By Anubha Verma
With online sales gaining a lot of momentum, the world of shopping is transforming at an exceptional pace. According to an ASSOCHAM-Resurgent joint study, online shopping is expected to touch an annualized growth of 115% this year due to increasing data consumption, attractive discounts and offers and improvement in logistics offered by e-commerce platforms. In the previous year, the same study reported that over 108 million consumers shopped online, with mobile phones being their preferred choice of device for e-commerce transactions.
What is click and collect?
The e-commerce sector has thrown open tremendous opportunities for retailers, wholesalers and consumers alike. Apart from offering convenience and flexibility to consumers, this sector has brought down the high volume of returns and exchanges by adopting the click and collect model. Click and collect is a new delivery method that combines online shopping with real-life transactions.
In e-commerce transactions, customers are often forced to wait for long periods to have their products delivered, and in case of their absence when a product is delivered it is often sent back to the warehouse. Additionally, several housing societies and offices practice stringent security rules and have maintained fixed timings for online deliveries. In fact, even to return certain purchases customers have to request for a pick up to be scheduled which can be a time-consuming and cumbersome process altogether. This further increases the waiting period or leads to loss of sales for the e-commerce player in question.
In fact, fulfilment is one of the most important parts of an e-commerce journey, with several players taking significant strides to optimize this segment of the supply chain. A lot of e-commerce retailers are now testing the click and collect model, where customers can make a purchase online and choose to collect their purchase at a pre-chosen location, rather than have it delivered to their home.
Benefits of the model
The click and collect option offers customers full control over the delivery of their products with e-commerce players providing different options for collection fulfilment. This option eliminates unprofessional delivery services and comes with zero or minimal added delivery costs. It also enables the customer to check the quality of the product and return it to the store in case of any problem or if the product does not meet the required standards.
In a report from the packaging company UPS, it was found that 82% of shoppers are more inclined to purchase online if they can return the product to the store. The click and collect option also helps when customers need certain products urgently and does not have the time to scout through markets in search of the same. Overall, the popularity of Click & Collect can be attributed to the easy-return policy, swift services, and convenience and minimal delivery charge.
Furthermore, for retailers using click and collect, instead of spending money on salaries for delivery boys or renting vehicles, they can pay a one-time fee to set up a click and collect system. Besides cutting down on operational costs, retailers are quickly discovering that in-store collection is an opportunity to connect with existing customers and enhance their customer experience further at times leading to repeat sales. The International Council of Shopping Centres found that 61% of shoppers who bought items online and picked them up in-store, made an additional purchase on visiting the store. This number was higher amongst young shoppers, where three out of four millennials made impulsive purchases when visiting the store to collect their pre-ordered items.
While several small and medium e-commerce businesses are yet to adopt omnichannel strategies, they are collaborating with local stores and enabling customers to collect their online orders from these stores. In the coming years, click and collect is likely to evolve and provide a significant edge in a hypercompetitive e-commerce market such as India. The click and collect option will surely bridge the gap between customers and e-commerce retail players while offering security and flexibility.
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