As more and more consumers go online to shop for everything from groceries to fashion and furniture, retailers are under pressure to offer more choice when it comes to the fulfillment of orders – pickup in the store, deliver to the consumer’s home or place of work, or drop off at a click & collect pickup point. The click & collect model involves consumers ordering products online and then picking them up at a pre-determined location.

In the UK, click & collect has become a prerequisite for shoppers who want a convenient pickup point – it is estimated that 76% of online shoppers will use click & collect by 2017 – but the US is slow to adopt this methodology. Why is click & collect so popular in the UK and not in the US? In the UK, consumers have been shopping online for groceries and non-food items much longer than in the US. They are accustomed to researching and buying on their own terms. Offering a range of options for delivery is the inevitable next part of the puzzle for retailers looking to differentiate themselves, or simply operate on a level playing field.

From a shopper’s perspective, click & collect eliminates the risk and cost of missed deliveries. Many consumers like the added convenience that click & collect offers. They no longer have to wait at home for a delivery; instead they can pick up their order at their convenience.

From a retailer’s perspective, click & collect is more cost effective than home delivery. Firstly there are far fewer delivery locations which saves on fuel, vehicle maintenance and drivers’ time. Secondly brands collaborating with other non-competitive retailers to allow shoppers to collect online orders at each other’s stores are benefiting from the cost-effective scale that click & collect offers. They can offer customers a far wider range of pickup locations without having to invest in additional brick and mortar sites.  The UK’s largest online retailer Argos has recently implemented this model with sister brand from the Home Retail Group Homebase, as well as UK supermarket Sainsburys.

Other click & collect models involve picking up orders at collection boxes. In the UK, InPost has located thousands of parcel lockers throughout the country, allowing 24/7 pick up of an order. InPost integrates with retailers so consumers can choose that option of delivery upon checkout. Items are delivered to the lockers of choice. A text message and email with a unique opening code are sent to the consumer providing them with confirmation of delivery and locker location.

Some vendors are taking this one step further with refrigerated click & collect boxes that will handle perishable items, clearing the way for click & collect grocery deliveries. As the click & collect model of delivery becomes a major convenience option for customers, more and more retailers and e-tailers will join the movement.

Paragon Software Systems offers routing and scheduling optimization solutions that help retailers deliver the right products to the right location at the right time. Whether click & collect or home delivery or pickup in store is chosen, Paragon provides the flexibility to handle any form of fulfillment that customers choose.

Why not get in touch to find out how we are helping our retail customers to improve their delivery services.

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