‘Click and Collect’ shopping has been on the rise for quite some time, and as a result, is now a staple for many of the UK’s leading brands’ websites. The concept is simple – you reserve an item online and retrieve it from the store at your convenience – with the customer avoiding lengthy delivery times and hefty postages costs in the process. Fieldworks’ Simon Rowley recently tested this concept with Pets at Home and discovered that some work may be needed to establish its long-term viability
The first half of the process – the automated element - was plain sailing. I located the desired cat igloo bed on the Pets at Home website, and was encouraged to ‘click and collect’ from my nearest store. With stock levels indicating that only one such item was left in stock at my closest outlet, it seemed like a shrewd move to take their advice. A text message came through to my phone confirming my reservation (helpfully side-stepping the tedious need for a print-out), and after a two-hour grace period, I was able to collect the product at any time within the next 24 hours – highly convenient and so far, so good.
The second half of the process – the human element – was a tad disappointing. There was no obvious collection point, and with healthy queues at the checkout points, I was left to track down a shop floor sales assistant. My item was found swiftly, but because the item had been earmarked as a ‘click and collect’ product, it could no longer be scanned through the checkout as normal, and instead needed to be redeemed as a specific ‘click and collect’ order. Unfortunately, the cashier seemed to have little experience executing this type of sale, and after fumbling through several unsuccessful attempts (which involved asking for, and typing out, my full address), the assistance alarm was finally triggered. A colleague dutifully arrived and rectified the problem immediately, and the checkout was pain free from that point onwards.
My overall impression was that ‘click and collect’ is a beneficial concept, but one that is suffering from teething problems. To succeed in the long-term, it’s essential that the human portion of the transaction is as seamless as the online element – and to help with this, additional staff training might well be needed. If retailers are serious about making this an everyday occurrence, rather than a mere novelty, they need to ramp up their operations and devote more time to this budding concept.
VERDICT: Good Shop. The overall experience was positive, but ‘click and collect’ didn’t run as smoothly as one might hope. Hopefully, with time, this will become second nature to retailers and staff will be well versed in dealing with this particular transaction method.
Published July 2011