Liz Dobbs – researcher, editor, writer and author on all things garden and plant related – discusses how to run a successful click & collect system in your garden centre.
I?m a great fan of click & collect when it comes to non-gardening purchases, Christmas shopping in particular, and I?m not alone. Research by Barclays predicts a switch from home delivery to click & collect over the next three years. You might argue that garden centres stock a number of items that require home delivery due to size, weight and installation needs ? and this is true ? but click & collect offers opportunities which garden centres are missing.
What does click & collect mean for your business?
- More control: If integrated with Epos and stock control, click & collect cuts waste as customers are selecting from items you already have. Ordering in advance means you know what your customers are looking for and when they will be in your store to collect their items. That ?last mile? of the customer journey happens in your store with your trained staff on hand, not an anonymous home delivery driver with no emotional investment in your business.
- New customers: Click & collect appeals to time-poor garden owners who usually wouldn’t think to go to a garden centre or have found in-store browsing frustrating in the past. As well as giving them the chance to browse your products from the comfort of their own laptop, garden centres tend to have good car parking and other facilities that makes coming to you more desirable than clicking & collecting from a high street store.
- Secondary spending: While some click & collect customers want to get in and out with their items, some will be enticed further into the store with well-placed impulse buys or the appeal of your caf? or coffee shop.
- Efficient use of staff: You don?t need more staff for click & collect, you just use the ones you have more efficiently as many of the tasks are actually undertaken by the customer or are automated via the online ordering software.
Getting it right
When a retailer gets click & collect right it is a busy consumer?s dream: you don?t pay for delivery and get your goods quickly at a time of your choosing without having to wait. For the first purchase, a lot of it is about trust as at the time of ordering you don?t often know how good the ?collect? part will be, but creating a good collecting experience will ensure your customers will click and collect again. Getting it right means:
- Easy and free parking
- A well-organised collection point
- The right goods ready as promised
Time-poor convenience shoppers will expect an efficient system for a quick in and out, and you should remember to highlight any late night openings clearly on your website or send text messages to customers when their orders are ready.
On the other hand, make your garden centre really inviting once they?re there, and those in and out customers might just stop for a coffee and order something else on their mobile?