Red Zebra Business Centre - Management Memos

Making Measurably More For Your Business Since 1985!

April 2013 Now including My Local Pool Shop Monthly News.  


The New Way To Go Shopping

The internet retail revolution has taken a surprising turn – in which independent store owners can play a happy and prosperous role!

Click & Collect - the new way to go shopping

Last year, an English guy picked up his final Christmas parcel – lingerie for his wife – at 10.43pm at the Esso service station in Hanworth, Middlesex.

It was hardly the obvious place to buy a bra and pants set, let alone en route to midnight mass.

But the unknown customer was not buying. He was merely collecting something he had already bought on the internet. He is one of many millions of people who have embraced “click and collect”.

It is a terrible industry buzz word. But it is becoming clear that "click and collect" holds the secret to the future for the independent retailer.

The concept is very simple and very counter-intuitive. You, the customer, buy something on-line. Then, rather than wait for the postman to ring the doorbell three days later, you go to the shop and collect it yourself. Delivery charges are generally cheaper than by post, or even waived.

Woolworth's liquor retailer, Dan Murphy, clearly sees the advantages. It committed to a major national launch of its new "click and collect" service, just a few weeks ago. Such a service has great advantages in on-line selling, both for the trader and for the customer.

Look deeper, and you see that it has the potential to extend the leverage of your local shop to gather a much wider spectrum of store visitors.

Internet shopping was meant to revolutionise how we bought things. Our sitting room would become the new retail park, our kitchen the new checkout till. Cars would be abandoned, the world would become an easier, happier place. But it didn't work out like that. Mostly because the weakest link is delivery.

Illogical as it sounds, most shoppers would actually prefer to incur the cost and hassle of going into town and picking up the pair of trousers or food blender than wait at home or visit the shop, unsure that it will be in stock. Among click and collect’s attractions is the certainty that your item will actually be there, waiting for you..

In the face of this desire to 'go pick it up', rather than wait for it, the greatest innovation has been developed by on-line-only shops. They have been forced to tie up with a third party. Majors in on-line sales who have begun to use such third-party collection points include Amazon and eBay. The big advantage held by the small local retailer is that the collection point is already built in!

Click & Collect - thenReturn to Store

The other key advantage to the local retail shop is that the customer has somewhere they can easily return items that they don’t like. For many it is in fact a case of click, collect, and maybe take back. Or at least get it fixed, if that ever becomes an issue.

Here's the 'kicker'! In the UK, Collect+ has signed up 5,000 convenience and corner shops, and – in return for a small fee – persuaded them to become collection points for a raft of retailers,

Mark Lewis, who runs Collect+, waxes lyrically about how many corner shops are buzzing from all the extra people coming into their stores, many of whom add an extra pint of milk or loaf of bread to their basket. “It brings some of the benefits of on-line shopping back into the hands of independent traders,” he says.

Regardless of whatever you normally sell in your store, you have the potential to add store traffic by becoming a collection point for on-line retailers. And if they are coming in to collect from others, why aren't you selling on-line too?

It seems that a full decade after broadband arrived, and on-line retailing began to get traction, internet shoppers are finally getting the sort of service and convenience they were always promised. And smaller retailers turn out to be a big player in the on-line revolution - getting some leverage at last for your local store!

My Red Zebra Strategic Pathways Highly Effective Marketing My Local Pool Shop