option you choose.
- People placing orders online do not have the benefit of discussing the purchase with a salesperson before the transaction is complete, providing enough information to your online visitors that allow them to make an informed decision is very important. We have all experienced purchasing something online to only receive it and find it isn’t quite what we expected. If a business receives an order and it looks like it is out of the ordinary, have someone double check it with the customer.
- Encourage visitors to use chat bots or call during business hours to talk to the customer. This will help them complete the order, and provides the perfect opportunity to upsell and ensure customer satisfaction too. Check your phone numbers are readily available, and accessible to any potential customers. It may be useful to record an automated message outlining your procedures and what is to be expected once an order is placed.
- Every business is different so establish what works best for you.
2. Managing the Collection Time Electronically
- Having a calendar event or specific notification for the time of pick up is critical. For some businesses just a simple message “we are open for pick up between 10 and 11, call us when you are here” is sufficient, for others just a calendar invite. For most a half hour window of when the order will be ready to pick up works best. Electronic receipts are an easy and efficient way to complete the transaction
- Some customers may be impatient and want to try options like click and collect, others may prefer to go with standard delivery. The key is keeping the customer informed at every step. For some the luxury of having an automated message to staff that a customer has arrived would be ideal and something to plan for.
3. Zero Contact Counter and Exchange Point - Maps and Messages
- Establishing a process for your order pick ups is key to the success of the Click and Collect process.
- Planning and practicing the procedure is crucial in ensuring your operations run smoothly. Making use of digital technology will help boost your efficiency so gauge what is best for your business.
- Clear maps on your website outlining where the pick up will take place, integrated with Google Maps are critical,especially if multiple branches are involved. This will ensure that your customers are able to find your business with ease.
For some the efficiency of Ecommerce click and collect will remain a high priority.
Find out how Koda can support your ecommerce and Click and Collect efficiencies, operating processes and communications. Give us a call or complete our contact form here,
we are happy to help.