Ricky Wilson, Head of Operations at M&S.com tells me that the vast majority – around 70% – of clothing and homewares ordered on M&S.com are now collected in store. The retailer’s click and collect service has proved a phenomenal success – it’s convenient for M&S shoppers who love going into their local store anyway, and it’s free. Best of all, it’s a sustainable means of fulfilment for M&S, allowing the finance director to sleep at night.
The retailer has worked very hard on the customer service side too, and ecommerce peers could learn a lot from what’s been achieved. Ricky will be speaking at this October’s eDelivery Conference, and will divulge exactly how this click and collect operation has been rolled out across M&S stores, supported by a robust logistics and IT framework, and staff training to ensure shoppers enjoy a classically personal M&S touch at the click and collect counter.
E-fulfilment purists frequently argue that the success of click and collect is merely evidence of business failing to make home delivery work. But it seems click and collect will be the Ace Face of e-delivery for a few more years to come. Only this week Tesco revealed plans to use click and collect to support same day delivery of its online service across 300 stores. Order by 1pm and collect in store from 4pm. It’s great to see this merging of boundaries between retailers’ bricks and mortar stores and their websites, harnessing the potential marketing power of ominchannel. The collection option is helping stores draw customers back in – a juicy traffic driver and means of eking value out of those hefty retail rents.
A need to work harder for success of click and collect
The process is stoking customer loyalty, providing valuable face to face contact, and helping to generate a more personalised shopping experience. But many stores fail in the execution of this, and we’ve covered the issues of lack of customer service previously on eDelivery.net.
Advice from the experts is to advertise your click and collect service prominently on your website checkout page, explain clearly how it works, and – the big one – make sure you have a dedicated and properly manned collection service connected to your store. Neil Ashworth, CEO of Collect Plus told me recently that customers want to spend no more than 30 seconds at a counter processing their collection, which is what his wide network of participating Collect Plus stores aim for. “This is why the IT is so vitally important,” he says. “You’ve got to make it streamlined for the retailer, and totally painless for the customer.”
With continued progress being made around 90 minute or one-hour delivery slots, delivery apps and safe place communications, customers may lean more towards meticulously planned and executed home delivery in the coming years . But while retailers and shoppers are both so enamoured by the attractive cost structure of the click and collect operation, it can enjoy its place in the sun for a good while yet.
Are consumers ready for more powerful packaging?
Last Friday myself and eDelivery.net Sales Manager Amanda McCreddie jumped on a train to Bristol to visit Smurfitt Kappa and immerse ourselves in the world of paper-based packaging. There in the Experience Centre, we were blown away at the level of innovation that’s possible with bespoke printed packaging. Clever ecommerce marketers want the delivery boxes customers receive to be not just safe, practical and eco-friendly, but also bright, funny, glamorous, sexy, serious, luxurious, cheeky – whatever fits with the brand. In other words goodbye plain, brown cardboard box, hello something much more engaging. We’ve teamed with Smurfitt Kappa to carry out a survey into ecommerce packaging, and will produce a White Paper based on the findings aimed at helping ecommerce companies plan their future packaging strategies. You’ll hear more about this soon.
Lots to learn about cross border delivery
We’d like to draw your attention to a big event happening in Luxembourg City next week, that some are calling the Davos of e-delivery. This is Deliver One and I’ll be there reporting back on the latest thinking in cross border delivery and fulfilment. During the conference a new free tool for European SMEs is being launched that’s worth knowing about. The online platform – Deliver in Europe – has been developed to make it easy for e-retailers to find the most suited e-logistics operators for their needs – whether delivery, fulfilment or supply chain technology. Find out more about the conference and the free database here.
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Many thanks for reading!
- Tesco for media use only