Why click and collect builds customer connections

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Pursuit MD Mike Burns on why retailers are missing key opportunities.

Sales, stock and management systems software house Pursuit believes jewellers not planning to introduce a website click-and-collect option are overlooking a valuable opportunity. Pursuit managing director Mike Burns explains what retailers have to gain from the boundary-crossing technique. 

"Increasingly employed by supermarkets and other big retailers, click-and-collect can be used to close the gap between relatively impersonal online sales and face-to-face contact.

Click-and-collect can give jewellers a powerful extra marketing tool that’s perfect for initiating an enduring customer relationship. Whilst for a supermarket its basic function is to eliminate delivery costs, it has the secondary benefit of encouraging additional sales when the customer comes to collect.

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In the case of a supermarket, people using the service will in all probability be local. For jewellers, although a substantial proportion of online customers are likely to be from other parts of the UK – or abroad – many probably live within convenient driving distance.

A customer might work in a city, commute from a suburb – but for fashion and luxury goods shopping may habitually gravitate to a country town recognised as being a quality retailer and leisure destination. Where shopping in person during the week is inconvenient, buying online is an obvious alternative.

In such circumstances, visiting the shop at the weekend to collect the item creates an opportunity for cultivating a relationship and thus winning the loyalty of a new customer – and possibly making an additional sale at the time of the visit.

For the retailer, collection has the secondary benefit of saving on the cost of courier delivery or signed-for insured-postage. Signed-for post is obviously less than ideal where delivery is routinely after the purchaser has left for work.

A website click-and-collect function could offer the choice of paying either online or when collecting in person. The website could also incorporate a wish list – or an option whereby an item could be reserved, but not actually paid for, in advance of a shop visit.

Offering the option of reserving an item seen online but collected in person is particularly appropriate for higher value jewellery and watches. It is equally attractive for retailers who have a website that does not have an online sales function.

Whether linked to online sales or an order and collect arrangement, depending on the software system at present installed, a click-and-collect option can be incorporated at negligible cost.

Click-and-collect is more a question of ‘Why?’ rather than ‘Why not?’ In terms of customer service and building customer relationships it is a valuable addition to the marketing mix".

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