Comment: What will make click & collect customers buy more when they visit the store?


Consumers will go Click & Collect crazy this Christmas, according to UK retail analysts. If the latest predictions are to be believed, the value of goods bought online and picked up in-store will reach £3bn.

With store owners keen to keep tills jingling by showcasing the traditional high-street shopping experience of the festive season, the fact that so many consumers will be streaming through their doors to collect products bought online provides the perfect opportunity to increase the value of people’s visits.

So how can retailers and brands create a visual feast to ensure this captive audience is persuaded to buy more while in-store? Firstly, they need to ensure the online to high-street journey is a seamless brand experience. Ultimately, this means guiding the shopper around the store in an efficient and financially effective manner. Like a user-friendly website that is easy to navigate, well-designed signposting directing shoppers to their collection point is essential.

With careful planning this journey can be controlled, guiding the shopper to areas of the store he or she may not have previously considered. This can be tricky; balancing convenience with driving increased dwell time is no easy task. Click & Collect shoppers are usually time poor and may not want an arduous route to purchase. Retailers always need to consider their in-store audience carefully, and that’s especially true during the festive period when footfall peaks.   

Once on the journey, maximising impulse purchase is the name of the game. Effective point of sale media can help achieve this in a variety of ways, from adding focus to key product lines to helping create theatre with dedicated gifting displays. Gondola ends are great vehicles for either task and are easy to adapt quickly. This is essential for ensuring product presentations are kept fresh at all times. In terms of the specific products on display, relevance has to be key. Obsolete lines or price-prohibitive items can be easily ignored, while original and unique products positioned at eye level and supported with simple messaging can make all the difference.

Collection points are another significant consideration for retailers. A sensitively designed counter area needs to dovetail with both the brand and the broader shopper experience; creating a back-of-store afterthought can send out the wrong message. Speed of pick-up is obviously vital, but retailers should leverage the fact that they are in control of a captive audience. Additional messaging and small counter-top units can prompt shoppers into considering extra purchases, or indeed educate them with offers that are only available in-store. We have recently recommended a Click & Collect loyalty scheme to encourage repeat usage; what’s really important here is creating incentivised reasons to return to the store itself. 

Service is the final part of the jigsaw. After all, the key differentiator between online and bricks and mortar retail is the shopping experience itself. Savvy staff should consider reviewing individual orders before they are collected, so they are ready to offer ideas and information on any additional complementary products at the collection point, creating a personalised experience.

To support this, my own personal favourite at this time of year (as a somewhat impatient and time-poor male shopper) has got to be dedicated gift wrapping help. I’d be lost without it - limiting all my gift purchases to stores that offer this invaluable service has now become standard seasonal practice.

Chris Belcher is creative director of The Shop, a St Ives company