There is no doubt COVID-19 is significantly affecting the way people shop in-store and online, and this correlates to a shift in e-commerce trends. As society awaits daily news headlines with direction around restrictions of movement, there has never been such a high amount of people limited to shopping online, or alternatively utilising ‘Click & Collect’. That is, ordering goods online and going to a store to pick them up.
‘Click & Collect’ is also referred to as BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store) or curbside pickup. One advantage of this, in the current COVID climate, is that it limits in-store interactions and maintains the required levels of social distancing. Big retail players like Woolworths are taking advantage of ‘Click & Collect’ during this time. The retail giant recently opened 700 Community Pick up locations for Priority Assistance customers to place an order online for someone to pick up on their behalf. These are the types of measures that will provide inclusion during this difficult time.
In terms of how current purchasing changes affect business in general, some industries will be thriving from the current COVID-19 crisis including grocery & liquor, health & beauty and homeware & appliances. In a recent analysis, KPMG highlighted the growth potential of these industries when it comes to e-commerce. The acceleration of growth will highly depend on how well-equipped these types of business are when it comes to selling online.
In this blog, we are going to explain how to set up Click & Collect on your BigCommerce website so that you can give your customers safer access to your products in a COVID-19 world.
Can I set up Click & Collect on a BigCommerce store?
Technically, yes. At a basic level, BigCommerce provides the Shipping Method option for ‘Curbside Pickup’. This can be managed in the BigCommerce admin area.
For a more complex solution, Click & Collect can be met through an integration with a 3rd party Middleware software that essentially becomes the engine that drives the online inventory management system.
How to setup Basic Click & Collect (Curbside Pickup) in BigCommerce?
A SME may want to use the BigCommerce out-of-the-box solution to Click & Collect (Curbside Pickup) and this can be managed simply through the Store Setup section of the BigCommerce admin.
This option is best for businesses who can easily manage inventory and have one or two curbside pickup locations. The steps are as follows:
- Navigate to Store Setup > Shipping
- Add a Shipping Method
- Edit what the Shipping Method is called (be specific as this is the label displayed on the website frontend)
- Toggle on and Save
Order fulfilment for Basic Click & Collect (Curbside Pickup) in BigCommerce?
When a customer chooses the Curbside Pickup option the Order Status will be changed to ‘Awaiting Pickup’. If the pickup requires any specific information the website manager can add these into the Order Notes section of the ‘Awaiting Pickup’ notification email. Otherwise, the Curbside Pickup option will assume the store’s physical retail location.
How to setup Advanced Click & Collect (Curbside Pickup) in BigCommerce?
The advanced Click & Collect solution is the integration of a 3rd party Middleware software. This option is best for large enterprises that have multiple store locations.
The Middleware’s function is to receive the store-based inventory of all stores offering a Click & Collect service. The source of this information could derive directly from the ERP or from a PIM. There are various Middleware solutions that are capable of implementing Click & Collect for mid-sized to large enterprise businesses. The solution we will describe here has been built using the Laravel Framework.
Planning the Advanced Click & Collect order fulfilment process
It is important to plan your order fulfilment process before you implement the technical functionality for Click & Collect. This will help avoid any oversights when it comes to coding and streamlines the user experience.
Some questions to ask when planning the order fulfilment process are:
- How will you identify what is a Click & Collect order in the system*?
- How does the in-store purchasing process work?
- How will staff accept/decline the Click & Collect order in store?
- How long will it take for in-store staff to check stock levels and accept the Click & Collect order?
- What is the process for when a product is unavailable or a Click & Collect order can not be fulfilled?
- Where is the source of truth for inventory levels?
*In the case of Wittner Shoes, the shipping method is detected in Comestri where a prefix is added to the order number e.g. CCxxxxxx
Planning and creating your Tech Stack
In order to achieve a seamless Click & Collect setup, it is best to plan and create your Tech Stack; that is, a workflow diagram that outlines how various systems will integrate in order to achieve the desired process.
For example, when Matter developed the Click & Collect functionality for Wittner Shoes we documented the required systems that would be needed. We then linked them according to how they would work together to reach the desired outcome.
For Wittner Shoes, the inventory source of truth is the Harmony (ERP). BigCommerce would make an API call to Comestri (PIM) to recognise if a store had inventory. An order would then be placed and pushed through to Comestri (PIM).
The role of the Middleware application
The Middleware’s main function is to provide store and inventory data and options to the customer.
The process is as follows:
- A customer nominates a store they want to collect from (it could be set to their favourite store if they are a logged-in customer).
- Comestri (PIM) provides store-based inventory to the custom Laravel application so that the system can provide store-based inventory and click and collect location options on a Product Details Page (PDP). It then provides this data (via a live call) on the checkout.
- When an order is created, the Middleware application is notified from BigCommerce Webhooks and processes the order.
- After processing, the Middleware application sends the notification to the customer and calls the inventory platform API to decrease stock quantity.
Communicating the Click & Collect process with in-store staff
Once you have planned and implemented the technical requirements, set up the Middleware connections and are ready to go live, it is important to communicate the order process with in-store staff.
In the case of Wittner Shoes, staff receive an email notification that a Click & Collect order has been placed. Staff then click on the link in the email which allows them to Accept or Decline the order. An Accepted order flows through to BigCommerce via the Middleware and the order status is changed to Awaiting Pickup. An order that is Declined is flagged in the Middleware as an order than must be automatically sent to the customer via express post, free of charge.
In conclusion, the Curbside Pickup order fulfilment option is an inclusive way to deliver products to your customers. Not only can it save you costs on shipping, but it also plays an important role in the current COVID-19 climate.
Do you have any questions about how to set up Click & Collect on your BigCommerce store? Get in touch with us here.