By Oliver Rowbory, co-founder of Goodtill (www.thegoodtill.com)
The COVID-19 pandemic has proven just how resilient and agile businesses can be. Many have turned to technology adoption to ensure continued running of businesses and ultimately, survival throughout lockdown. In fact, this adoption has been so vast that a recent survey by McKinsey found that COVID-19 has accelerated technology uptake by seven years.This level of investment has allowed organisations to completely rethink the way they operate.
The widespread adoption of the click & collect model is a perfect example of innovation in the hospitality industry over the last 12 months.While not a new technology, before the pandemic click & collect had largely
been seen as a non-essential service. As such, a technology that was primarily used by only the largest and most established brands has quickly become democratised. Now, the UK click & collect market is forecast to reach £9.6 billion in 2023.
Click & collect is a tried and tested model, and its seamless adoption has proven that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to evolving a business. However, done well, these platforms allow businesses to deliver the same services they used to as a physical entity – only moving the service online and automating a wide-range of operations.
ENABLING A CONSUMER-FIRST MODEL
Customers are at the heart and soul of the hospitality industry. As restaurants, bars and venues have relied on their continued support throughout the pandemic, these businesses have shifted their focus towards finding the most safe and convenient ways to serve customers.
Click & collect has become a facilitator in those efforts. A year on and COVID-19 is still having a dev- astating impact on the sector, but click & collect platforms are ensuring customers can order from wherever they feel safest: be it their homes, while out on their daily walks, or even from their tables within venues.
When partnered with contactless payment and contactless pickup, click & collect is providing both a COVID safe solution for transactions as well as an extremely convenient channel for consumers. As such, the popularity of click & collect has increased significantly.
ADDING VALUE WHERE IT MATTERS
A reliable click & collect platform can manage in- person transactions and table ordering, but it can simultaneously help to build a solid online model that helps to expand sales beyond the physical premises.
By introducing this digital aspect, not only does click & collect reaffirm its convenience to consumers while expanding the business’ customer base, but it grants access to data that would otherwise not be attainable from standard point of sale.
By leveraging customer insights, hospitality businesses can manage dynamic menus, run more effective promotions, offer coupons or discounts based on customer preferences and integrate with plat- forms such as Deliveroo and Uber Eats to save on delivery costs. Access to these kinds of value-add services promotes customer loyalty and supports business growth – even in trying times.
SETTING UP FOR LONG TERM SUCCESS
Pivoting to a click & collect model and opening the door to digital services offers a highly efficient route to attracting new and returning customers. It has played a vital role in not only helping business to continue operating through the pandemic, but to grow at a time when many would have thought this impossible.
When lockdown is lifted and it is once again safe to have consumers fill the streets, it is anticipated that contactless payments and online ordering will become a government requirement.Those business- es that have developed a reliable click & collect service will be in a strong position to continue to expand operations.With the vaccine rollout gaining ground, it seems that we are now on the road to real recovery for the hospitality sector.Those that have been utilising click & collect technology will be able to quickly pivot from short-term business continuity applications to long-term growth enablement.