Cape Town, 02 February 2023 – It doesn’t seem that long ago that customers saw online and in-store as two separate shopping experiences.
You were either in the online camp or a brick-and-mortar die-hard, and never the twain shall meet.
But if the year since Covid-19 restrictions were lifted tells us anything, it’s that people actually want the best of both these worlds.
While there may have been an unprecedented shift towards online retail at the height of the pandemic, it’s clear that shoppers now want to be able to browse items on their computers or phones and collect them in-store, at a time when it’s most convenient for them.
The rise of click & collect shopping, where customers order an item online and then pick it up from a designated pickup point, speaks to the preference for hybridisation in the 2023 retail space.
A survey by Barclays Corporate Banking in October last year found that click & collect accounts for 40% of sales for retailers in the UK who offer this service. Also worth noting is that over two-fifths, or 41%, of physical stores in the UK are now used as click & collect locations.
What is significant is that not only is this model increasingly popular, but it also represents a huge opportunity for businesses to grow sales.
Putting aside the obvious advantage of driving online sales by meeting the needs of modern consumers, click & collect also brings about greater footfall in the brick-and-mortar store. The result is that people buy more, thereby bringing in more money for the business.
Furthermore, with more people visiting the store it opens the door for excellent relationships to develop between owners or managers and customers, building trust and ensuring shoppers will return and tell friends and family about the business.
A survey by Cape Town-based smart logistics platform and click & collect specialist Pargo shows that South Africans are loving the model as well.
Of the more than 450 people from around the country who participated in the survey, more than half (54%) said they might make additional purchases when collecting from a Pargo Pickup Point.
Also interesting is that almost 63% of respondents said they would return any unwanted items to the same Pargo Pickup Point they collected it from.
What most Pargo users enjoy about the platform is convenience and reliability, but they also find click & collect is very affordable given that the cost of delivery is cut considerably.
Respondents, most of whom order fashion and clothing online, indicated a wide variety of favoured pickup points, including Clicks, TFG stores, Sportscene and Totalsports.
Cilck & collect is proving especially popular in South Africa’s rural and township areas.
According to Pargo CEO and co-founder Lars Veul, residents of these areas can collect their parcels within walking distance, which is a huge benefit since couriers often battle to deliver items because of crime concerns.
Click & collect also counters the inefficiencies in geo-location apps that might not pick up specific areas in townships or even if there is a petrol station close by. This can mean that packages don’t reach their destination on time, or even at all.
The hybrid shopping experience has certainly opened a lot of people’s eyes to what’s possible. Importantly, it has also dispelled the myth that in-store retail is on the way out. If anything, it’s presenting new opportunities for growth and enhancing the overall customer experience.
Pargo is a Cape Town-based tech company that solves the challenges of last-mile logistics through its smart logistics platform and fulfilment solutions, which are anchored by a vast, nationwide network of thousands of Pargo Pickup Points. Pioneering Click & Collect back in 2015, Pargo continues to develop their technology and processes to make fulfilment solutions fit for the African logistics landscape, including Home Delivery, Returns and micro-warehousing. Clients that use their tech include Edgars, rain, TFG, Cape Union Mart, Clicks and HomeChoice.
Lars Veul is the CEO and co-founder of Pargo, a smart logistics platform that simplifies online delivery through its tech-enabled network of Pargo access points. Prior to starting Pargo, Lars was part of the founding team at Groupon, where he headed up the online marketplace, which exposed him to the challenges of online delivery. He is also an Alibaba eFounders fellow and is part of Endeavor.