A raft or retailers started announcing their results for Christmas trading last week with more to follow in the coming days.
One of the more eye-catching updates came from Next Clothing, which has had its fair share of troubles over the past 12 months.
It bucked market expectations by announcing some buoyant trading over the festive period fuelled by strong online sales.
More interesting though was the comment by Lord Wolfson that nearly 50% of Next’s online orders were now being collected from stores.
This is a staggering statistic and testament to the role Next played as an early adopter in the whole ‘click & collect’ concept.
It reinforces once again the harmony that a multi-channel approach can bring to your retail business: Digital should not fight with its older retail brother, both can learn to work together.
It is, after all, a win-win-win.
Consumers clearly benefit from not having to be at home waiting for a delivery but can now decide when they are going to receive the item.
Retailers benefit from not just the positive customer experience, but also the increased footfall to their stores, maintaining engagement with their Brand.
It’s also a massive win for couriers – an industry that has struggled for profitability over the last decade: Reducing the percentage of deliveries to the ‘final mile’ provides a huge cost saving for them (whether or not this is passed on to the retailer is, of course, another matter!)
Click and collect is clearly becoming a powerful tool in continuing to provide consumer convenience, but it is not purely for the realm of the national retailers who benefit from a vast store network.
Smaller retailers can get in on the act too.
By partnering with a trusted third party, smaller retailers can piggyback much wider networks, with delivery points across the country.
There are a number of players in the market now that can provide safe and secure delivery locations, from convenience stores to lockers at petrol and railway stations.
A recent study by Hubspot suggests that nearly two thirds of online-shoppers would be encouraged to purchase more by a click and collect option at the checkout, with 93% stating that overall delivery options and charges are a consideration in the final decision to buy.
This service consideration is typically the final step in converting online and for that reason can sometimes go neglected.
Expanding the range of options you offer at the checkout is a powerful weapon to have in your conversion toolkit.
Speak with your courier or get in touch to find out more about how you can harness the power of click and collect in your business. Better ecommerce is never very far away!
Chris Thomas is founder and chief executive of Apex Ecommerce
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