Online shopping has boomed in popularity as consumers increasingly lead busy lives.
Small businesses that help their customers save as much time as possible will no doubt be looked upon favourably and enjoy a loyal consumer base – and one of the best ways to do this is by putting in place and reserve and collect service.
The premise is simple – people can browse a website and click which products they would like to reserve and then pick them up instore at a time convenient for them. One sector that has particularly sat up and taken notice of this trend is the home furnishing and DIY one.
Argos sells products for the whole house, from kettles and vacuum cleaners to bedding and sofas. Decorating and moving home are time-consuming projects, especially for those who also work full-time and juggle a family. However, Argos's click and collect service enables customers to select items and immediately pick them up at a store of their choosing.
This allows people to, for example, browse in their lunch break and pop in to the store at the end of the day.
Products will be held until the end of the next working day, or any items not in stock will be available within three working days.
B&Q is another DIY and home decor store that offers a similar service. It promises the items will be available the next day. Small businesses operating in any sector, however, can utilise this feature to attract multichannel shoppers.
The benefits of a small business multichannel retail strategy
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that deploy a multichannel marketing strategy are likely to enjoy higher sales. A recent study by dunnhumbyUSA, Accenture and comScore found people who check out a company's site spend a typical 37 per cent more instore than shoppers who simply visit a shop.
In addition, click and collect was highlighted by Manhattan Associates and the Cranfield School of Management as being a good practice for multichannel retailers, as it forces different channels to integrate and helps boost value for organisations.
Aside from the benefit of getting more people through their doors, SMEs that deploy a multichannel retail strategy are likely to see better customer loyalty. Rather than wasting time searching for items instore, shoppers can clearly see stock availability on a site, reserve it, then head to the shop to collect it.
This relaxed way of buying items could help loosen the purse strings and see SMEs' cart abandonment levels drop.
Further small business multichannel retail advice can be found here:
Online and high street shopping overlap as Christmas nears
When physical stores and mobile technology collide
Can you think of any other benefits to a multichannel retail strategy?