Australia’s Sleeping Giants Wake to Click and Collect Opportunities

By Ben Franzi | 01 Oct 2014

Retailers are finally working out that the physical presence provides them with a competitive advantage online and are starting to drive click and collect services, writes Ben Franzi.

“Click and Collect” might simply sound like just more industry terminology to add to the collection, however unlike omnichannel and m-commerce which were widely touted as game changers from the start, this trend is potentially more of a challenge for smaller businesses if the growth rates being reported by some of the UK’s larger retailers are to be believed.

Just as Australian shoppers were slower to move to online shopping when compared with overseas markets, it is also widely recognised that traditional Australian ‘bricks and mortar’ retailers took a number of years to really improve their online offering. It was only last Christmas that traditional retailers truly started advertising their multichannel approach – buy online and in-store.

Retailers are finally working out that the physical presence provides them with a competitive advantage online and are starting to drive click and collect services. We’re now seeing many retailers shouting from their literal rooftops promoting the best of both worlds to their customers.

Ezibuy

Ezibuy advertises its new click and collect partnership with Big W and Woolworths.

Those with a significant retail presence can offer their customers both a seamless online shopping experience with the added convenience of collecting those purchases in-store, at a convenient location and time that suits them.

The big retailers are investing in this option to increase foot traffic, creating a new reason to entice shoppers into their physical stores to strengthen customer relationships. Once in-store, retailers have an opportunity to provide a more personalised service and potentially increase the total amount shoppers spend.

And the benefits to consumers? No delivery fees or the “Sorry we missed you” card waiting under the door at home. Click and collect services are perfect for consumers that need it now.

Want to avoid that moment when you realise that the birthday present you bought for someone special just isn’t going to be dispatched and delivered on time? Buying online and collecting in store provides certainty that the item is there waiting for you.

Naturally, shoppers are always looking for ways to save money. Choosing to click and collect can avoid shipping fees and the potential cost of returns. They also combine the benefits of online shopping and in-store experiences in less time. They know their item is in stock and it allows them to ‘try before they buy’. It’s fair to say that buyers, now more than ever, dictate the terms of engagement – when, where and how they like to purchase, collect or receive their items.

In response, Australian retailers – the sleeping giants – have finally woken up to the possibilities. And they are now in a powerful position using their assets strategically.

For example, Ezibuy has recently announced what they’re calling a click and collect offer with a “free delivery option” that enables you to buy from Ezibuy and pick up your order from Big W and Woolworths stores at a time that suits you.

Retailers are learning from the overseas experience. House of Fraser in the UK recently announced they are expanding their click and collect offer in partnership with coffee chain, Caffé Nero to offer collections in areas where they don’t have a presence. Selfridges offers a drive through collection service. Also in the UK, Halfords, which sells cycling, motoring and camping products introduced a click and collect service a couple of years ago – they also offer their customers a “Click & Collect in 1 hour” service. They claim more than 80 percent of all their online sales are now collected in-store.

And in the US, eBay has introduced their ‘Buy Online and Pick Up In-Store”, which allows eBay sellers with a ‘bricks and mortar’ network the ability to offer free in-store pickup for buyers.

Selfridge drive through

Selfridge’s drive-through click and collect offering.

While some may say this type of service is still in its infancy in Australia, many click and collect services are already well established. Supermarkets are the most advanced, with Coles offering customers same day collection in store or at selected service stations. JB Hi-Fi offers ‘In-store pick up’ from a designated Online Pick Up area

As the click and collect model continues to evolve, consumers increasingly expect to be able to collect their purchases when and where they choose – a natural extension of the demand for more delivery choice at the checkout.

Pureplay online retailers and smaller local businesses face a tough battle if they want to continue to carve out their share of consumer spend against large retailers offering click and collect, new entrants from overseas and evolving ecommerce models.

So how can smaller, local businesses compete against the big guys? Used in conjunction with a variety of delivery choices, the introduction of their own click and collect service can help to attract and retain customers by adding more flexibility and choice.

Those without a store presence should look for alternatives through partnerships to extend their delivery choice options for their customers, for example providing access to parcel lockers.

These emerging trends are transforming retail logistics and Australian retailers will be watching with interest to see what works and what doesn’t.

6 Comments

6 thoughts on “Australia’s Sleeping Giants Wake to Click and Collect Opportunities”

  1. Buckscoop says:

    It’s been good to see how many more Australian retailers have now begun incorporating click and collect services into their online ordering since the start of 2014.

    ParcelPoint is an interesting package delivery and pickup service that offers a new level of convenience to customers that we’d like to see more retailers adopting the services of.

    Seeing large retailers like Target in Oz introducing charges (some time at end of 2013 / beginning of 2014) for customers wishing to use their click and collect option seems entirely counter-intuitive. Especially when considering all the success of click and collect in countries like the UK and US. Interestingly though, right now they’re offering this for free until Christmas.

    Ultimately, any services which enhance the overall quality and benefits of shopping online is something that we’re entirely behind. Click and collect being a good example of this.

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