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Food, Beverage and Grocery Delivery

Click & Collect: Buy Online, Pick-Up in Store

This is the ultimate guide to click & collect. The order and delivery model where your customers buy online, pick up in-store.


This is the ultimate guide to click & collect. The order and delivery model where your customers buy online, pick up in-store.

So if you want to add click & collect to your regular offer, and:

Generate more sales from orders.

Handle deliveries with less hassle.

Drive a superb customer experience.

Then, you’ll enjoy the actionable tips in this new guide.

Let's dive in.

Click & Collect

Click and collect substitutes home delivery for in-person collection and is very popular with shoppers.

In fact, Insider Intelligence estimates that US click-and-collect sales had more than doubled in 2020.

And that this type of delivery will sustain a double-digit growth rate through to 2024.

But what is click and collect?

In this part of the guide, we’re going to cover the basics of click and collect.

(Including what it is, how it works, and why it can work for you.)

You’ll also see why it’s popular and the forecasts that prove it.

What Is Click & Collect?

Buy online pick up in-store (BOPIS), or click and collect, is the process of ordering online and picking it up later in person at a physical location. This can be a store or a dedicated facility, where customers get orders without handling money or coming into contact with other people.

That’s why it’s often regarded as a type of contactless delivery.

How Does Click & Collect Work?

It’s quite simple:

You go online and proceed to checkout once you’ve selected an item for purchase at a web store.

Then, you select the click & collect method of delivery and pay for it as you normally would.

When the order is ready, you receive a confirmation email that you can get the purchase at the pick-up location.

Because the package is ready, it’s up to you to decide when you’ll pick it up.

That way, you:

  • Don’t wait in ques to buy an item
  • Avoid the crowds at the store
  • Don’t wait days to receive a purchase

Technically, you pay online and collect in-store.

BOPIS combines the convenience of online shopping with the immediacy of same-day delivery. And without coming into contact with people or spending time at the store.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, this was particularly useful. Consumers across the globe turned to click and collect as a matter of safety and necessity.

In fact, Adobe researchers also found that in 2020, 23% of online shoppers preferred click and collect to home delivery.

Customers love the immediacy and flexibility that the click and collect provides. And this has spread to all kinds of businesses.

For instance, at supermarkets, collect from store services allow consumers to avoid the crowds and long queues by scheduling a pick-up date and time.

This level of convenience is by far the biggest reason for the rise in the popularity of click and collect.

And this trend seems to continue beyond the coronavirus…

Click & Collect Retail Forecasts

The number of click-and-collect shoppers will grow from 143.8 million people in 2020 to over 160 million in 2024.

This increase will be followed by three key factors:

  • An improved click and collect offer among mid-sized retailers
  • An expanded selection of available c & c items to digital buyers
  • The growing popularity of online grocery shopping

As a result, sales generated through click-and-collect will reach $140.96 billion by 2024.

The share of click and collect will also jump from 5.8% to 9.1% of all e-commerce deliveries.

So with one in ten shoppers choosing to buy online and pick up in-store, click and collect is a very good business opportunity.

What Are the Benefits of Click & Collect?

Click and collect benefits consumers and the business that offers it.

Buyers frequently choose this option because it’s:

  • Faster
  • Saves money on shipping costs
  • More reliability

To understand these benefits better, let’s take a closer look at each one.

(From the perspective of your company and your customers.)

#1 Speed

According to a survey, 37% of shoppers choose click and collect services because they don’t want to wait for orders to make their way to them via couriers.

They want to pick up their order at their convenience. Unless a company offers fast delivery options, they want to click and collect it the same day.

So giving customers the choice to buy online, pick up in-store is a good option when you can’t support next-day, overnight, or same-day delivery.

You’ll still need to optimize click and collect services to improve delivery speed. But it’s easier and faster to do than organize fast fulfillment.

#2 Saving on Shipping costs

Another 45% of shoppers choose Click & Collect to avoid home delivery charges.

It provides them the instant satisfaction of online shopping without having to pay extra for delivery.

From a retailer’s perspective, click & collect is more cost-effective than home delivery.

Since customers pick up orders themselves, the costs associated with reverse logistics are also lower.

With fewer stops per route, drivers have to make fewer drop-offs. You’ll also need fewer drivers in the fleet.

That saves you a lot of money on payroll and overhead expenses, but also on fuel, vehicle maintenance, and other transportation costs.

Many shoppers also purchase additional items when choosing BOPIS options.

In fact, research shows that nearly 50% of customers who visit a store to pick up a Click & Collect purchase will make an unplanned purchase.

And that means upselling or cross-selling through delivery isn’t a myth anymore. It’s a reality in which you can generate more revenue.

#3 More reliability

Click & collect provides customers with more peace of mind.

Since you don’t deliver orders directly to customers, there are fewer stages in the supply chain. So there’s less of a chance that items can get damaged or orders misplaced.

Drivers also make fewer stops to drop-off orders to pick-up locations, which has a positive effect on your order accuracy.

And they can do it in bulk. This means you have a consistently reliable delivery system in place even when demand exceeds your capacity.

Click & Collect: What You Need to Consider?

Sadly, nearly 20% of consumers experience problems when ordering online and picking up in-store.

And there are more than a few things to consider.

So in this part, we’re going to show what to focus on to deliver on your promise:

How to create the best click & collect experience for your customers.

What Type of Click & Collect Service Will You Offer?

When deciding to launch click and collect, you’ll have to determine how you’re going to do it.

That means deciding what type of service you’ll provide. And how you’ll handle orders.

To help you, here are the two most common types of click and collect you should consider:

Buy online, pick-up in store

Pay online, pick up in-store guarantees that you get paid for items available for click and collect.

This prevents customers from changing their minds or neglecting to turn up to collect goods.

That protects your wallet if you have to ship an item to a particular pick-up point. Or if you have to withdraw a product from the shelf, which you could have sold to another customer.

Reserve online, pay and collect in store

Reserve online pay and collect in-store grants an even quicker online checkout process as the customer doesn’t need to enter any payment details before checking out.

There is also a pretty great chance they will add to their order in-store, as they won’t need to make another transaction once they collect their goods.

Where Will You Fulfill Orders?

Another important question is where you’ll fulfill click and collect orders.

There are a few different options to choose from:

Picking up from inventory

Letting customers pick up orders from inventory means handling click & collect at your warehouse, supply depot, or from store stock.

This is the most cost-effective method because it doesn’t require transporting goods from one location to another.

Instead, the staff at the store or warehouse has to find the requested item. Package the order for delivery. And notify the customer when it’s ready, so they can come to pick it up.

It’s also the fastest way for online shoppers to collect from the store, as it’s the easiest way to source goods from inventory.

On the other hand, adopting this method means you’ll need a wide range of goods available at all locations. Which means a lot more idle supplies.

It also means that you favor customers who are closer to collection points. Which may not be very convenient for everyone.

Transferring from store to store

Transferring goods from store to store is a great way to remove the problems with the previous collection method.

Instead of having your entire inventory at all collection points, you can move them according to demand.

So if a customer wants to pick up an order from a location closest to them, it’s your job to transport it there.

In turn, this is what makes it convenient for customers to use your click & collect services in the first place.

The downside is that this pick-up method involves shipping costs to move goods between locations.

You can reduce these expenses by moving goods in bulk or on specific days. But this hurts the speed at which customers can pick up their orders.

Shipping from central warehouse

If you already offer other delivery services, then this one will be familiar to you:

With this method, you send click-and-collect orders to specific physical locations where customers can pick them up.

It works similar to last-mile delivery: you have to transport goods to multiple destinations.

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But in some ways, it’s better than typical fulfillment because drivers have far fewer stops on their routes. And they can move orders in bulk, en route to a customer, or on pre-planned dates.

This keeps costs low and makes it convenient for customers to use click & collect.

But for it to work (along with other delivery services), you’ll need to adopt an omnichannel approach to fulfillment.

Having a system in place that can handle the entire delivery spectrum is the only way to effectively orchestrate fulfillment for each option, regardless of the customer’s choice.

(But more on that later.)

How Will You Handle Click and Collect Returns?

Returns add another layer of complexity to click and collect.

The problem is that your customers don’t think of your website, different stores, or services as separate entities. They see it all as an extension of your brand.

So you’ll need to figure out how customers can return items following pick up. And define exactly how you’ll manage the operations that let you handle them.

There are a few ways you can go about returns. You can:

  1. Let customers bring orders back to the place where they picked them up.
  2. Let customers bring the order back to any collection point that you own.
  3. Let customers send returns back using a post or courier service.
  4. Pick up the returns at the customer’s home and bring them back yourself.

Convenience is crucial here, as well. So if you already handle reverse logistics and e-commerce returns, then you can pick up return goods instead of your customers.

However, this means your company will have to cover the cost of returns and transportation.

If you don’t want to drive up operational expenditure, options two and three are your safest bet because:

You don’t restrict customers to where they can return a purchase from your store. And they can return items when it suits them and with no extra cost to your business.

Keep in mind that you’ll still have to make a transparent return policy with a clear deadline date when they can return goods they’ve collected from you.

Setting Up Click & Collect Operations

Now it’s time to set up your click and collect operations.

In this part of the guide, you’ll see how to organize:

  • Scheduling and checkout
  • Order preps and processing
  • Customer pickups
  • PODs, feedback, and upsell additional goods

Let’s get started.

Scheduling and Checkout

For click and collect to work, you’ll need to determine how you’re going to schedule pickups.

But first, you have to add click & collect to the checkout page on your website. Here, customers should be able to choose where they want to pick up their orders.

To do this, you’ll have to connect your e-commerce platform to your inventory management system.

This gives customers a transparent overview of the nearest store, collection point, or warehouse. But it also helps you to determine whether specific locations have the desired goods in stock.

Another level of convenience you can provide is to allow customers to choose when they want to collect purchases.

This is a more complex matter. But it’s important for click and collect as it reduces queues at pick up and streamlines collection. Which means less contact among customers. (This was especially important with the state of delivery during the coronavirus.)

Here, you can let customers choose the date and time of pick-up based on a list of available pick-up slots.

Again, you’ll need to integrate orders with the inventory. But this time with scheduling, as well.

To do this, you’ll need delivery management software like eLogii.

This tool gives you the ability to plan pick-ups based on received orders, inventory, and scheduled pick-ups. (Just like you would any other type of delivery.)

Thanks to routing API integration, the software can connect to any other app that you use. (Including your web store and inventory management system.)

The software automatically syncs all of the required information between systems. It then analyses the available time slots and inventory and updates the information to your online store.

So as customers move to checkout, they can see an accurate list of available pick-up times and locations. While you receive a schedule that enables your employees to prepare and process orders before their arrival.

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Order Prep and Processing

Staff at the inventory location must be informed of the upcoming order and its processing details so that they can prepare it for pickup.

They can use a mobile app to manage the order prep and pickup staging.

The prep team must receive clear and automated instruction so that staff can proceed with the order only when all the necessary actions have been taken.

Coordinating Customer Pickups

There shouldn’t be any confusion when it comes to customer pickups.

Customers need to know precisely where to go to collect their orders.

Automating this process guarantees a seamless in-store experience.

Like any other delivery flow, you need technology to measure customer responsiveness, order accuracy, and on-time performance.

Analytical tools are crucial for ensuring the business management can learn and optimize the automation flows and operational performance.

POD, Feedback, and Upselling

As with any other fulfillment process, teams have to collect proof of successful deliveries.

The same is true for click and collect:

Customers have to confirm that they’ve picked up an item from a collection point.

In the spirit of contactless fulfillment, you can use software to help you here, as well.

Electronic proof of delivery (ePOD) allows your teams to collect e-signatures, scan tickets, barcodes, or anything else that proves the transfer of custody without coming into contact with the customer.

In the same way, you can use technology to get feedback from customers about their experiences.

You can use this information to improve your click and collect services. But also to upsell and cross-sell products using delivery.

Since you have access to all of the data on one platform, you can quickly use the software to analyze customer preferences and customize both the experience and the items you try to upsell or cross-sell.

And when 85% of click & collect shoppers buy an additional product when coming to collect their orders, it’s worth your while to analyze their behavior.

Use Software to Build Omnichannel Fulfillment

To complete your click and pick-up in-store strategy, you need to optimize and automate your fulfillment process.

From providing accurate quotes during checkout, through supply chain operations, and down to the pickup in-store, technology can help you to build an omnichannel fulfillment process.

Here’s what you need to know:

Connect Operations

Collect data from every link in your supply chain, from inventory location to your customer’s pickup preferences.

This will help you to centralize how you manage operations so that you can make quick decisions and build an agile delivery that guarantees all your services run smoothly.

Sync Your Resources

Remember. the more in sync your buying, delivery, and fulfillment channels are, the more prosperous you’ll be at providing amazing experiences for everyone.

Automate and Optimize

As we mentioned before automation and optimizing the BIOPIS, will help you fulfill BIOPIS orders efficiently and accurately.

This will not only guarantee the pick-up customer is happy, but that pickup operations won’t interrupt service to in-store customers.

Create a Unified Strategy

Make your click and collect operations flow is a part of an omnichannel fulfillment strategy.

You should be aware that omnichannel shoppers spend more in-store and online than single-channel customers do.

Moreover, it has been confirmed that spending increases with each additional channel that shoppers engage with.

Sync your data, automate BOPIS operations, and coordinate between your different delivery and fulfillment channels and you will ensure that your in-store pickup model ends in cost-effective fulfillment and high customer satisfaction.

Time to Launch Your Click & Collect

Beyond the pandemic, click and collect is here to stay.

So now is a good time to make it part of your offer.

Which techniques will you use to get started?

Will you use software to optimize all your orders?

However you want to go about it, this guide has got you covered.

And if you want to boost your entire delivery, we can help with that too.

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