With the government announcing that all non-essential retail stores will be closed during the lockdown, the majority of retailers are limited to making sales through online channels.
While e-commerce will take precedence during the lockdown, there is still a huge opportunity for retailers to continue making sales and building long-lasting relationships by creating a contactless curbside click and collect service – so much so that UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, mentioned it on his briefing to the country.
Qudini’s contactless curbside click and collect check-in service offers an easy, contactless and engaging way for customers to collect online orders from their cars or on foot – and it is used by a number of our clients including Currys PC World, Brown Thomas, Pets at Home and Homebase amongst others.
But creating a curbside click and collect service that is both quick and contactless can be a logistical nightmare, and many are wondering if they will be able to get it up and running in time for it to be worthwhile.
For businesses who are racing against the clock to implement their click and collect initiatives, here’s some worthwhile work arounds to bear in mind:
Problem 1: No payment functionality for click and collect
One of the biggest challenges many retailers are up against is not having a payment method for consumers to buy products online for click and collect pickup through their e-commerce sites. This is particularly the case for luxury retailers who don’t operate e-commerce sites or who don’t stock their entire range of products online.
Solution: Allow customers to pay through virtual baskets or the contact centre
As a temporary solution, a number of retailers we work with are allowing customers to make payments by sending them a special link where they can create a virtual basket and make the payment through a third party. Another popular alternative is having customers pay through the contact centre team.
Customers are then sent a link to Qudini’s click and collect platform which they can use to book a collection time-slot to pick up their online orders.
Problem 2: Customers require service alongside purchase
Another problem many retailers are up against is that they struggle to convert customers unless it is accompanied with high-quality service. This is particularly true with high-priced products where customers require consultation.
Solution: Provide virtual service
Allow customers to book in one-to-one virtual appointments with your team of expert consultants (beauty and style guides or technical experts). During the first lockdown, luxury department store retailer Brown Thomas (owned by Selfridges) found virtual appointments incredibly useful for reaching new customer bases – 60-70% of their virtual appointments where with new customers.
During the lockdown, some smart retailers are allowing their store staff to take virtual calls over the phone or video with consumers to provide service in between delivering contactless click and collect orders.
Problem 3: Getting stock to customers is problematic
One of the biggest challenges retailers were up against during the last lockdown was fulfilling the sudden influx of online orders. There was a huge boost in e-commerce sales and many struggled to access stock stuck in their stores, resulting in incredibly long delivery times.
Solution: Make your stores distribution hubs
Position your stores as temporary distribution hubs by allowing customers to access stock in their local stores via click and collect rather than relying solely online. Also, use effective signage to set up special customer collection points, such as this one from Brown Thomas.