Click-and-collect, a.k.a. BOPIS, boasts a number of very strong positives for both retailers and their customers. Retailers save on shipping costs while leveraging their in-store inventories to fulfill customer orders, while shoppers get the products they want without having to wait for a delivery. Additionally, during the worst of the pandemic, so-called “contactless” BOPIS and curbside pickup helped lower infection risks.
The trade-off for retailers, however, is that the more convenient they make the pickup process, the less likely shoppers are to spend more time — and hopefully more money — in the brick-and-mortar store. This cuts down on impulse purchases and reduces opportunities to build shopper awareness about new products or upcoming promotions.
Victoria’s Secret Chile, operated by Grupo Axo, recently implemented a click-and-collect program that appears to have solved this incremental sales paradox. Since launching the service at its four Santiago, Chile locations in February 2022, approximately 25% of online shoppers now choose the click-and-collect option — and that number is still on the rise, according to Thania Contreras, Ecommerce Manager at Grupo Axo.
Even more important for the retailer’s bottom line, these customers spend, on average, an additional 20% when they pick up their ecommerce orders. During special promotional periods, the incremental sales percentage has reached as high as 38%.
Prior to this, online orders had been fulfilled from a central distribution center. The new BOPIS offering is supported in the stores with an omnichannel pick-and-pack offering from VTEX, which has been providing a range of technology solutions for Victoria’s Secret Chile since October 2020. The next phase of the retailer’s embrace of omnichannel fulfillment will be to offer store-based shipping from multiple locations, which Contreras said will be ready for launch by the end of Q3 2022.
Riding the Incremental Sales Surge
A combination of store design and strong customer service helps Victoria’s Secret achieve these impressive numbers. “Our customers receive personalized attention from the store associates,” said Contreras in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “The checkout counter is located at the back of the store, and we do have ‘impulse buy’ items near the pickup area.”
These incremental sales come mainly from “products that the customer cannot [try out] online, like fragrances,” Contreras added, with some shoppers using their pickup trip to try a fragrance in-store that they later order online.
Recognizing this opportunity, Victoria’s Secret Chile is mobilizing and incentivizing its store associates. “We focus on our associates by reminding them of the value of incremental sales, an indicator that we constantly measure, and we run contests at different times of the year to encourage these sales,” said Contreras. “When we do, we see considerable growth in the volume of incremental sales. In the future, we may consider promoting these sales to the customer during major event periods [when] there is also more traffic in the stores.”
The click-and-collect solution also offers operational support for those high-traffic periods. “A side effect from clients that have already implemented this solution is that during peak times, they are able to manage 50% more orders in the same day than they used to using just the warehouse [for fulfillment],” said Mariano Gomide de Faria, Co-CEO of VTEX in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “That’s massive for the Christmas season. Many retailers can’t keep promising 24-hour deliveries and pickups in these high periods without [adding] click-and-collect, because it unlocks efficiency.”
Poor Delivery Ecosystem, Privacy Concerns Fuel Click-and-Collect Growth
Several factors also contribute to the success of this BOPIS offering for Victoria’s Secret Chile, including low consumer trust levels regarding deliveries. “In Mexico and emerging markets, the trust in the delivery [process] isn’t like it is in the U.S. — you’re often not sure if the package will arrive,” said Gomide de Faria. “If you can go to a store and pick up your own goods, that’s a big marketing pitch.”
There also are social and interpersonal factors in play. “We did a survey of buyers of luxury brands in beauty and intimate apparel, asking why they preferred store pickups rather than home deliveries,” said Gomide de Faria. “We expected their top reasons to be about speed and security, but their first choice was privacy. Victoria’s Secret items are delivered in a big fancy box, and many consumers don’t want people to know that they’re buying sexy lingerie. It might also be that they don’t want their husband to know that they’re spending so much money on this type of thing. The human factor introduces a new reality.”
VTEX is using the survey data to explore sending home deliveries in less flashy packaging for customers that want their purchase to be “undercover,” said Gomide de Faria.
Improving Store Operations Efficiency
Gomide de Faria believes the logical next step for VTEX is to provide solutions to support personal shoppers in the Victoria’s Secret stores. He explained how this could align with click-and-collect services: “When you place an order and do a pickup, you’ll receive a text two hours before that identifies that ‘Angela’ is here to support you — because the first question every customer has is, ‘Where do I do my pickup?’ If the text tells you to look for Angela, she has the package and it’s a direct connection.”
Extending this to a personal shopper interaction, “‘Angela’ would pop up with a message asking the customer ‘Do you want me to bring up three additional items and put them in try-on room number one?’ That way the shopper can experiment, test it out, then check out and put the item in the bag [with their online order],” said Gomide de Faria.