Consumers are growing increasingly picky, says Aamoth. They're taking advantage of the opportunity to shop in every way possible, including the purchase of goods online and picking up at the store. As such, electronic commerce remains just one part of the overall retail mix.
"Click and collect," which involves the pickup of purchases at lockers placed at retail sites, is becoming a more important element in that mix. It offers an alternative to home delivery, which can be problematic if the consumer isn't present to receive packages.
Click and collect is especially attractive to consumers because it allows for the browsing and purchase of product online, while offering yet another means of receiving it. But Aamoth says retailers need to standardize that part of the process. Some require proof of purchase or identification of the buyer who comes to the store, while others provide lockers that can be quickly accessed on site.
"The in-store experience needs to be more consistent and reliable to the consumer," Aamoth says. A seamless offering of various options, including the ability to link the buyer directly with the manufacturer, is necessary to the maintenance of a successful omnichannel approach to retailing.
Retailers might be fearful of the click-and-collect option if they're unable to manage their inventories efficiently across channels. The ability to confirming what's on hand, and where it resides within the system, is key. In addition, that level of knowledge must be transferred to the in-store associate.
Future development of click and collect, along with other omnichannel options, will be built around the notion of customer centricity, Aamoth says. And the brick-and-mortar store will never disappear entirely from the retailing landscape. "People are social creatures," he says. "They like interaction. They plan social activities, including shopping."
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