Click & collect delivers something new to the supply chain, says Crimson & Co

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The explosive growth of click & collect services in the UK represents an opportunity for the retail sector to do away with overly complicated delivery strategies, and ultimately relieve pressure on an organisations supply chain, according to Nick Miller, head of FMCG at Crimson & Co.

Recent forecasts by strategic consultancy firm OC&C have highlighted that by 2017, click & collect parcels will account for 30% of non-food deliveries, equivalent to a growth of 60% per year between 2012 and 2017 compared to 5% per year for home deliveries. Miller said this shift is welcomed by the retail sector and should serve as an opportunity for organisations to re-evaluate existing supply chains as those that fail to adopt these market changes risk being left behind by their more savvy competitors:

“The growth in click & collect is increasingly putting power back in the hand of the consumer as they seek convenience over speed, and it is imperative that the retail world reacts to this.

“Traditionally the ease of online ordering has put huge pressures on an organisations supply chain, notably when it comes to deliveries. It is not unfair to describe the delivery process as a logistical minefield. The proliferation of tablets and smartphone devices mean the emphasis is placed on speed of service, as consumers require products to be sourced faster and delivered quicker – click & collect actually moves away from this, ultimately relieving the pressure on the supply chain process.

“For retailers, click & collect removes the headaches traditionally associated with online deliveries freeing them up to leverage their physical assets and increase store footfall. In doing so customers can be drawn back into shops to collect orders, cutting out the delivery process but also opening up the potential for spontaneous shopping.

“The click & collect approach is already being widely adopted by the big supermarkets and retail chains, and all evidence suggests that this is here to stay. In light of this, it is imperative that retailers use this as an opportunity to re-evaluate their existing supply chain processes to see where changes can be made to reflect changing consumer trends.

“As click & collect evolves we expect the pick-up-points to evolve with this. Train stations, schools and even consumers’ own cars could be the collection points of the future. Retailers must be prepared to forge relationships with some unconventional partners in pursuit of better serving the customer, and those that recognise this now stand most to profit.”