eRetail / Part 1: Retail in transition ? Are cross-channel services the answer?
16 october

eRetail / Part 1: Retail in transition? Are cross-channel services the answer?

The constant availability of goods online is a concern for retailers. Many are responding to the "change in retail" with cross-channel services.

There is currently a change from the trade buyer to the selective buyer. While the trade buyer was loyal to his retailer, the brand, the branch and he enquired at the station, received advice and then also bought there, the selective buyer has a completely different buying behaviour.

In times when the internet is always available, the customer buys very spontaneously, wherever he wants. The decisive factor is not only where the product is cheapest, but also when the customer can hold it in his hands, what information or reviews can be obtained where and how easy it is to return it if he is not satisfied.

This is where brick-and-mortar retail can start to regain lost ground. Currently, it is assumed that declines in sales can only be compensated by increases in sales with cross-channel services.

Cross-channel services: Order, pick up, buy, reserve?

But opinions differ on the description of the services alone. There is no uniform definition of what is meant by such a service. Click&Collect can mean, for example, something as different as

? Order and pick up
? Buy and collect
? Reserve and pick up

But according to a recent study by ECC Cologne1 , 65 % of the shoppers surveyed have no idea what to make of this term anyway ? they have never heard it before. So it seems to be necessary to present and explain the services that are now being offered more and more frequently to the customer in a very transparent way.

My bookseller understands Click&Collect to mean that I choose the book I want in his wholesaler's web shop and then have it delivered to his branch overnight. At this point, I have not yet concluded a purchase contract. The next day, I can take my time to look at the book and try it out. Only if I like it do I buy the book, which is then invoiced via the cash register system with connected merchandise management (provided by the wholesaler) and at the same time leads to a reduction in stock.

With other retailers, the conclusion of a purchase via Click&Collect leads to a purchase contract, which usually even results in the payment of the purchase price at the checkout. - that is, at the checkout.

From a legal point of view, these are two completely different processes with the same name. Now, in practice, it hardly makes any difference which
model comes into play, as they all follow the example of Amazon and take back purchased goods without any ifs and buts and refund the purchase price without any deductions.

But in my work I have also come across dealers whose aim is to put as many hurdles as possible in the way of a return. That's good advice after all,
if you look a little closer. If you don't want to do that, or if it's too much of a hassle for you, you can just buy from Amazone and Co.

It is therefore important to describe the services offered very carefully so that the customer understands what is being offered.

1 The ECC Köln (E-Commerce Centre) is a research and consulting initiative at the Institut für
Retail Research (IFH) at the University of Cologne

For the right software support here more to ERP industry solutions for the retail sector.

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