Avoid a nightmare before Christmas: How Click + Collect can ease the festive period for retailers 

Nightmare before Christmas

Nightmare before Christmas on Oxford Street

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but for retailers, it can be the most challenging time of the year. The Christmas season rush is notorious for overcrowded stores, overwhelmed delivery services and overworked staff – and the turbulence of the past few years means it’s even harder for retailers to plan the right strategy and meet the heightened demands of consumers.

As the landscape continues to evolve at a rapid pace, it’s essential that retailers invest in solutions that enable market agility year-on-year. Lessons can be learned from Christmases past and present that will shape the business model for Christmases future – and one game-changing solution to ease the festive chaos is the introduction of Click + Collect smart lockers.

By addressing challenges such as long lines, staff deployment, delivery logistics and overall customer experience, smart lockers pave the way for a more successful holiday season. In a time when customer convenience is paramount, they help retailers not only survive the Christmas rush but also thrive in the face of unprecedented future change.

The Christmas Shopping Challenge

The Christmas shopping period inevitably causes a surge of traffic to both online and physical stores, which in turn presents retailers with several hurdles to navigate:

Overcrowded stores

Customer expectations are higher than ever before. Driven by the desire for speed and convenience, shoppers want a seamless shopping journey, regardless of the time of year. The influx of shoppers at Christmas often leads to overcrowded stores, longer-than-usual queues and a stressful shopping environment, which impacts on the overall experience.

Arguably, consumers will have even less time and patience during the stressful Christmas period. When you consider that 96% of shoppers will switch to a competitor if they experience bad customer service, it’s even more imperative for retailers to maintain exceptional customer service and provide an enjoyable shopping journey.

Overwhelmed delivery services

The most obvious challenge that retailers encounter during the Christmas season is the fluctuation in consumer demand. Whether it’s a physical or online stockroom, retailers frequently grapple with the last-minute rush, making it challenging to manage inventory effectively and ensure stock is available and delivered when customers want it.

The surge in online orders also puts immense pressure on delivery services, as was the case in 2022. This overwhelming demand means customers face delays, leaving them frustrated and anxious about receiving their purchases on time. While this is often out the retailer’s control, the perception of the bad experience lies at their door in the eyes of the consumer.

Overworked staff

Store employees face increased pressure to manage crowds, handle inquiries and process transactions promptly, so the Christmas season usually necessitates an increase in staffing levels. Finding and training temporary workers can be a significant challenge, and ensuring that these employees are well-equipped to handle the influx of customers is crucial.

Deploying staff in the right areas to ensure peaks and troughs in customer flow are handled efficiently is one of the biggest challenges that retailers face during the festive period. The usual patterns of consumer behaviour change at Christmas and it can be very difficult to keep up with the fluctuations in traffic throughout the store.

Click + Collect as a solution

Enter Click + Collect smart lockers, a solution that bridges the gap between online and in-store shopping, allowing for a seamless customer journey in an omnichannel strategy. The model has gained immense popularity in recent times, allowing customers to shop online and collect their purchases at a time and location of their choice.

Smart lockers have not only reshaped the way people shop but has also presented an opportunity for retailers to streamline their operations during peak seasons like Christmas. Here are the benefits that Click + Collect smart lockers can bring to the retail environment during the festive period and beyond:

Increased convenience

Customer convenience should be top priority for all retailers and Click + Collect is one of the best ways to provide it. During the busy and stressful Christmas season when time is of the essence, smart lockers eliminate the need to wait in long queues or navigate crowded stores. Customers collect at a time and place that suits their individual needs, thus contributing to a stress-free shopping experience.

Reduced congestion

Packed stores and lengthy queues are synonymous with Christmas shopping, and when a retailer’s Click + Collect is facilitated via a traditional in-store collection desk, this only adds to the chaos. Smart lockers alleviate this congestion. Clix smart lockers use unique mobile-based technology that eliminates customer queues entirely, providing the speediest customer collection available on the market today.

Efficient deployment

With traditional collection desks removed from store and Click + Collect lockers installed, retailers are far better equipped to manage staff deployment more efficiently. Employees that were previously manning desks, regardless of peaks and troughs in traffic, can be reassigned elsewhere in store. This eases the pressure of the busy festive period and results in an overall improvement in operational efficiency.

Improved accessibility

The holiday season is hectic, and customers may find it challenging to adhere to store operating hours. Click + Collect lockers address this issue by providing the option of 24/7 accessibility. Customers can collect their orders at any time, whether it’s early morning, late at night, or even on Christmas Day itself. This flexibility is particularly valuable during the festive period when time constraints are a common concern.

Streamlined fulfilment

Swift and efficient order fulfilment is key to managing the increased demand during the holidays. Click + Collect lockers streamline the process, allowing staff to organise and place orders in the lockers systematically. The Clix Progressive Web App easily imports data from internal systems, reducing admin time, removing the risk of human error and making locker allocation and order fulfilment as quick and accurate as possible.

Boosted sales

While the primary goal of Click + Collect smart lockers is to efficiently fulfil online orders, many retailers also find that their presence in the omnichannel shopping strategy entices more shoppers into the store during the festive period.  Customers arriving to collect orders are inclined to look around the store whilst there, leading to additional impulse buys and boosting the retailer’s sales.

Better agility

As the last few years have clearly demonstrated, no two Christmases are the same and buyer behaviour changes depending on various external influences. The Clix smart locker systems provides real-time insights showing customer behaviour and preferences that can inform future marketing and business decisions, as well as aiding inventory management and product offerings, so adapting during different periods of trading is far easier.

In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, adapting to new trends and technologies is crucial for success. Click + Collect smart lockers represent a significant step forward in providing a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience, especially during the demanding Christmas season. By embracing this innovative solution, retailers can not only meet the challenges posed by holiday shopping but also create a solid foundation for future growth.