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A quick and easy guide to Click and Collect for retailers

21 Jan 2021

The following quick and easy guide to Click and Collect can be used by all retailers, even if those that don't have an ecommerce platform
Read more…

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4 Jan 2021

ActSmart partner Tom Redfern, Founder and Senior Partner at Redfern Legal LLP, investigates ways in which it is still possible to employ a low skills worker who is not a UK national

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A quick and easy guide to Click and Collect for retailers

Posted on in Business News, Cycles News

The following quick and easy guide to Click and Collect can be used by all retailers, even if those that don't have an ecommerce platform. We would like to say a special thank you to BIRA for sharing the article with us through their membership in the Independent Retailers Confederation (IRC).

With new lockdown measures announced by the Government this weekend, all non-essential shops, leisure, and entertainment venues will have to close from Thursday 5th November. However, the Government have stated that click and collect services and delivery services will be allowed to continue. With this in mind, we have created this simple guide, to help you to adapt and continue to trade in these unprecedented times.


What is Click and Collect?

The clue is in the name with Click and Collect, it is simply where customers purchase or reserve products online and collect them in store. It is can also be referred to as Curb side Pickup or Buy Online Pick Up in Store or (BIPOS). You can also offer Click and Collect to collection points, participating shops and lockers offered by third party logistics such as Royal Mail, Collect+, DPD and Doddle.


Click and Collect pro's and con's


  • Non-essential retail can currently remain open for delivery to customers and click-and-collect.
  • Click and Collect or curb side pick up to your shop usually costs less than delivering directly to the customer
  • Convenient for the customer to collect on their terms



  • Will need to consider new logistical and operational challenges such as effective communication with the customer
  • Will need to manage customer expectations including time taken to pick and prepare orders
  • Customers can only be expected to travel a reasonable distance to collect their goods


I already have an ecommerce solution or online shop

If you already have an ecommerce solution or online shop in place it is important to make sure that your current offering has collection as a delivery option and that it is enabled. Now is also the time to make sure that your website is visible and potential customers can find it easily - filling in your Google mybusiness details is a good starting point.  


I don't have an ecommerce solution or online shop

If you don't already have an ecommerce solution or online shop, we highly recommend investing in one. You may want to consider the following features;

  • Make sure you can use collection as a delivery option.
  • Use an ecommerce solution which can integrate with your current POS system
  • Customer notifications, when will the order be ready to collect, can you customise your notifications to include safety messaging?
  • Do you want to enable customers to choose their pick up time or decide this for them?

If you cannot invest in an ecommerce solution or online shop at the moment, a short term solution could be to take orders over the phone and arrange customer collection.


Decide on your collection procedure

Communication with the customer is key to a successful Click and Collect service. You will need to make sure the customer is notified where they will need to go to collect their items, when the collection will be ready and what they need to bring with them to verify their order. If you are taking orders over the phone, you might want to give customers an order number and ask them to bring the card they used to pay for the order over the phone with.

You may want to implement timed collections for your customers or alternatively run fixed hours where a customer can come and collect their goods. You will also need to take contact details for your customers to send the collection notifications to.

Due to non-essential retail closures, if your shop is closed you will need to communicate what the procedure will be for customers letting you know they have arrived to collect their goods. Will this be by telephoning the shop, sending an email, text or Facebook message etc.

Make sure to consider any new policies you may need for Click and Collect. For example, if you are offering reserve and collect, decide how long you will hold products for before you put them back into stock.

Decide how long it takes to process an order and get it ready for collection, will this differ for products you have in stock vs if you need to order in and make this clear to your customers.

It's important to make the collection procedure simple for your customers, as if it is too much hassle you won't get repeat business.


Labelling your goods for collection

It's important to keep your goods organised and clearly labelled to avoid any mix ups. If you're not using an ecommerce system to generate labels you can create your own using Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word. To create and print the labels you will need to prepare the data in Excel, then use Word to create the labels.

Some points to consider when preparing your data include:

  • Make sure the spreadsheet is saved as a .csv file
  • Make sure each column is labelled with the fields you want to be included in your labels, this could include, customer name, contact number, collection time etc.
  • Make sure all data you want to include in your labels is in "Sheet 1" of your spreadsheet.
  • Make sure all changes are saved and completed before you begin the mail merge.

Once the Excel document is ready you can then complete the mail merge in Microsoft Word and automatically format the labels for printing. For full instructions on how to complete a mail merge for collection labels, including how to add in barcodes and graphics click here.


Click and Collect using third party logistics

Customers can only be expected to travel a reasonable distance to collect goods, for example if your shop is in rural Wales, you can't reasonably expect a customer to travel from London to collect their goods - this is where third-party logistics come into play. When a customer selects Click and Collect as their delivery method, they can select a collection point convenient to them offered by a third party, this could be a local convenience store, post office or locker.

Third party logistics can be costly, so it's worth making sure that you are making enough daily orders to consider using a third party. However, Royal Mail and CollectPlus are just two of the third-party delivery services to offer services with SME's in mind.

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