Marks & Spencer is responding to rising customer demand for click and collect with a new digital click and collect and returns service that it plans to roll out to 78 stores this year.
The new service is first being trialled at 22 shops, and comes as more customers are now buying online to pick up in store. It will be extended to a further 56 shops ahead of Christmas.
At the same time, M&S is launching a mobile-friendly approach to returns that it says will cut average return times by 60%.
Using the new service, shoppers use in-store screens to check in when they come to pick up their online order. Staff are alerted with a message that tells them where the parcel can be found, enabling them to pick it up more quickly. The service means that shoppers no longer need to queue at the collection desk, while staff can be serving other shoppers in-store instead of waiting at the collection desk. Returns can also be managed through the self-service screens, where shoppers process their return before dropping the item into a returns tray.
Steve Kemp, head of digital retail at M&S, said: “Customers are looking for quick and convenient solutions like the option to click & collect on their terms when they want – which is now the number one choice for orders on M&S.com. At M&S we’re building a seamless omnichannel network so that customers can shop however they choose with us, and with the rollout of new digital click & collect and returns we’re making it even faster, meaning it’s never been easier to shop our range of fantastic products.”
A parallel revamp of returns allows them to be managed through a mobile-friendly approach that enables shoppers to choose how they’d like to return an item. Options include through a clothing and home store at any till or through one of the new self-service digital in-store points, at the helpdesk in a food store, via post or through collection from the home.
Neil Phillips, M&S head of post purchase experience, says: “As we continue to grow M&S.com it’s pivotal we utilise our omnichannel advantage – offering our customers seamless interaction between online and in-store touch points. Today the majority of M&S.com orders are collected and, if needed, returned in a store.
“Our new paperless returns journey means however a customer wants to return an item it’s simple, quick and works well on a mobile – offering efficient omnichannel shopping whether you’re buying M&S or one of our partner brands on our platform. Customers will always want to try different sizes & styles and making it easier to return means we’re making it easier to buy with M&S.”
M&S is an Elite retailer in RXUK Top500 research.