The Scottish Government has limited click & collect to stores selling essential items. They have also asked that all retailers offering click & collect services ensure that times for customer collection are staggered and that all pick ups are done outside. Hospitality has also been handed additional restrictions with takeaways now only available for pick up outside. Elsewhere in the UK, John Lewis was the first to decide to suspend collections from its own stores (although collection will still be available from branches of Waitrose) with JD Sports, Joules, Fat Face and Topshop also announcing restrictions to their click & collect offering this weekend.
Both the actions by the Scottish Government and retailers are efforts to limit human contact as people wait in queues for pick up. Currently there are no plans for Westminster to evoke similar measures but I wouldn’t be surprised if more big-brand retail, especially those with branches north of the border, adjust their click & collect service, relying on post offices and newsagents or offering exterior pick up as well as specific time slots where possible.
Businesses have had a lot to wrangle in time for the new Scottish regulations coming into action. Those businesses at scale or who are based within a shopping centre and may not have easy access to an exterior will find the fast deadline a particular challenge. So will retailers decide not to offer click & collect and instead stick strictly to delivery? Possibly in the short term but click & collect is too important a proposition to be removed for long. In 2019, GlobalData research estimated that click & collect would be worth £9.8 billion by 2023. Last week, Tesco announced that the week of the 9th of January saw the grocer beat their all-time previous records for click & collect. The ability to be able to order online and collect in store or via a locker has become assumed by shoppers who want a “start anywhere, finish anywhere experience,” while stores, in non-Covid times, can use click & collect to increase footfall and potentially make incremental sales.
At Scala, we recognize the importance of click & collect for consumers as well as business and are exploring the ways in which click & collect can be adapted to suit different stores, circumstances and customer needs. One of my favourite spins on traditional collection is a parking lot activation model activation where, using a mix of personal devices, digital signage and shop devices, customers can drive into a car park, be directed to a spot and then, after having their order and identity verified have their order placed directly into the boot of their car, minimizing contact for both customers and staff.
Parking lot activation is just one of the tools that Scala has in its kit. We’re happy to talk to retailers impacted by the Scottish Government’s latest measures or to anyone curious about the future of click & collect and how Scala solutions can help reduce waste and grow business.
Darren Cremins is a Senior Sales Director at Scala for the UK and Ireland regions. As 20+ year digital signage industry expert, Darren primarily helps retailers engage with their customers. Throughout his nearly 10 years with Scala, Darren has developed a strong focus on combining not only the Scala solutions, but the complete STRATACACHE family of solutions into the UK & Ireland market in this ever-changing world of marketing technology and digital signage.