Almost a quarter of European Click & Collect shoppers bought additional items while picking up their item, and there is a significant increase in in-store mobile device usage.

The third annual JDA/Centiro Customer Pulse Report Europe 2017, conducted by YouGov, revealed that Click & Collect is driving further upsell opportunities for retailers. Almost a quarter (24 percent) of European adults online in countries surveyed who used Click & Collect bought another item while picking up their order. 

Further, more than two fifths (42 percent) of respondents who have shopped online in the past 12 months have used Click & Collect.

The survey of 8,238 adults online across the UK, Germany, France, and Sweden reveals that Click & Collect continues to be of significant strategic importance for retailers, and will be a key battleground this Christmas.

Use was particularly high in the UK, where more than half (54 percent) used Click & Collect, a big contrast to Germany, where Click & Collect usage was only 28 percent.

The figures suggest a wider trend for customers spending more time in store. Once inside a retailer’s four walls, European adults online are increasingly likely use a mobile device. The survey reveals that more than half (56 percent) of respondents across the European countries surveyed use their mobile devices in stores, a figure that leaps to 69 percent in Sweden.

The main reasons cited among the four markets for using a mobile device in store are to check or compare prices (30 percent), read product/service reviews (22 percent) and to access and redeem offers (15 percent).

“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. An effective Click & Collect operation isn’t just for Christmas, however: it can help boost sales throughout the year,” 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. 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.”

Barriers to a better Customer Experience

The report reveals there are still a number of CX issues retailers need to resolve. In particular, service levels are suffering as retailers struggle to keep pace with home delivery demands: more than half (55 percent) of European adults online in countries surveyed experienced a problem with an online order during the last 12 months, up from 51 percent a year ago.

The number experiencing problems is even higher in Germany (57 percent) and the UK (56 percent). This will have negative knock-on effect for retailers: almost two thirds of European adults online (63 percent) stated they would likely switch to an alternative retailer next time shopping online as a result of a poor experience with ordering an item.

Despite Click & Collect remaining popular with shoppers, the research reveals that retailers still have work to do when it comes to delivering a consistently good experience. More than half (56 percent) of European adults surveyed online 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 ten percent increase on problems since last year (from 56 percent to 66 percent). Across the continent, it appears countries have different Click & Collect areas to sharpen up; the UK needs to focus on staffing issues, as more than a quarter (26 percent) of UK respondents who used Click & Collect and had an issue experienced long waiting times due to a lack of staff.

However, in other countries more work is needed on the supply chain side. In both Germany and France, 18 percent of respondents who used those who experienced issues found items were no longer available after placing an order.

There were further problems in France, with 17 percent of respondents who used Click & Collect experiencing a damaged item, and 12 percent being sent the wrong item.

Returns becoming increasingly critical

Product returns is another key area to focus on. Across the European markets surveyed, almost three quarters (70 percent) of respondents online across Europe say the ease of being able to return items factors into which retailer they choose to shop online, a number that rises as high as 77 percent in Germany.

This is only set to become a growing trend, with European online retail sales continuing at double digit rates of growth, As European shoppers grow increasingly well-versed in online shopping, they are likely to follow suit in factoring returns experiences into their choice of retailer.

“For retailers today, returns are much more than just a cost-recovery exercise, they are another important customer touch point,” said Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro.

“By providing customers with more options and greater visibility into returns, retailers will increase customer satisfaction. For example, something as simple as giving customers instant email or SMS updates on their returns can go a long way towards building and maintaining customer loyalty.”

Lee Gill concluded: “As it continues to evolve, omni-channel 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. In particular, this means they need to tighten up on delivery and ensure any issues are resolved, 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.

“At the same time, the store is once again playing an important part in the customer journey, meaning that to succeed, retailers need to be able to blend physical and digital elements together. Those that are able to do this will put themselves in a great position for success during the Christmas period and beyond.”

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