Longacres garden centre offers new supermarket-style click and collect

Longacres has become the UK's first garden centre to offer an automated "Drive In" Click & Collect service.

Longacres click and collect
Longacres click and collect

Collectec has provided the product to help Longacres manage an increasing number of web orders placed for collection in store, and offer a more convenient service for customers wanting to buy heavy compost, bark and lawn care products.

The Bagshot, Surrey, garden centre has a dedicated drive in lane and parking bays helping bring down the average time for a collecting customer to check-in to nine seconds, with the need to find a car parking space, walk into the store, queue and explain to the staff their request being completely removed through the introduction of the new service.

The outdoor touch screen kiosk also enables customers to order compost and other garden supplies that can be brought out to their vehicle. Live information from the car park kiosk is sent to store staff who carry Collectec mobile devices. They can then see the customer name, order reference and parking bay number, all the information they need to fulfil the collection request quickly.

Collectec designed both the customer and staff journey, and installed the customer kiosk and mobile solutions in one day without any impact on store operations.

Longacres ecommerce manager Mike Ainley said Longacres hopes to expand the service to all the products in-store. He says the main advantage is avoiding having to wait for delivery after ordering online. He added that drive-through weekend service where staff load compost and other bulky items into cusotmers' cars is now a daily service:

"The Collectec solution has revolutionised our collection service reducing average customer collection time by over 50 per cent to just five minutes. It’s also improved staff efficiency by removing dedicated staff from the collection point and enabling any available staff member to be alerted to a collection customer and take their order straight to their car.

He added: "The Collectec team showed a real understanding of Click & Collect and understood the customer and operational challenges we faced, they used this to tailor their system to work perfectly for us and our customers."

Collectec managing director Jolyon Platts said: "Our Click & Collect solution is designed to offer huge benefits to customers and retailers. Supermarkets, Garden Centres and high street retailers are all seeing an explosion in online ordering and store collections are extremely convenient for busy customers.  We provide the retailer with a cost saving efficient solution and reward their customers with a fast, simple and convenient collection service."

Collectec are a UK retail solutions company whose founders were the original designers of the Drive In Click & Collect solutions used by Tesco and ASDA.

Colletec director Craig Bloomfield said Collectec approahed Longacres with the concept, adding that he hopes to roll out the model to other garden centres. He said the model was not very  different to supermarkets and does not need dedicated staff. Staff can continue with their work until alterted that a car is ready for its order.

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