Click-and-collect and home delivery proved to be essential during the coronavirus pandemic, correlating with a surge in online food retail sales. However, on-shelf availability can suffer as stores attempt to fulfil orders.
Keep reading to find out our top tips for managing increased online demand without letting in-store retail execution fall behind. We’ll focus on the importance of on-shelf availability in today’s competitive, omni-channel retail environment.
How retail stores have adapted to the ‘new normal’ by optimising click and collect and home delivery services
From surges in online grocery shopping and concerns about the safety of shoppers and retail staff to managing stock level issues and resource, retail stores have had their hands full during the pandemic. If we have discovered anything during these “unprecedented times”, it’s that agility is key for business survival and growth.
Since the onset of the pandemic, we have seen continual growth in the online share of grocery shopping in the UK, which reached a record high of 14% in January 2021. The ONS put this down to click and collect food orders, which have not only boosted sales but have been essential for retailers to survive in a competitive environment, where customer experience is more important than ever.
Why did online grocery shopping spike during the pandemic?
According to research conducted by Think With Google, customers faced more pain points shopping in–store (48%) as opposed to online (33%). Most in-store pain points were a direct result of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, including long queues in front of the store due to access restrictions.
Click–and–collect and home delivery have been appealing alternatives to shopping in–store, offering convenience, safety and speed. Customers could order all their essentials from the comfort of their home, then pick them up at a time and place that suits them, or book a home delivery. These options helped reduced in-person contact and avoided the tightening restrictions in physical shops.
As we enter a post-pandemic world, could the demand for click–and–collect and home delivery services fizzle out? We think not, especially considering the latest findings on consumer sentiment in the UK. In a recent study by McKinsey, online grocery shopping is expected to grow by 14% even after the Covid-19 situation has subsided.
What started as a fleeting trend is reshaping retail as we know it– check out our previous blog for more about how the pandemic has impacted our shopping behaviours. With the growing focus on omni–channel retailing, customer experience is more important than ever. A balance between online and in-store shopping is key here, as if one channel falls behind, they could let the whole side down.
What is omni-channel retail?
As Hubspot explains: “Omni-channel is defined as a multi-channel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated customer experience.”
Omni-channel retail attempts to meet the customer at their various touchpoints and unify their experience of your brand or shop– this could be via online channels, social media or in-store.
How has the high demand for click–and–collect and home delivery put pressure on stores maintaining stock levels and on-shelf availability?
The boost in click–and–collect and home delivery has put immense pressure on some stores, as stock can be taken from shelves to fulfil these orders. If resources in-store are already challenged, or stock isn’t replenished, on-shelf availability will suffer. This causes gaps in shelves, including main fixtures and point-of-purchase displays, where customers are more attracted to buy products.
As a result, your brand could lose sales and brand loyalty. . Stock gaps and empty shelves can be frustrating for customers and concerning for brands, as their products need to be in the right place at the right time to make sales. If customers can’t find their favourite brands, they could opt for a competitor’s brand that is in stock, but worse still, with the substitution system that applies to both click and collect and home delivery services, if your brand is not on -shelf, the picker is required to choose a ‘suitable alternative’ on behalf of the consumer You won’t only lose sales if this happens, you could potentially lose customer loyalty, too.
Therefore, (and we can’t stress this enough) on-shelf availability is not something to take lightly and should be a priority as we enter a future of competitive omni–channel retail.
More brands are avoiding lost sales of their products in-store while reaping the benefits of online sales. What are they doing right, you might ask?
With the right field sales team, in-store insights and stock level support, your brand can get on the right track to ensure a seamless customer experience and maximise sales. That’s where Logobrand comes in.
We offer help with:
- Identifying stores that really need your support and pinpointing products that are experiencing availability issues, out of stocks and therefore lost sales
- Fixing those on-shelf availability gaps by deploying an agile field representative to store to tackle those retailer compliance or stock replenishment issues by:
- Merchandising stock on shelf and ensuring stock inventory is maximised to allow regular replenishment
- Regaining share of shelf. We’ll ensure the correct number of facings are present to keep your customers engaged and the shelves fully stocked
- Ensuring SELs are present and correct. If the price isn’t visible, your product won’t be picked
- Increasing visibility. With additional sites and visual merchandising, your product sales will soar
At Logobrand, our dedicated team of field marketing experts will help you maximise sales in-store and deliver a positive return on your investment. We’re really proud of the clients we’ve worked with, including some of Britain’s best-loved brands. We don’t like to toot our own horn, but our recent wins of six different awards at the FMBE awards, including GOLD in Field Marketing Agency of the Year, speak for themselves…
If you’d like to find out how to maximise sales in–store, get in touch with a member of our friendly team today.