Marks and Spencer have announced that it is rolling out new digital click and collect and self-service returns facilities, as it looks to improve collection and return journeys for customers in-store.
As part of its new click and collect model and accelerated customer returns process, the retailer is rolling out digital check-in and returns facilities to make it “easier and more efficient for customers to shop with M&S” as part of its focus on maximising its omnichannel to drive sales across both its stores and online channels.
The new model will replace the staffed collection desks which would usually have queues during busy periods, meaning customers no longer have to wait to be served and can process their collections or returns straightaway using the self-serve digital screens.
The initiative is being trialled in 22 stores, explained Marks and Spencer in a press release, and will be rolled out to 78 stores ahead of Christmas.
Steve Kemp, head of digital retail at M&S, said in a statement: “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 on M&S.com.
“At M&S we’re building a seamless omnichannel network so that customers can shop however they choose with us, and with the rollout of new digital click & collect and returns we’re making it even faster, meaning it’s never been easier to shop our range of fantastic products.”
Alongside the new self-service returns launch, the retailer is also making improvements to its existing returns processes with a new mobile-friendly paperless returns process that makes it easier to return any items purchased on the M&S.com platform, including clothing from its 21 guest brands.
The new portal was created using customer feedback and is found in “my account” on M&S.com and removes what it calls “pain points” within the shopping journey, such as the need to visit third-party courier websites, use a printer, and find the right paperwork for orders.
Instead, the new system using barcodes will make it easier and quicker for the customer to access all the relevant information to make a return. Marks and Spencer said this new approach will reduce the average time spent preparing a returned item by 60 percent.
The retailer added that it was important to make returns mobile-friendly as more than 50 percent of its orders come from mobile devices, including the M&S app, and the new system has been designed to be easy to use whatever device a customer is on.
In addition, as part of the process Marks and Spencer is committing to offering 100 percent paperless deliveries, which it states will save 205 tonnes of paper every year, as part of its wider approach to sustainable shopping.
Neil Phillips, head of post purchase experience added: “As we continue to grow M&S.com it’s pivotal we utilise our omnichannel advantage – offering our customers seamless interaction between online and in-store touchpoints.
“Today the majority of M&S.com orders are collected and, if needed, returned in a store. Our new paperless returns journey means however a customer wants to return an item it’s simple, quick and works well on a mobile – offering efficient omnichannel shopping whether you’re buying M&S or one of our partner brands on our platform. Customers will always want to try different sizes & styles and making it easier to return means we’re making it easier to buy with M&S.”