Less than 15 years ago – retail was retail, you opened a shop and people came in (or not sometimes) – they either bought what you had, they ordered or they left. It was really that simple. Somehow you sold or could get what they needed and it worked…
Things have of course moved on quite a lot. Who would have thought that those Nokia 3310 carrying shoppers, who’s main ‘home’ shopping experience was either the Argos book, the Next Directory or the Grattan catalogue would now be shopping on any device, anywhere at any time? Let alone having it delivered to anywhere.
So retailers rushed to get orders delivered to homes, offices and finally stores and this created it’s own issues – because the stores were filling up with ‘dead’ sold stock and meaning they could carry less sellable merchandise and also, ‘when exactly is that customer collecting that item?’.
So there it sits – along with all the other product awaiting collection. Clogging up stockrooms, creating masses of dead space in area’s where space has value and is often at a premium.
Facts are – most retailers did something, some got a working solution but the issues of ‘when’ the customer was collecting were still an issue as are all the other costs associated with what is now nicknamed ‘C&C’.
The chances were that the “C&C” customers would come in at the busiest times of the day, just like everybody else… Further extending the queues and altering the shopping experience for ALL the customers.
A statistic to remember about dissatisfied customers:
56% of people who experience long queues in stores are reluctant to return to the store again. So these people spend their money somewhere else.
Enter Qudini, a global customer experience management solution company who work with some of the best known names on the high st. We looked at this very issue right from the transaction on line and we followed it through to collection and departure. Plotting the customer journey accurately and honestly.
The holes in the process were easy to spot – the delays and bottlenecks easy to pinpoint – However the solutions took a lot more skill and technical expertise than I will ever have to architect.
So let us look at two versions of the same transaction for a well known High St Department Store.
I am on their website – I order a few items to be collected – Items appear in store and when I can be bothered or have time to collect them I wander in to collect them. I can’t get to the store before the weekend, so I pop in to collect them at the busiest time of the week along with everyone else. I queue, I get miserable waiting, everybody else gets miserable waiting for me and so the cycle begins.
I wait whilst my order is collected together and brought down to collections, tapping my fingers on the counter, casually looking for a few Pokemon, moaning about the wait on Twitter and Facebook and dreaming of a cheeky coffee and pastry before the car parking runs out.
The queue is slower, the car parking runs out all together and that in store collection cost me an extra £60 because of the parking ticket. Yet more moaning to my Facebook and Twitter audience about ‘how I am NEVER doing that again’ Moan moan moan…
Next time I will just not bother, I will have it delivered to work, actually based on that experience I might just not bother going back and shop somewhere else.
Customer experience 10% (Maybe 50% if I could get out of the ticket)
I order in almost the exact same way on said retailer’s website, I select ‘click and collect’ and another field appears. The date and time I would like to collect the items. This is great because I can make a conscious mental booking to go in and the order will be ready for me.
I get a message to my phone from the retailer telling me that my order will be ready to collect on the date and time I asked for – excellent.
They followed up with one on the morning of the collection offering me some cheeky discounts on purchases I was making at the time of my collection and a cheeky free danish with any coffee in the cafe. So I paid my hours parking, got there early knowing that my order was being collected at 10.45, went to an instore Kiosk (there were several throughout the store) and ‘checked in’ saying I was in the store. Said retailer sent me a confirmation to my phone with a cool link to see my place in the queue and took advantage of the discount voucher and the cheeky danish, wandered up to the collection desk, no queue at 10.45 feeling very happy with myself as I had picked out another 10 items I did not need (but they were discounted, right?) and having ate a free danish.
Order ready, items in my basket paid for and I was out of the shop in minutes
I did not disrupt the other customers, they did not disrupt me. I had a great experience (no small part played by that fresh, free, cheeky danish). Customer experience 100% perfect – repeat business? I will have some of that.
So – what were the benefits of scenario 2 to the retailer?
Firstly, they knew when exactly I was going to be in the store – knowing this helps with scheduling staff to man the right area’s rather than grouping together discussing last nights X Factor.
Secondly, because said retailer knew precisely when I was going to be in the store – they did not need to have my haul of items stored in the Click and Collect area for 5 days prior, clogging up a small area. It could even have been stored off site and brought in the morning before freeing up the warehouse for sellable stock and not pre-sold.
Thirdly, they could control what I was doing in store. Rather than just waiting around hunting Pokemon I went shopping… Because I went shopping I spent money and I fell for the oldest tricks in the book, have a free danish with a cup of coffee and here’s a percentage discount on any items you pick up during this transaction, so I did and I felt pleased with myself.
Fourthly and most importantly – they gain my repeat business. Invaluable return customers who do not need the millions of pounds of advertising, because they return based on experience, not the multi million pound Christmas advert.
Retailers should do nothing that costs them money and gives them no return – that would be futile and pointless. Anything a retailer implements should either save them time or money or make them money – that makes sense.
The retailer we are talking about here, more than halved the collection waiting times, added 20% to their impulse purchasing value, raised their customer satisfaction by a full 40% and had a 500X return on their investment.
For the uninitiated – that means if a solution cost £20,000 it created £1 Million of additional revenue.
What else can you invest in that gives your business that kind of return?
– Peter Marsh – Director of Enterprise Business at Qudini