For independent retailers, accepting online orders for in-store pickup is an effective way to boost sales and increase customer satisfaction by making it easier for shoppers to buy. Click and collect is when a customer selects and pays for products online, then the retailer packages the order and has it ready for the customer to pick up at a designated time. It is also known as BOPIS (buy online, pickup in-store), BOPAC (buy online, pickup at curbside), or curbside pickup.
Why Customers Like Click and Collect
Customers benefit from click and collect because it’s a time-saver—they’re not waiting for items to be delivered, and they know the products they need will be available at the store when they arrive. Click and collect offers many of the same conveniences of ecommerce without either party having to pay for shipping. For goods like flowers, produce, or baked goods, click and collect also prevents items from being damaged or spoiled in transit.
How Retailers Benefit From Click and Collect
For retailers, click and collect can increase sales by offering customers a more convenient way to shop. It’s also less expensive than packaging and shipping orders or having them delivered via courier. Plus, retailers still benefit from customers physically visiting the store, which can result in additional impulse purchases, provide opportunities for upselling, and reduce returns because customers are viewing the products in-person before bringing them home.
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1. Designate an Ordering System
Most retailers create an online store, website, or branded app to collect orders. You can also use a third-party app like Postmates to quickly get online. However, this method is more common for restaurants and cafes. Some businesses also accept orders over the phone.
For retail customers, the best way to order online is often through a website or branded mobile app. If you want to offer click and collect orders, it may be worthwhile to build an online store and enable in-store pickup as a delivery method. Most popular ecommerce platforms and some website builders, like Shopify and Square Online, have features to add an in-store pickup option on the checkout page.
The fastest and most affordable way to take your business online for click and collect orders is with Square Online. Square Online offers a free online store and checkout page so you can list products for sale for pickup, local delivery, and shipping. Plus, you can configure click and collect settings like curbside pickup options, specific pickup hours and order windows, order prep times, customer notifications for when their order is ready, and whether or not shoppers can schedule pickup times. Visit Square to create a free account and get started.
Set a Process
Once you have a website, set a process for managing the orders you receive and communicating with customers on how they can pick them up. Set expectations around order processing and turnaround times, deadlines for how long you will hold orders, and where exactly customers should go to pick up their orders. For example, will their order be waiting for them in a display case? Should they approach the register and give their name?
Tip: If you sell apparel, cosmetics, or other items with a high return rate, encourage shoppers to test or try-on their purchases before leaving. Exchanging the product before the customer leaves the store increases the odds of being able to restock the item.
2. Create Space in Your Store
Once you know how you’ll accept orders, the next step is designating a space to store orders until they are picked up. For most small businesses, this space will be behind your register or checkout counter because it’s easily accessible to employees yet still protected.
Some retailers keep these orders in an inventory room or back office, but keep in mind whether or not sending an employee to pick up orders from the back room would leave your sales floor unattended. This method also increases the amount of time it takes to help each customer, which is not ideal for high-volume businesses.
3. Create a Pickup Procedure
Once you’ve organized your space, set a process for how customers will collect online orders. If your store is high-volume, it might be most efficient to have a separate line in the checkout counter just for pickups. However, if you have a smaller store or only a few employees on staff at a time, it could be better to integrate order pickups in the regular checkout line.
Whatever you decide, it is essential to have signage pointing shoppers in the right direction, so they know where to go. For example, Starbucks has a designated mobile order pickup area in each of the store locations with a countertop sign.
In-Store or Curbside?
After setting a process for in-store pick up, consider whether you will also offer curbside delivery. This popular option is often convenient for customers on-the-go or who would have difficulty or would prefer not to go inside the store.
If you decide to offer curbside pickup, indicate on your digital receipts and checkout screen how shoppers should contact you when they arrive. Most businesses prefer customers to call the store. However, companies that have live-chat systems within their point-of-sale software or Facebook Messenger may prefer that.
In addition to the logistics of physically getting customers their orders, you will need to consider practices and policies around keeping these online orders organized.
- Processing and turnaround times: How long will it take to pick and package an online order so that it’s ready for pickup? Who will be responsible for receiving and putting together these orders?
- Order ahead time frames: How far in advance can customers place an order? For that week? That day? Keep in mind how orders that are paid for, yet not collected, could impact your inventory management process.
- Marking orders as complete: Customers will likely pay for their orders when they place them online. However, how will you designate in your POS system that a customer has collected the order? Create a standardized process to eliminate confusion between employees.
- Unclaimed orders: Set a plan for how you will remind customers to pick up their orders, and how long you will hold unclaimed orders. After that time frame, consider whether you will refund the shopper, or repackage the order once they are ready for pickup. For example, some repair shops will consider items left for more than 60 days abandoned. Clearly state these policies in your digital receipts so customers know what to expect.
- Customer notifications: How will you keep customers notified when orders are ready or if there are any changes to their order? Collect multiple contact methods from each shopper such as an email address and phone number. This way, you can still reach them even if their voicemail is full or your message ends up in their spam folder. This process is easier if you use a POS and online ordering system like Square or Shopify that automatically tracks customers.
4. Train Your Staff
Now that you have created an organized system for collecting, managing, and handing off click and collect orders, hold a training session with your staff. Run through the procedures a few times, make sure they are comfortable and knowledgeable of all the processes and take time to answer any questions. Since store associates are the front line of your business and closely in tune with your customers, they will likely have suggestions and improvements to make the process faster and more efficient.
5. Gather Customer and Employee Feedback
After implementing click and collect orders, gather feedback from customers and employees to help fine-tune the process. Post-purchase email surveys are one of the best ways to collect customer feedback (instead of chatting in-person or waiting for social reviews to come in) because shoppers are more likely to provide honest feedback.
Implementing click and collect or curbside pickup for your brick and mortar store makes it more convenient for customers to buy. Plus, small business solutions like Shopify and Square come with built-in features to manage all your online and in-store orders in one place, including options for click and collect.
If your store doesn’t have a website, you can build one for free in just a few minutes using Square Online. List your products, enable Square Payments, and configure your order pickup settings to start processing online orders today. Visit Square to get started.