Click and Collect –It’s a win-win for eCommerce

According to “Ecommerce Trends for 2016” by Absolunet, up to 40% of customers who shop online prefer to pick up their purchases in a physical store.

Although this statistic is dependent on the number of physical stores and the distribution network a retailer has, an increasing number of big chain names are making click and collect a standard way of moving product to people.

Here are five reasons why providing the option to purchase and pick-up is essential for eCommerce retailers with physical stores:

1. Customer convenience

With the advent of eCommerce retail giant, ordering online and waiting for delivery seemed the way of the future. However, that process assumes that postal or courier delivery can get the product to the customer in short order. That’s not always the case. And, even if they can, the customer needs to be there to accept delivery, and that’s not always convenient.

According to Cognizant, a leading provider of technology information, online shoppers see in-store pick-up as an essential convenience because they can pick up their purchases on their own schedule and they enjoy the security of knowing they can return the product immediately if it’s not what they expected.

2. Increase sales and conversion rates

Major furnishing retailer, Ikea, has plans to increase the number of pick-up and order points for their eCommerce customers. The retail giant has found that net sales increase when customers see items in-store—at “inspiration displays” and stations that assist with the home furnishing planning process—that complement their purchase decision.

In addition, conversion rates have been shown to increase as customers find it easy to order online and quickly and easily get access to their purchases.

3. Decrease returns

Customers purchasing online and picking up at a physical store have a lower rate of return than those receiving delivered packages. The reason is simple: in-store exchanges. If the product turns out to be the wrong size, wrong colour, or all together wrong, a helpful assistant in the store can direct the customer to a more appropriate selection and orchestrate an exchange.

4. Reduce shipping costs

This works both for both retailer and customer. Mail or courier delivery to the home is expensive in Canada. Customers purchasing online who face delivery costs are likely to pay much more than if they drove to the nearest store or outlet and picked up their package. They may also be deterred from buying by the delivery price.

For eCommerce retailers, the click and collect approach can streamline the distribution process, reduce shipping expenses, and improve profit margins.

5. Enhance customer experience

Finally, click and collect eCommerce retailers are finding that they have an opportunity to deepen their brand or product experience with customers through an in-store interaction. Increasing customer loyalty is key to driving eCommerce sales and developing a connection with the customer helps.

Online shopping can be a solitary experience and not one that offers a lot of opportunities for interaction with the merchant. However, by convincing customers to enter the store to collect their merchandise, eCommerce retailers have the tools to both generate additional revenue and create brand loyalty.

Better UX, Site Usability: What’s in it for the eCommerce store?

Creating a seamless user experience and improving usability is the goal of every successful eCommerce store. From how the site looks to how it functions, the goal is to move the customer effortlessly from the home page to the shopping cart to the checkout.

Take a look at five ways to leverage UX/Usability in the eCommerce sector that aim to improve design and boost conversions.

Let’s get logical

An eCommerce store must offer a simple, intuitive layout that engages the buyer immediately upon site entry. Without such ease of use, the potential buyer is quickly lost to other websites.

Taxonomy is about classifying the store’s product catalogue according to a logical hierarchy, allowing the user to arrive at the product of interest in as few steps as possible. Product taxonomy supports indexing, categorization and facilitates item retrieval through onsite search. Ultimately, an increase in the number of conversions can be tied directly related to the ease by which a buyer can find the item they’re looking for.

Remove the clutter

Cleaning up clutter and extraneous information leads to more focused browsing. Placing navigation menus off screen, revealing only when needed, leaves a more striking visual impression. Interaction can be a click or a simple hover; menus can drop down, pop up, or slide along.

Target’s Awesome Shop and the U.K.’s House of Fraser are two examples of eCommerce stores using the hidden menu design option to leave room for more interesting images.

Faceted search: simplifying the shopping process

Faceted search analyzes data and excludes anything that doesn’t match specific results. It simplifies the user process and offers consumers specific choices and selections. In other words, it allows the user to filter products based on the components they most desire.

Moving directly to the product that fits their shopping list means that customers are more inclined to buy rather than browse further. Faceted search gets them to where they want to go faster.

Product Loading

While the performance of different types of product loading – pagination, infinite scrolling, or “Load More” buttons – varies according to the context of the page and the eCommerce sector, research has shown that using “Load More” buttons combined with lazy-loading, gives the user a more seamless and positive experience.

Pagination won’t be going away any time soon as it works on just about every eCommerce platform, but test results have shown that users perceived it to be slow to load. More than a few pagination links were found to be off-putting and discouraged shoppers from browsing a product list.

Product data and a clear way to buy

According to market analysts, home improvement store, Home Depot, made a significant eCommerce gain in 2014 after overhauling its eCommerce direct fulfillment network. The business saw an increase in online sales by 36% or $1 billion.

What Home Depot knows is that customers need adequate information before they will purchase online. Home Depot and other online hardware stores have realized that effective product pages use a combination of text and images to detail not only the product but also the price, availability, and a clear way to purchase the item.

The successful eCommerce store will design a site that details the product and presents it in a way to entice users to purchase. Keep it simple and quick to load, especially on mobile devices. Above all, be logical and allow for product filtering.