M&S trials new click & collect technology

Marks & Spencer (M&S) is trialling new click & collect technology in three stores as part of its digital transformation plan to integrate in-store and online services for customers.

Using technology developed by Doddle, the retailer has launched two separate click & collect trials. At its stores in Hempstead Valley and Camberley & Longbridge, customers can pick up items contactless in-store, with a chatbox informing them of their allocated shelf via text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger. At its Camberley premises, there is an option for a drive-up collection, in which customers provide their car registration when booking a collection slot, with the chatbot confirming the allocated location the customer should drive to. The customer then presses a link on their phone to inform staff once they have arrived.

The initiative aims to make shopping quicker and more convenient for customers during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. M&S noted that the drive-up collection option eliminates two potential queues – to enter the shop and at the click & collect desk.

Demand for the new services, as well as feedback from customers on their experiences, will be “rigorously measured” to see whether it helps M&S manage click & collect more efficiently.

M&S has introduced a number of new technologies in recent months as it looks to adapt its business to the consumer shift to digital during the pandemic. This has included the digitalisation of its Sparks loyalty scheme and the rolling out of mobile pay & go technology to 310 of its stores.

Neil Phillips, head of digital operations at M&S, commented: “Great digital technology in our stores is really important for offering our customers a great experience and for connecting the online and in-store journey. These trials with Doddle offer market leading solutions for click & collect, a proposition which will only grow over the coming years as the trend towards online shopping continues to accelerate. We’ll be listening carefully to our customers’ feedback.”

Last month, M&S announced it is cutting up to 950 roles including in head office and store management as it looks to restructure in light of the pandemic.