Taking click and collect to next level requires foresight and consistency
By Nigel Crunden, Business Specialist at Office Depot
The popularity of click and collect is at an...
By Nigel Crunden, Business Specialist at Office Depot
The popularity of click and collect is at an all-time high as retailers, suppliers and logistics partners closely coordinate efforts to meet high levels of demand for shorter delivery times. This can prove challenging but with the right level of effort and organisation, click and collect represents a major opportunity for all concerned.
According to recent research by Frost and Sullivan, the global business-to-business (B2B) online retail market is expected to reach double the size of the business-to-consumer (B2C) online market by 2020.
As part of this, there is the potential for click and collect to complement the approach to ordering products and services that businesses typically take. Although many are likely to have preferred supplier agreements in place for monthly or weekly deliveries, business needs can change at a moment’s notice. Where an agreed supplier cannot meet spontaneous demand on the same day, making individual purchases via click and collect can make sense. The popularity of click and collect means that stock is more likely to be available and the need to rely on a delivery is eliminated, thereby cutting back on delays.
While retailers need to order sufficient amounts of stock, the right level of supplier input is crucial if B2B demand for click and collect is to increase. Retailers need to ensure that they are able to manage larger volumes of stock internally but, in turn, their vendors need to have their own monitoring systems in place to ensure replenishments are made without halting service levels in their tracks.
Suppliers also have a role to play in advising retail customers about the e-commerce aspects of their click and collect services in a bid to make them simple to use; incorporating them into a seamless omnichannel experience with the same excellent level of service, no matter which purchase route is taken. When a user-friendly service is matched with high levels of availability, business customers are far easier to attract and retain. However, achieving this is only possible if suppliers and retailers work in close collaboration and to specified key performance indicators (KPIs). The more fickle nature of business purchasing means that customers are unlikely to return if they have just one bad experience – so putting in the time to formulate a flawless service can really pay off.
Logistics providers are also under pressure to play their part in making the process as easy as possible for the end user – which can be challenging. At one time, delivery firms only had to concern themselves with moving bulk orders to individual stores and working to a regular timetable. Multichannel, which includes the click and collect route, has obviously made things far more complex as shoppers demand goods to be delivered to more destinations than ever before. This puts pressure on critical ‘last mile’ delivery costs, which can be three quarters of the total cost involved. With PwC predicting that the popularity of click and collect will grow by 12 per cent in the UK by 2018, this is only likely to increase. Playing a part in this means that logistics firms should ensure they have the capacity to cover increased levels of mileage as a matter of urgency.
Retailers, suppliers and logistics handlers are under greater pressure than ever to facilitate a ‘right first time’ service if click and collect business customers are to be acquired and retained in the long-term. This requires strong, consultative relationships to be in place amongst businesses in these sectors. However, trial and error is not really an option, especially when it comes to the likelihood of losing out to the competition if the service is not up to scratch. The good news is that click and collect is not a completely new phenomenon. This means that in many cases the service will have had time to improve in line with the needs of customers. This is no reason to be complacent so regular internal checks, as well as being more agile about addressing customer feedback, will be an essential part of capitalising on this opportunity.
Formed by the merger of Office Depot and OfficeMax, Office Depot, Inc. is a leading global provider of products, services, and solutions for every workplace.
The company has combined annual sales of approximately $17 billion, employs about 66,000 associates, and serves consumers and businesses in 59 countries with more than 2,200 retail stores.
For more information about Office Depot, please visit: www.officedepot.eu
Will Public Procurement Budgets Increase in 2021?
Procurement is more than just a private enterprise. COVID-19 reminded us that sourcing materials is an essential part of the government’s role. Throughout 2022, tiny departments sourced massive amounts of personal protective equipment (PPE), medical supplies, and emergency vaccines and testing kits. Even non-procurement professionals were pulled into the fray, as frantic timelines demanded nothing less.
According to Celeste Frye, co-founder and CEO of Public Works Partners, the crisis brought procurement to the attention of skilled employees who had never considered it. As non-procurement personnel stepped up to help their coworkers, many found that they’d stumbled upon a critical and rewarding job. “Existing public employees have seen the essential nature of the work”, Frye said. “[They’ve] gained some critical skills and possibly [grown] interested in pursuing procurement as a longer-term career”.
Small, Local Suppliers Take Charge
Frye, whose firm helps organisations engage stakeholders and develop long-term procurement strategies, thinks it well worth the effort to open one’s mind to new opportunities. Cooperative contracts, for instance, can help public departments and municipalities save money, time, and effort. By joining together with other towns or cities in the region, public procurement teams aggregate their purchasing power and can drive better deals.
These cooperative contracts have the added benefit of advancing equity. Smaller suppliers that struggle to compete with established firms for government contracts can act as subcontractors, helping big suppliers fulfil bits of the project. Once they get their foot in the door, small, local, and disadvantaged suppliers can then leverage that government relationship to take on additional projects.
Especially as governments start to pay attention to procurement resilience, public procurement departments must expand their requests for proposals (RFPs) to take into account innovative solutions and diverse suppliers. According to Frye, Public Works Partners—a certified female-owned firm—has benefitted from local and state requirements that specify diversity.
Post-Pandemic Funding Swells Procurement Budgets
And the pandemic won’t be the end of it. City governments need to build sustainable energy infrastructure such as solar panels, charging stations, and recycling plants, ensure that masks and medicines are never in short supply, and source new technologies to keep up with cloud and cybersecurity concerns.
Public procurement budgets will likely increase to match demand. As Peter Ware, Partner and Head of Government at Browne Jacobson, explained, “in a non-pandemic world, the [U.K.] government spends on average around £290 billion on outsourced services, goods, and works...anywhere between 10% and 14% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Post-pandemic, city procurement will only increase as national governments provide local divisions with emergency funding.
And in truth, government employees might jump at the opportunity. Frye noted that public procurement could give immediate feedback on new programmes: “[Procurement] is where new laws and policies ‘hit the road’ and are implemented”, she said. “Professionals in these fields get the satisfaction of creating real change and seeing quantifiable outcomes of their work”.