Target have a click & collect function on their web store and I find myself sometimes losing purpose when I go to their retail environment, so I decided to give it a go. The kids needed undies and I had seen a basket that it would be easier to just go and pick up rather than drag around the store. I finish my purchase online and as the delivery and payment options are coming up the pop up box on their web store tells me it will be up to 10 days before it’s ready for me to collect.

Yes, you heard right! DAYS not minutes, DAYS before my order would be ready.

Click & collect is time sensitive right?

I am amused, surely the point of click and collect is a little more ‘in the moment?’ I see it now; I’ll pick it up this afternoon, rather than wait for it to be delivered to my door. Well that’s how I expect it to work anyway.

I wonder why people bother with this, when it’s a 10 day wait but, for the experiment I go along for the ride. The text message arrives about 10 days later and I now have to remember to pick it up. It’s a bit more of an effort to remind myself to go past the store, whereas when I was in the purchase moment I had the mindset of “I can pick that up this afternoon,” it was part of the plan for the day.

The experience in store is perfectly polite. They have a little office off to the side so that you don’t have to go into the store proper but it’s a bit sterile and cold, kind of reminds me of the lost luggage department, and the store assistant who helps is lovely and suggests that checking the order has everything in it before leaving the store is a good idea, but there’s none of that interaction between the cashier and the customer that is part of the purchase in store. It’s a quick pick up and check and then off I go.

Very much a transaction

To continue the experiment, I gave Dan Murphys a try as well. Their web store was impressive; clear call out of what’s in stock and not. Options to change locations where you might want to pick up and the whole process is expected to take a couple of hours for the order to be ready. Yes, hours is more like what I’m expecting.

I got a text message less than an hour later letting me know it was ready for pick up.

I turned up to the store, where there was a clearly signed click and collect counter and had my phone open at the confirmation text that had been sent to me. The store assistant who served me was not interested in the order number, he wanted my ID instead. OK, I get it, so I hand over my driver’s licence and he sticks his head down behind the counter, I am wondering what he’s doing?

Can I give you the order number? I ask hoping that it’s helpful.

No response.

After a period of rummaging from him and from me, confusion and slight anxiety that he is taking a copy of my ID, his head pops back up. ‘Is this the way I spell my name?’ he wants to know, he is pointing at the licence. It’s a quirk of the RTA that the licence is spelt out in CAPS and so my surname appears as ‘MC C’ rather than ‘McC’ mostly, people can navigate this slight discrepancy. Not this guy. It was causing him all sorts of issues. I offered to give him the order number again. Again no response.

Finally, he manages to figure it out and appears with the paper printed out that has my details on it. So I sign the paper and acknowledge that the order is complete – which is all very fair and reasonable but I am left somewhat underwhelmed. It had been such a seamless easy process until I got to the store. Comparing this experience with others, I am told that it’s just me, that they have had a much better store experience.

Reflecting on these two purchases, I am left with a vaguely ‘flat’ feeling post pick up.

How can we make click & collect an interaction?

Not that I’m expecting waves of euphoria over everyday purchases from established businesses that are very much part of the retail landscape, but I think it lies somewhere in the connection between online and offline interaction. There’s that moment in store when you’re organising the money and the store associate makes some comment about the thing that you’re purchasing that lifts the experience from transaction to interaction. They admire your choice, or comment on the weather or one of those other little moments that creates a small connection. And it’s that connection that to me, at least is part of the validation of purchase. And it’s missing from the interactions I had with the stores after my purchase online.

I’ve done all the hard work of finding my product and putting it in the basket and paying for it and now I’m here in the store. Now what?

It’s like… You knew I was coming (to pick up) – have you prepared for me? No, no… Oh, well that’s not so exciting then.

I’m not exactly sure what the answer is here, and it clearly depends on the type of product that you’re ordering. There’s no, ‘would you like to try that on to check the fit?’ option for wine, and clearly for many the click and collect way of shopping is for saving time, so maybe the transactional approach is the right one.

It will be interesting to see how this evolves as so many more delivery and purchase options are woven into the retail experience.

There’s room for thought, and improvement I think.


Got a great click & collect experience? Please share or comment below.

Image credit: Clark Street Mercantile