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B&Q omnichannel director: Click-and-collect set for three big innovations

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13th Mar 2015
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With shoppers taking to click-and-collect in their droves, many of the globe’s top ecommerce players are being forced to rethink the multichannel experience they offer customers.

Amazon is already trialling physical stores in the US, and a number of experts expect other etailers to follow. Google, although not necessarily classed as an ecommerce player, recently launched its own physical store in London, and while the initial project may not involve click and collect, the general consensus appears to be that it has the clout to incorporate it in the near future; should the bricks-and-mortar expansion evolve.   

Click and collect’s success is especially significant in the UK, thanks in part to the UK government’s High Street minister, Penny Mordaunt declaring a change in the law that will allow shops to construct click-and-collect facilities on their own premises without need for planning permission.  

Since then, most of the High Street’s major retail chains have honed in on the channel as an important service proposition, and as a result, B&Q’s director of omnichannel, Mike Durbridge believes click-and-collect is a central driver in the quality of experience customers receive from cross-channel retailers.

“If you want to have a really successful click and collect strategy [the experience] is the fundamental…but we’re so focused on the technology, and the systems and the processes that sometimes we forget about the customer.

“I’ve seen retailers who have looked at click-and-collect from purely a commercial perspective, and have said, ‘right, we’re going to do click-and-collect in our stores, and we’re going to put the click-and-collect desk as far away from the entrance as possible so the customer has to walk through every single part of our store…because they’ll pick up lots of products along the way'.

“But the reason customers use click-and-collect is convenience. Making me walk through a department store up two different levels right to the other end…you’re not making it convenient.”      

Speaking at the Retail Business Technology Expo in London, Durbridge added that he expected to see three big innovations shape click-and-collect in the coming three years: the driving down of consumer waiting time from click to collect; the rise of more convenient drivethru click-and-collect options; and the proliferation of new technology that allows retailers to be notified when click-and-collect customers are due in-store.

“Everybody is trying to drive click-and-collect times down…4 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours. Everybody is going to be trying to get that time down. Giving the customer a quicker, faster, guaranteed proposition is key.

“Then, over in the US, one of the things we’re seeing is drivethru click-and-collect. It works over there as there’s a lot of space. It’s not quite as practical [in the UK], but when you see the model in action it is quite compelling. Customers don’t even have to leave their car to get the products they’ve ordered…making the process even more convenient.

“Finally, technology is clearly driving change, especially solutions like beacons and NFC; things that, help retailers know when customers are coming into store and allow retailers to speed up the delivery process and get to know more about the customer involved in the click and collect transaction.”  

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