How does Click and Collect work?

An example of restaurant touch points: a customer utilizing curbside pickup

How does Click and Collect work?

*Disclaimer: Nothing in this article should be construed as legal, financial or tax advice. Please always consult a knowledgeable professional advisor. *

Whether you are a new business that is just getting started or an established company looking to add to your delivery options, Click and Collect is a great way to introduce an easy-to-use ordering option for you and your customers to transact more safely. This guide helps explain how Click and Collect works and how to easily set it up for your business.

With local and national lockdowns still being enforced across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, many UK businesses are having to adapt to stay open and keep trading. One way to do this is by introducing Click and Collect. Over the last months, its popularity has risen massively. In the US, 22% of consumers prefer Click and Collect or ‘curbside pickup’, as it is known in the States, to other forms of online shopping. Here in the UK, even before coronavirus, Click and Collect was on the rise. Supply chain platform Blue Yonder (previously known as JDA) reported that the UK’s click and collect market was expected to grow by 78% by 2020, to £8.2 billion.

So, what do you need to know about how Click and Collect works, how can it help your business and how do you set it up?

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What is Click and Collect?

Essentially, Click and Collect is a way of trading that allows consumers to ‘click’ and buy online, then ‘collect’ at a store, by picking up their items, rather than having them delivered.

While online shopping is becoming the norm for most consumers in the UK, there are still many that enjoy an in-store experience. In fact, a First Insight report on consumer spending found that shoppers in-store are likely to spend more than those online. It can be argued that a lot of this is down to the power of in-person customer service. Essentially, Click and Collect can be thought of as a compromise between the ease of ecommerce and the personal touch of brick and mortar shopping.

Click and Collect has potential benefits for both your business, your customers, the community and even the environment. Perhaps even more importantly however, for businesses being affected by lockdowns and coronavirus restrictions, a recent paper published in the Journal of Marketing has found that it could even increase online revenue.

How does Click and Collect work?

The first step to using Click and Collect is to have an online store for customers to shop in. If you don’t have one of these already, Square Online is an easy and effective way to set one up. Customers can then browse your online store, adding items to their virtual basket as they shop.

Once at the checkout, businesses offering Click and Collect will give the option to select either Home Delivery or Click and Collect. With Click and Collect being chosen, customers can select a relevant local store to collect from and a time and date for when to collect. The customer then processes their payment as usual but is also sent a form of communication about how to collect their order- often a code or a specific location at the store, usually via email, to have for their pick up. In some cases further proof of purchase might also be required such as ID or payment method.

The order is then processed by the business as usual but instead of being shipped to a delivery address, it is moved to the required collection point in time for the arranged time and or date. There are a few main methods of collection, with pick up in store at the till and curbside pickup being the most popular. For any business that is closed and prevented from trading physically due to COVID-19 restrictions, the curbside pickup option would be the most suitable as it limits physical contact.

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Why should you consider Click and Collect?

Aside from the potential benefits in increased revenue and being able to stay open to trade during future lockdowns, there are many benefits of adopting Click and Collect for your business and your customers.

During a lockdown, your business may still have to pay rent and overheads for store premises, such as electricity, gas and insurance, so it makes sense to keep the store functioning so that you can maintain cash flow. Similarly, it doesn’t take a lot of resources to run Click and Collect as a delivery option, so for small businesses with limited staff numbers it can be ideal.

When it comes to customers themselves, using Click and Collect in lockdowns and during normal trading times can help reinforce a sense of community on local high streets, encouraging spending with small businesses, which is beneficial for all involved. Being able to use Click and Collect when shopping also allows customers to choose when to pick things up, based on their timings and needs. It can also lead to quicker fulfilment of orders due to any issues that might affect home delivery being completely negated.

UK bakery chain Greggs have Click and Collect services being rolled out in 16,000 stores across the UK. Tony Taylor, Business Change Director at Greggs, says: “Click and Collect allows our customers to order and pay in advance for their Greggs favourites through this new digital service channel. With Click and Collect - and the services provided by Square - we now have the opportunity to serve our customers in a more convenient way - wherever and whenever they want - as well as being able to manage demand and queuing time in our shops in a more controlled and efficient manner,”

Being able to offer Click and Collect is also something that is really helpful during lockdowns, when delivery slots can be booked up. In fact, 24% of customers surveyed by YouGov have said they use online services less regularly when faced with difficulties booking delivery slots, something they don’t have to worry about at all with Click and Collect.

Click and Collect can also save customers money, meaning they have more to spend with you. A study by iVend Retail found that nearly half of ecommerce shoppers used Click and Collect to avoid shipping fees and roughly 45% say that they use it to save time by not having to shop in-store.

Is Click and Collect right for your business?

There are some initial considerations to be made before deciding to set up Click and Collect and as with most new business infrastructures it may come with cost implications. Although fairly limited here, there are still things like stock purchasing and advertising and promotion costs to consider when you are up and running. Plus, for businesses that don’t hold a lot of stock in store premises or have multiple locations, you may have to factor in the cost of covering stock movement, especially to make it an attractive delivery option for customers.

For businesses who aren’t just introducing Click and Collect as another shopping option to help during lockdown, there may also be the need to look into increasing premises sizes or options. If your business is making a major pivot to focusing on online trading, once the majority of your revenue is coming from this source, finding new stock holding premises and/or multiple pick up locations will definitely be worth considering too.

When it comes to what to sell and which businesses can adapt best to introducing a Click and Collect model, the food industry is a good place to start. Most restaurants, groceries, food and drinks shops can easily convert to offering Click and Collect with their existing Online Store. Restaurants have the added benefit of operating with takeaway as an extra option and then staying open during future lockdowns by operating solely in this way. They can even adapt their menu and offer to supply food boxes or recipe kits too. This is also an exciting option for drinks shops and even pubs and bars when under further lockdowns.

Fashion and home goods stores are also ideal for adopting a Click and Collect shopping method too. Outside of coronavirus and subsequent lockdowns this was becoming hugely popular, with a GlobalData report in 2019 finding that clothing and footwear was the biggest sector within the Click and Collect market, responsible for nearly 60% of spend in 2018.

But it doesn’t mean that if you operate in other sectors you can’t set up and benefit from Click and Collect services. Especially with coronavirus restrictions impacting all businesses, sometimes it can be worth considering Click and Collect for the most unlikely sectors. For instance, car dealers have previously been given permission to stay open during lockdowns if providing Click and Collect, as have services such as public libraries.

How do you set up Click and Collect?

To get started with our Click and Collect service, or Curbside Pickup, you need to be a Square Online user - you can quickly set up a free Online Store here. Then it is as simple as accessing your account settings and selecting to turn on Curbside Pickup. This will allow you to determine the settings you want for your store location or locations if you have multiple. These store details, including opening times, are all pulled in automatically.

As a default, turning on Pickup will set the Pickup Hours as based on your business hours. However you can adjust these, allowing you to control the time that collections are made. This is also editable by day and time period, so you can give yourself the time necessary to get stock in or to avoid busy periods. You can also give customers the ability to schedule their own pickup times, based on when best suits them.

With most food businesses, especially restaurants and takeaways, you will also need to factor in preparation time. This can be done by setting a Prep time for your orders, which can be different on an item by item basis, perfect for a busy kitchen.

Customers will then be able to choose Click and Collect as a delivery option on your Online Store. During checkout, they can choose the location to collect from, their pickup date and time, all based on all the settings you have selected.

There is also a space that allows you to instruct customers how to physically pick up their orders when they arrive at your premises. While many businesses will operate Click and Collect alongside normal trading, allowing pickup from inside stores for instance, during lockdowns this may not be possible. Interestingly more businesses are finding their way around this by fulfiling Click and Collect orders through windows or other outside spaces. However you choose to do it, just ensure that it is the safest method for your business and that it follows all necessary Government guidelines on social distancing.

Once an order has been made up and is available for collection you can mark it as Ready in the Square Online Store. This sends an email to the customer and there is also the option for additional text message notifications, which also means the customer can reply to you letting you know when they are with you to pick up. From there it is as simple as updating the order status to Complete to close the transaction.

There is a step-by-step support page and more detailed step-by-step guide to turning on your Square Curbside Pickup here.

Introducing Click and Collect into your business is a great way to offer customers a greener, cheaper alternative to home delivery that allows for a more personal touch and helps encourage spending with local businesses. But more than that, as a solution for companies affected by further lockdowns, it could be the best way to ensure that you stay trading. So, whether you want to offer Click and Collect alongside other delivery options or are just curious about how it can help overcome coronavirus restrictions, now is the best time to explore how it can benefit your business.