M&S further digitises order collection and returns in major overhaul
News yesterday of Marks & Spencer launching a “groundbreaking” same-day delivery service for apparel was just part of much wider story for the increasingly omnichannel retailer.
M&S officially announced Tuesday that it’s also set to roll out a “new and improved” digital click & collect model and accelerate its customer returns process as it beefs up its overall online offer in the UK.
New initiatives include digital check-in & self-service returns for customers in-store, “making it easier and more efficient for customers to shop with M&S”.
This is to be added to 78 stores ahead of Christmas, in addition to the 22 stores where related systems are currently being trialled. M&S said the trials are already proving “hugely popular – with customers praising its increased efficiency and convenience”.
M&S also noted it’s seeing increasing numbers of its online customers choosing to shop through click & collect, “with usage up consistently year-on-year”.
Meanwhile, the retailer is also launching a new, mobile-friendly customer returns journey, claiming to cut average returns time by 60%.
The new digital options are part of M&S’s “focus on maximising its omnichannel advantage to drive sales across both its stores and online channels, supporting customers however they want to shop”.
It said its new mobile-friendly customer returns journey “allows customers to select their preferred route much more simply for returning any items purchased on the [webstore] – including clothing from its 21 guest brands”.
The portal was created using direct customer feedback and is found under ‘my account’ on the site. It’s part of a new process that removes previous customer 'pain points’ within the shopping journey — such as the need to visit third-party courier websites, use a printer, and find the right paper summaries among a customer’s orders.
“It means all the information customers need is easily accessible (such as the barcodes you show in-store to return product) and makes returning much quicker – reducing the average time spent preparing your return by 60%”, it said.
M&S added that, most importantly, with over 50% of orders coming from mobile devices, including the M&S app, "the new system is designed to be easy to use whatever device a customer is on".
As part of the new process, it has committed to offering 100% paperless deliveries, which will save 205 tonnes of paper every year, the retailer claims.
Steve Kemp, Head of Digital Retail, said: “Customers are looking for quick and convenient solutions like the option to click & collect on their terms when they want - which is now the number one choice for orders. We’re building a seamless omnichannel network so that customers can shop however they choose with us.”
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