Click and Collect: Plugging the Technological gaps - part 2

Check out Part 1 of this article

Transforming Online Sales – Converting to Offline sales Click and collect increases offline sales by driving the customer to the store. Having visited the store in person, the customer might be prompted to buy more. Even if the customer does not go through with the purchase online, they tend to visit the store on knowing the stock availability, as some prefer to examine the stock physically before the purchase. This system eventually increases the sales by driving in-store traffic from online sales. More often than not, any retail shop would possibly be crowded with long billing lines during festive reason. This would drive the customer to shop online. However, with rising number of online shoppers and increasingly unpredictable delivery mechanism, the concept of click and collect is lucrative because of the largely hassle free shopping experience this method offers.

Obstacle course

Any mechanism of sales has its own set of obstacles. Given that this mechanism of sales is relatively new when compared to traditional retailer or the new age e-commerce; there would be a possibility of slight goof up in terms of implementation. Unlike a distribution center which has a proper and precise warehouse management center in place, a retail store is a dynamic environment with various practical challenges. There is a high risk of damage to stock knowingly or unknowingly in the form of breakages, mislabelling, misplacing or even theft. An accurate inventory maintenance is required. Regular cycle counts and adjustments are required to maintain the balance between selling directly and selling via other methods. This translates to higher staff count exclusively to maintain proper inventory and to handle click and collect sales. This further adds to the training cost as retailer has to incur in order to ensure that the staff are equipped to handle the challenges this mechanism would throw. Moreover, a dedicated space or desk is required to handle customers coming to collect the ordered items. In addition to all of the above mentioned factors, if the retailer doesn’t already have an online presence, an investment in the form of a good online ordering portal is required.

Game-changing solution

In spite of the hurdles faced, the click and collect method is here to stay because of the various advantages it has to offer collectively. The key to cracking this competitive game is to ensure proper selection and implementation of a unified solution.

  1. Choosing the right software for supply chain management is absolutely vital. Though this might seem the most difficult step at the outset, this is the key to ensuring smooth operations.
  2. Usage of new age technology for storage helps tackle issues like locating the product in the store. An apt example would be the usage of a Radio Data Terminal (RDT) to log the location of each product when the retailer in question has large volume of operation. This would contribute effectively in reduction of wait time when the customer comes to pick up the ordered product.
  3. Regular alerts and notifications are needed to ensure that the customer picks up the ordered goods on time and can help free up space for subsequent orders. This might seem trivial, but keeping in touch with the customer and updating status regularly would ensure a high return rate.