For retailers with bricks-and-mortar stores and online shopping offerings, Buy Online, Pay In Store (BOPIS) services, commonly known as Click & Collect in Australia, blend the offline and online experience to better engage customers while offering a more convenient way to shop.

Shoppers continuously crave convenience – they want choice and flexibility when fulfilling orders, and they want to complete or return their orders quickly and efficiently, according to BigCommerce vice president and general manager, Shannon Ingrey.

“Click & Collect delivers the convenience to better streamline the customer experience, saving time, money and effort. Further, these services not only ensure customers know that what they have ordered will be in stock at their desired location, they also save on any shipping fees and can collect the product quickly with confidence,” he told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

Ingrey said there is no universal guide to nailing a Click & Collect strategy, but there are a few key elements that are important to consider.

“First, as simple as it sounds, retailers must have a branded website or app for customers to order items from, connecting the online and offline experience. This platform should provide accurate and real-time visibility into available inventory creating a reliable and enhanced level of convenience,” he explained.

“With smartphones now supporting so many aspects of consumers’ lives, they expect them to assist in the shopping experience. This is especially true when it comes to Click & Collect. Retailers can use their shopping apps or text message notification systems to proactively communicate with customers by using push notifications through every step of the shopping journey alerting them when the order has been received, is being prepared and confirming the order is ready for pick-up.

“Finally, retailers need real-time inventory capabilities to analyse and implement the right technology components to deliver the most up-to-date inventory available to the consumer. For multiple locations, it’s important to ensure all components are connected across all locations to provide that visibility to customers.

“Customer retention is key to driving sales, and a smooth Click & Collect experience creates the potential for first-time buyers to become lifelong customers, resulting in a higher lifetime value to the business.”

Ingrey added that retailers must be ultra-focused on ensuring their offerings cater to different consumer preferences and needs by better understanding their shopping behaviors to deliver personalised experiences.

“Similarly, making customers feel appreciated and valued should be a major focus for nearly every retailer. Post-purchase experiences are just as crucial as the core shopping experience. Retailers are implementing loyalty programs to give existing customers access to exclusive deals, sales or advanced sneak peeks into new offerings, as well as repeat customer discount options to reward loyal customers.”