The boom of Click & Collect is here to stay. At an all-time high, Click & Collect has become the new norm as customers remain cautious as we come out of lockdown. Pretty much every business than can has pivoted to online to either support a bricks and mortar store or as e-commerce only offering. During lockdown, our team tried several different companies to assess the click and collect experience. From fashion brands to FMCG, beauty to pet food, DIY to fresh produce.
Mitre 10 knocked click and collect out of the park and were the clear winner in our unscientific test. Working with large volumes of customers and products, they set out a clearly marked drive-thru with a time allocation given to customers for pick up of click & collect orders. It was and is still seamless and easy, staff are well trained, pleasant and helpful, they also maintained social distancing and all COVID-19 protocols. Animates was another winner in the click and collect stakes, and both companies thrived and exceeded customer expectations.
However, another giant chain clearly struggled and cracked under the pressure. The Warehouse was the worst experience, struggling with out-of-stocks, they took over three weeks to organise a time to collect a small Click & Collect order. When an allocated time to pick up was finally given, it was the same as rocking up without a timeslot at all. Disorganised chaos ensued as the dedicated Click & Collect store in Newmarket was clearly overwhelmed. Staff were untrained, no system was in place, and the orders all seemed to be dumped in an empty room, staff having to wade through a huge volume of packages to find an order.
The dog was barking and the tail was wagging but unfortunately, they were not in sync. In sheer frustration, after waiting nearly an hour, the click and collect had to be abandoned as when they did manage to find the package, the item was broken from being tossed around the storage area. Giant wooden crates overflowed with packages of all sizes, looking worse than a teenager's bedroom.
When retail was allowed to reopen its doors, we all put on our big girl pants and braved the Westfield's 277 in Newmarket to see how new health and safety protocols were being implemented. Highly commended in this, was Country Road. They had a roped lead-in area ready for customers to maintain social distance, sign in and sanitise. A separate exit path was also roped off.
One of our team did have an unfortunate experience, where a manager of a business was not wearing a mask and continued to converse with customers without a mask and not socially distanced. When asked, the manager aggressively said: “I’m not wearing a ******* mask all day.”
Well, they certainly shouldn’t be open for business. Everyone knows it's not fun to wear a mask, it's hot, uncomfortable and hell in the heat (and it fogs up glasses!). No one wants to be working wearing a mask all day, but until there is another option this is it at the moment given the times we are living in. It is an extremely privileged position to be in to not be affected by the pandemic, have a family member or friend with COVID-19 or not be impacted by the financial cost that the pandemic is taking. Wearing a mask is not just about business or even Government mandates, it's about looking after the person next to you. Being considerate and careful, actually giving a damn that your actions have consequences, not just for you and your family, but for your customers, for strangers, for those immune-compromised or already unwell. No one wants to be responsible for someone getting or dying of COVID-19.
If you don’t want to wear a mask, follow safety protocols and get into line with the majority of New Zealanders, close up shop and stay home.
We are not out of the woods yet and watching what is happening overseas new variants of the virus are on the way to us. So toughen up, pull on your mask, have comprehensive systems in place that are fluid and can be moved up and down the scale as needed. Be prepared, make sure that you are ready for all Let’s make some money in a socially distanced and safe way. It is not business as usual, subsidies are pretty much over under the traffic light system, and business commentators are of the opinion that 2022 is going to be challenging, so buckle up, it’s going to be one hell of a year.