Accurate Inventory Visibility and Backend Technology Are Key
Q What makes the difference between doing Buy Online, Pickup In Store (also commonly known as click and collect) well or providing a sub-par customer experience?
Topping the list are inventory mistakes and not having a crystal-clear view of your cross-channel inventory. Unlike ship-from store where orders can be re-routed to a different store if inventory isn’t available, inventory mistakes with Buy Online, Pickup In Store (BOPIS) happen right in front of the customer. BOPIS requires absolute inventory accuracy, as well as tools like safety stock to ensure availability, so you don’t disappoint a customer.
Secondly, SLAs are important. If you promise your customer the order will be ready for pickup in two hours, then it better be ready. Set realistic expectations with your customers, as well your store employees. Reinforce with employees that click and collect orders must take priority over ship-from-store and worked in while managing store foot traffic.
It’s also worth mentioning the importance of the in-store experience. Before the customer even hits the store, pickup instructions must be clearly conveyed. Then in-store, there should be a designated area for staging and pickup, and store associates must be trained to make the pickup experience fast and easy. None of this will go smoothly without the right backend processes. An order management system (OMS) that consists of unified store fulfillment capabilities and a store associate user interface that facilitates the pick, staging, and pickup process in store are critical.
Q How can a retailer decide if click and collect is worth the investment?
Obviously cost is an important consideration, but perhaps what’s more important is not disappointing today’s connected customer who takes click and collect for granted. Click and collect satisfies a customer demand for same-day fulfillment and drives incremental sales in-store. In fact, a consumer study conducted by ChargeItSpot found that 75% of click and collect customers purchased at least one additional item while in the store. When done right, the program will be profitable.
Retailers can’t afford to disappoint or lose customers due to longer-than-acceptable delivery times. If your current fulfillment processes and expenditures don’t allow you to compete with Amazon Prime’s free, same-day delivery promise, click and collect may be an excellent option.
Q What should retailers keep in mind about order management when implementing or updating their click and collect capabilities?
As retailers contemplate click and collect or any store fulfillment program, it’s important to understand the complexities involved. If their OMS is outdated, they will need order routing capabilities as well as click and collect technology. So it’s really a matter of looking at it holistically. Is it better to replace and upgrade to a SaaS solution or bolt-on to their existing solution? Both are options to consider.
Q How important is inventory visibility for click and collect services to work properly?
Monumental. Click and collect will only be successful with an accurate view of inventory. Click and collect is an omnichannel capability and there are two primary backend components of omnichannel – distributed order management with intelligent order orchestration and enterprise-wide inventory visibility and availability. Without those, retailers should not attempt click and collect.