Click and collect has now become a must have for online retailers and it isn't just restricted to the multichannels. 

So what does the perfect click and collect experience look like? Here are some examples and ideas from retailers... 

Advertise it

Click and collect can be a sales driver. Customers who aren't always available for home delivery will prefer the option of collecting from stores or other locations at their convenience. 

Retailers offering the service should promote it throughout the site, in various places. 

On the homepage, as in this example from B&Q: 

On product pages, as John Lewis does

It should also be clearly shown on basket pages and during checkout: 

 

Explain how it works 

It may seem obvious, but there's little harm in making the process clear to any buyers who may be unsure. 

Here, Lloyds Pharmacy presents a clear guide explaining what customers need to do: 

The ability to check stock levels on product pages

Whether or not the product customers want is available locally can be a deal breaker. 

Rather than making customers select items and go part of the way through the checkout process before finding out about availability, it's best to let them search from the product page. 

Schuh allows you to select a size and location and check stock from the product page, and then offers the option of buying or reserving. The information provided around these options is also excellent. 

Make it easy for repeat customers

Argos allows customers to select a preferred store, which it then defaults to for future purchases. 

It also has a 'fast reserve' option so repeat customers can select to reserve at their 'home' store with a single click. 

Argos click and collect

Usability

Click and collect services require users to select a pick up location, and this process needs to work smoothly. 

Some features can make the process easier, such as allowing them to enter the first half of the postcode, or the town name, as well as providing shortcuts (location services on mobile for example). 

Here's an example from B&Q, where customers can enter a postcode, town, or allow the site to detect your location.

Showing the results on a map also helps customers to easily find the most convenient pick up location for them: 

Argos provides a similar option, though the information on whether stock is available to collect immediately or the next day is very useful, as are the store opening hours. 

Make it work on mobile

Click and collect is popular with mobile shoppers, so it's important to ensure that these services work just as well on a smaller screen. 

The Argos app is a prime example, with a design tailored to users on the move. 

So, for example, stores are shown along with their proximity to the user: 

Then users have access to opening hours, a contact number, and even directions to the store, all from within the app: 

Easy in-store collection 

It's important that retailers get the in-store experience right for click and collect customers.

This means promoting click and collect services within stores, minimising waiting times, and offering clear signage for customers coming to collect their orders:

 

Retailers shouldn't forget that click and collect provides an opportunity for cross-selling while shoppers are in store too: 

Speed

If people have decided to buy something, they will often want it ASAP. This is often about the ability to check in-store stock levels, rather than rely on delivery to stores from a central location. 

John Lewis is an example of this. Its click and collect proposition is for next day collection, so stock is obviously being shipped from a central location.

So, the item you want could be in a John Lewis store a few miles away to collect within the hour, but the website can't tell you this. 

Of course, the integration of systems required to deliver this isn't necessarily straightforward, but it's an ideal to aim for. 

Retailers that can offer fast pickup do have an advantage for those with that 'want it now' mentality. 

Here, Halfords makes items available one hour after reservation, which is a good standard to aim for, though some (Argos) are even faster: 

Provide alternative pick up options

While in-store collection is the most popular option, there are now plenty of alternatives that can offer more to customers, such as lockers, and collection from local convenience stores and petrol stations. 

These options, such as Collect+ and Amazon Locker, also allow the pure plays to add click and collect to their proposition. 

So, we have Asda offering the option of grocery collection from tube stations: 

Waitrose has installed install click & collect lockers at stations and other locations: 

Here, Littlewoods, now a pure-play, offers Collect+ for pick up, which has a network of more than 5,000 local shops and garages. 

Text alerts

This is simple, but very useful. Argos texts me as soon as I make a reservation, providing the order number. All I need to do is turn up and show them the text. 

Does this cover the perfect click and collect offering? Have you seen other, better features offered by retailers? Let me know below...

Graham Charlton

Published 4 May, 2015 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Llara Geddes, UX Designer at Tayburn

Argos should be good at click and collect, given that they're practically an originator. However, the rest of their online experience leaves a lot to be desired.

over 2 years ago

Joe Tarragano

Joe Tarragano, Group Managing Director at Pentagon

Good write up of some of the experiences.
The next challenge beyond the digital elements is to then ensure that the in-store experience is actually efficient, customer focused and profitable. Since click & collect is now between 40% and 70% retailers of their online fulfilment, the back of house challenges are becoming much more of a focus, and the front of house experience is getting some much needed attention.
And making this all work profitably, given that c&c ATV is lower than delivered orders, is the next thing to think about. While some retailers in some retail formats are getting the upsells in store, for the customer on a convenience mission visiting a c-store, making the numbers stack up is non-trivial.

over 2 years ago

Joe Tarragano

Joe Tarragano, Group Managing Director at Pentagon

Good write up of some of the experiences.

I'd note though that on the reserve & collect model, the "1 hour delay" element is for some retailers a window in which they can check whether they do in fact actually have any stock in store, since accuracy levels are poor.

The next challenge for the retailers is to make the physical experience work.
For many retailers click & collect is how between 40% and 70% of their online orders are fulfilled. That's an incredible strain on a store estate not designed to receipt orders in this way and have staff idling around waiting to serve during the lunchtime & early evening lumps during which collection happens.
The back of house is creaking for many, and the front of house experience is often weak during peak times. When you add in the fact that C&C ATVs are lower, the whole operation starts to look much less attractive to retailers.
While some can make the upsells work, for others, especially with c-stores or small formats in stations etc, the customer's on a convenience mission and in no mood to be upsold.
The successful retailers will be those that understand the economics and efficiency drivers and marry these well with good service design.
Though of course if the customer could get free, quick, reliable fulfilment that didn't require them to be at home, we'd not have this explosion in click & collect volumes.

over 2 years ago

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James Whitman, Product Owner at Personal

Interesting article, I think getting the actual checkout part of click to collect is an especially difficult and I've seen many that do get it wrong.

I worked on a project last year where we added a Click to Collection functionality into a fully responsive checkout, it'd be great to see an article comparing the actual usability of some of those out there, as whilst some 'look' great, functionally they don't work very well.

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Joe Thanks, I think the one hour window is generally OK for customers, and I imagine Argos is able to offer more immediate collection since its business model and processes are geared up to be able to check stock more accurately.

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@James I know what you mean, the selection of local stores and pick up times does add extra processes to the checkout.

I'll look into your idea, do you have any sites you'd suggest? Both good and bad?

over 2 years ago

Joe Tarragano

Joe Tarragano, Group Managing Director at Pentagon

We've done a lot of analysis on click & collect for our clients, and apart from John Lewis, other website examples featuring some best practice elements include Debenhams and M&S. M&S nicely remembers your favourite stores, though you can only have one, and they do tend to call the stores by internal names. Joules presents everything you need to know about your chosen store very cleanly, though would benefit from a better way of showing the birds eye view across a wider set of store options. Harvey Nichols presents the option alongside other delivery choices well and the visual design is stylish. The Click & Try option is also very nice (and we'll see more in-store changing rooms & other ways of enriching the experience). In general, the better retailers have coalesced around a reasonably good model for the UX, though none are quite perfect (eg Harvey Nicks has no easy zoom on the map for example).

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Thanks Joe, I'll look at those for another post.

over 2 years ago

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Nick Gallop, Director - Strategic Marketing at IAA Advisory

Click and deliver to your car boot is under development from Amazon - this seems similar to click and collect from a locker at the station, except that you have your own locker conveniently in your car boot.

over 2 years ago

Joe Tarragano

Joe Tarragano, Group Managing Director at Pentagon

Amazon tied up with Audi, and Volvo launched this idea a while back, but without the need for a specific retailer to be part of it. It's a big step forward, as what the customer really wants is something that is frictionless, and these solutions enable large, awkward deliveries to a secure, very convenient location. Similarly & futuristically, the internet of things might open our front door & track the delivery person's movements, such that we can also have chilled/frozen products delivered that way. But in all these models, the customer still has to pay for delivery (whether explicit or hidden). The store click & collect model is the one that removes the delivery cost (if the retailer's operations & supply chain is up to it).

over 2 years ago

Joe Tarragano

Joe Tarragano, Group Managing Director at Pentagon

Volvo was first with the boot based delivery. It's a powerful way to give us convenience without requiring us to be somewhere at a certain time, especially for large, heavy items. The ultimate expression will be when the Internet of Things enables us to pop the front door open based on its camera, and then track the delivery man's path through the house and checking which shelf in the fridge he's put the chilled items onto. Though we still need a way to do that without having to pay for delivery.

over 2 years ago

Ivan Burmistrov

Ivan Burmistrov, Usability Expert at interUX Usability Engineering Studio OÜ

Why is this functionality named "Click & Collect"? I understand the "collect", but where is the "click"? I think customers will be misled by this name...

over 2 years ago

Joe Tarragano

Joe Tarragano, Group Managing Director at Pentagon

Volvo was first with the boot based delivery. It's a powerful way to give us convenience without requiring us to be somewhere at a certain time, especially for large, heavy items. The ultimate expression will be when the Internet of Things enables us to pop the front door open based on its camera, and then track the delivery man's path through the house and checking which shelf in the fridge he's put the chilled items onto. Though we still need a way to do that without having to pay for delivery.

over 2 years ago

Joe Bolger

Joe Bolger, MD at Intellexo Ltd

Great article. The only thing I would add is 'payment on collection'. Argos (again) is among the leaders on this, allowing customers to reserve their item, but only pay for it at the point of collection. This makes the online element of the transaction much simpler - no need for a billing address, credit card number, expiry date, security code - and also allows the customer to hold off committing to the purchase until they've seen the product.

over 2 years ago

Claire Jasmine Taylor

Claire Jasmine Taylor, Affiliate and Partnerships Marketing Manager at TescoEnterprise

Really Ivan? You don't think that CLICK (shop your order online) and COLLECT (your order in person) is a good offering/self explanatory?

over 2 years ago

Ivan Burmistrov

Ivan Burmistrov, Usability Expert at interUX Usability Engineering Studio OÜ

2 Claire Jasmine:

John Lewis example:

Click “Add to basket” button {Click1} --> Visit “Basket” page {Click2} and click “Checkout” button {Click3} --> Login {Click4} --> Select delivery method {Click5} --> Find a collection point {Click6} --> Select a collection point {Click7} --> Click “Continue to payment” {Click8} --> Fill-in a large form requiring many clicks and click “Place order and pay” button {ok, let it be Click9}

I’d rather name it “Click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click-click & collect”…

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Joe - Good point, it does make the transaction much smoother. Presumably other retailers are concerned about customers reserving stock that could otherwise be sold and not turning up.

over 2 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Ivan That name doesn't exactly roll off the tongue ;) The selection of the collection point does make the process longer than a normal home delivery purchase, though it's hard to see how JL could reduce that significantly (for unregistered users anyway) unless it implemented payment on collection.

over 2 years ago

Ivan Burmistrov

Ivan Burmistrov, Usability Expert at interUX Usability Engineering Studio OÜ

@Graham

I think “Click & collect” should be a separate button on a product page and clicking this button should forward a customer immediately to a collection point selector. (Regardless of registration/authorization or payment particularities.)

over 2 years ago

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M T, Manager at I

Does anyone know about a study out there which specifies target groups for C&C?
I mean the pros/cons are obvious, but is there more information out there?
Thanks for any kind of help.
-Marc

about 1 year ago

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