Vosper: Click and collect is all the rage, but who collects when the customer clicks?

THE LEFT SIDE OF THE ATLANTIC: After a hard winter and brutal spring season which may or may not have arrived courtesy of global climate change, US retailers are coming into the 2019 selling season in earnest. Here are some items currently impacting the American market which may be of interest to our colleagues in the UK and Australia, from Rick Vosper 

With Specialized finally dropping the final remaining shoe back in March, all major brands are now engaged in stateside Click & Collect programmes. Problem is, it’s not clear whether net sales are actually increasing or if suppliers are just using C&C to siphon retailer margin dollars into their own pockets from sales that would have happened in any case. It will come as no surprise that brands embrace the former proposition while retailers strongly uphold the latter.

The situation has led to a couple of interesting pushbacks from dealers:

The first has to do with compensation rates, especially when changes to the customer’s original order are involved and/or replacement product has to be brought in, which can leave dealers with extra and/or difficult-to-turn inventory. Different suppliers compensate retailers for C&C sales at different rates, too, with Giant offering full retailer margin, according to  participating dealers. At some point, we can expect market forces to level rates out and the various players to develop best practices for exceptions. Or, in the words of American author Earnest Hemingway, isn’t it pretty to think so?

The second – and to my mind, more interesting – pushback is dealers developing their own Click & Collect programmes and competing directly with their own suppliers for acquisition of the same customers the supplier is trying to pre-empt. There are several US-based companies now offering turnkey web content/ e-commerce site support and POS integration programmes for retailers looking to beef up their online presence. Category leader SmartEtailing indicates it is currently studying expansion into the UK and Australian markets.

Stay tuned for more from Rick Vosper on Cycling Industry News. And catch up here.

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