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Study: European retailers credit ‘click & collect’ for spurring extra in-store sales

Retailers that offer click & collect services are getting more benefits than they expected.

Almost a quarter (24%) of European adults who used click & collect services bought another item while picking up their order. Further, more than two fifths (42%) of online shoppers have used the service in the past 12 months.

This was according to data from the “JDA/Centiro Customer Pulse Report Europe 2017.” The study surveyed 8,238 adults online across the U.K., Germany, France and Sweden.

According to the report, click & collect continues to be an important service for retailers. Use was particularly high in the U.K., where more than half (54%) used the service. In Germany, usage was only 28%.

The figures suggest a wider trend for customers spending more time in-store. Once inside a retailer’s four walls, European adults are increasingly likely to use a mobile device. More than half (56%) of respondents across the European countries use their mobile devices in stores, a figure that leaps to 69% in Sweden. The main reasons cited among the four markets for using a mobile device in store are to check or compare prices (30%), read product/service reviews (22%), and to access and redeem offers (15%).

“Physical footfall is becoming important again, and click & collect represents an important vehicle for retailers to make the most of all the hard work they’re putting into the in-store experience,” said Lee Gill, group vice president, global retail strategy at JDA.

“It’s hardly surprising that the majority of European adults are using mobile devices in-store, whether that’s for seeking out special offers and discounts, or simply for entertainment while queueing,” Gill added. “To make the most of this, retailers must be making every effort to weave mobile interactions into the in-store experience, for example through the use of mobile ‘push offers’ and beacons.”

Conversely, retailers struggle to keep pace with home delivery demands. More than half (55%) of European adults experienced a problem with an online order during the last 12 months, up from 51% a year ago. Those experiencing problems is even higher in Germany (57%) and the U.K. (56%). Almost two thirds of Europeans (63%) stated they would likely switch to an alternative retailer next time shopping online as a result of a poor experience with ordering an item.

However, retailers still have work to do when it comes to delivering a consistently good experience. More than half (56%) of those who used the service experienced an issue with a click & collect order in the last 12 months. France in particular is experiencing growing pains, posting a 10% increase on problems since last year (from 56% to 66%).

Across the continent, other issues are emerging. The U.K. needs to focus on staffing issues, as more than a quarter (26%) of respondents who used click & collect experienced long waiting times due to a lack of staff.

In other countries, more work is needed on the supply chain side. In both Germany and France, 18% of respondents found items were no longer available after placing an order. In France, 17% of respondents experienced a damaged item and 12% being sent the wrong item.

Product returns is another key area to focus on. Almost three quarters (70%) of respondents online across Europe said being able to return items factors into which retailer they choose to shop online. That rises as high as 77% in Germany.

“Omnichannel continues to prove both a blessing and a curse for European retailers who need to balance not only the technologies and options they have at their disposal, but also the expectations of their customers,” Gill added.

“They need to tighten delivery, resolve issues, eradicate any problems they are having with click & collect services, provide a great product returns service and use mobile engagement to provide a great service,” he said. “The store is once again playing an important part in the customer journey, so retailers need to be able to blend physical and digital elements together. Those that can will put themselves in a great position for success during the Christmas period and beyond.”

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