The ‘Collect from Store’ delivery option has proven to be a great success for bricks and mortar retailers, including John Lewis, Tesco and many others. Often branded ‘Click & Collect’, customers value its convenience and low cost (or even no cost) for a delivery option. Retailers like it as it drives footfall into stores and is a powerful differentiator against the online only retailers.
For retailers that are considering setting up a Collect from Store operation, the following elements must be in place in order to get off the ground:
Space to receive and store parcels in store
For new operations, parcels will usually be delivered into store by a parcel carrier that will drop them off and then leave as soon as possible. Therefore a designated area should be identified within the store to receive delivery of these types of parcels and that staff are made available to check the parcels, confirm their arrival at the store and then put them away until the customer arrives.
A structured and secure storage area (e.g. room, cupboard or locker) is essential to successfully managing parcels within a store environment, so that they can be easily retrieved when the customer arrives to collect them. And to ensure that parcels are not misplaced or lost in the meantime.
Signage and a designated parcel collection point
A conveniently located and well labelled parcel collection point is crucial during busy times for a retailer – such as the run-up to Christmas or other special events – where the will be numbers of customers waiting to collect their parcels and so does the time they have to wait.
These signs should be at all customer entry points to help the customer get to the right place; a customer does not want to be traipsing around a busy large or multi-level store trying to find the elusive desk from where they can collect their parcels.
A collection point does not have to be a dedicated desk or side room within the store. Even a designated point within the store, where store staff can easily recognise and respond to a customer that wants to collect a parcel can be effective. This avoids unnecessary delay where customer has to queue with other store customers at the payment desk or having to otherwise get staff attention through other means in order to collect their parcel.
A clear customer parcel collection process
The customer parcel collection experience can be a key driver for customer satisfaction … or a source of frustration. Before the customer arrives at the store, they should have received a communication to advise when parcel is ready to collect, as well as information about the store location details, opening hours and other relevant details, such as phone number. Within the store – especially where it is a large store branch – well positioned and clear signage should be present to direct the customer to where they must go to retrieve their parcel. All store assistants should be made familiar with the collect from store parcel process, so they can confidently handle or direct customer queries about the parcel.
A system to track and manage parcels
At minimum, all retailers must have an in-store system to record the movement of a parcel into and out of the store, including the main steps in the process: parcel’s arrival at store and customer collection, as well as any click and collect issues, including: customer refusal, parcel not collected, parcel damaged or missing. In addition, the system should help the store staff to validated the customers identity or whether the customer is permitted to collect the parcel (e.g. where age verification is required) and to capture any information required at collection. Customer services and the online self-service facility should also receive updates of the parcel status and location so that any customer enquiries can be easily resolved.
A process for quickly handling problem parcels
Parcels can go astray or become lost or damaged in store. Or a parcel stays in the store because the customer doesn’t arrive or they refuse the parcel or return it to store. Store operations should be given clear guidance as to what to do when a parcel has gone awry. And there must be a process in place for refunding the customer – whether it is while the customer is at the store or later, online.
These elements are the foundations to a successful Click & Collect offer: a quick turnaround of a parcel collection, without frustration and builds customer confidence in the offer – ensuring future repeat business.