With Covid-19 the consumer interest in Click & Collect type of services for grocery stores have gone through the roof.
It would be easy to think that the recent upticks solely are caused by COVID-19 precautions, such as lockdown or social distancing requirements. But numbers show that there was already a major trend, although common barriers such as consumers preferring to go to the actual store rather than download, register and use apps and portals, were lessened when governments started advocating pickup and delivery services across many of their announcements.
Put down the pen and paper
As the current consumer preferences are swiftly moving towards concepts like click and collect, some are better positioned than others. Those who have postponed the digitalisation of their stores until now, have a journey ahead of them, first establishing the basic infrastructure to support click and collect.
With no time to wait, some of the retailers in this category are using old ad-hoc solutions like pen and paper to swiftly meet up consumer demand. Unfortunately, this is all too obvious causing delayed wait times that are measured in days and weeks rather than minutes and hours and gives little ability to scale by using inexperienced labor. And it is important to get it right.
But for many retailers who already have the foundational infrastructure, click & collect functionality could be swiftly activated as an extension of that infrastructure.
One solution that forms the backbone of many retailer’s offerings is to use Electronic Shelf Labels (ESLs) enabled with advanced flash capabilities and product location identification to provide optimised, immediate guidance.
More than technology
However, in order to maximise the output from a retailers click & collect operation, you need to look further than the functionality. It is key to educate your workforce on how to shift from current tasks like replenishment to picking orders in the most effective way.
There are also store routines that need revision, like the frequency in which you restock the shelfs, where you in most cases need to increase it significantly.
Regardless of which route you as a retailer choose, it is fair to say that click & collect is here to stay, also as things move into a new normal.
For those who have not yet begun their digitalisation journey, the road ahead can seem daunting, but as we all know, few beat retailers when it comes to adopting. Start with what you have already, scale as you progress and learn from others along the way.
By now there are so many great examples of click & collect, so you will have no difficulties finding inspiration, no matter where you are starting from. But it is important to start. As barriers are overcome and consumer preference for the concept increases, it could very well be a primary channel between the retailer and the consumer for the long term.
Originally posted on A1 Retail Magazine on June 25th 2021.