Can click and collect save the high street?

The working assumption of many commentators has been that the growth in on-line retail, together with the economic downturn, would lead to a widely predicted demise of many high street stores. In 2013 the BBC reported analysis from PwC and The Data Company that retail chains in Britain shut an average of 20 shops a day last year (BBC, 2013).

 

Click and collect delivery allows online shoppers to browse for and purchase products on-line but pick them up in a physical store. This delivery option has become a growing trend due to its convenience and cost effectiveness and is ideal for customers that work during the week so that they don’t miss the delivery man at home. Moth @ Econsultancy (2013) states that 80% of UK consumers have reserved a product online for in-store collection, while 20% do this at least once a month.

 

There are numerous advantages for the retailer and the customer. For the retailer the problem of delivering to the customers home has always been finding an acceptable and profitable balance between customer convenience, distribution cost and security (Fernie and Sparks, 2009). Click and collect therefore reduces the problems of trying to deliver when no one is home, decreases lost or stolen parcels and is more cost effective than making peak time deliveries direct to the customer. Importantly, for the retailer, the click and collect service brings customers in to their stores and this therefore presents the opportunity for impulse buying. Shoppers are able to see what’s on offer and potentially notice and take advantage of in-store only deals.

 

For the customer there is less wasted time waiting at home for a delivery and it is easier to return goods in the store without having to repackage and arrange collection.

 

The popularity of click and collect has recently been seen by John Lewis. Customers are able to pick up their items from John Lewis stores as well as around 100 Waitrose stores. Simon Russell, director of retail operations development is stated as saying click and collect has overtaken home delivery at “just over 50 per cent over the last few months” and this grew to 56 per cent over the busy Christmas period (Telegraph, 2015). Although John Lewis’s counter sales are falling they have argued that their physical stores are an important part of their multi-channel shopping strategy.

 

 

On its own, Click and collect, will not save the high street, it is clearly best suited to those retailers who have both an online presence and a substantial high street geographic footprint. Independent shops unable to invest in an equivalent strategy will be further disadvantaged but any strategy that keeps the big name retailers in bricks and mortar and encourages customer footfall must be good for our High Streets.

 

REFERENCES

  • BBC. (2013) High street chain closures soar, says research. BBC Business. [Online]. 18th Feb 2015. Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-21611772
  • Moth, D. (2013) 14 reasons behind John Lewis’ 44% increase in online sales. Econsultancy. [Online]. 18th Feb 2015. Available at: https://econsultancy.com/blog/11417-14-reasons-behind-john-lewis-44-increase-in-online-sales/
  • Fern, J., Sparks, L. (2009) Logistics and retail management: emerging issues and new challenges in the retail supply chain. London: Kogan Page
  • Gosden, E., Ruddick, G. (2015) Click and collect overtakes home delivery at John Lewis. The Telegraph. [Online]. 18th Feb 2015. Available at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/shopping-and-consumer-news/11324611/Click-and-collect-overtakes-home-delivery-at-John-Lewis.html

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