/ Shopping

Big respect for ‘click and collect’

John Lewis and Amazon have made strategic moves to make online shopping that little bit easier, with the ‘click and collect’ option coming to a store near you! But will it change the way you shop online?

Welcome to a brave new era of ‘click and collect’ shopping. When online shopping began not so many moons ago, we all hailed the ease at which we could shop, click, buy, and have the product delivered to our homes without ever having to leave the house.

But with great shopping power comes great shopping responsibility. Specifically, we have to be at home when the delivery takes place. Not such a bad trade off, but as we strive for the greatest levels of convenience in life, it turns out this is a bigger problem than anticipated.

The perils of home delivery

Take for example my recent purchase of some speakers. I did the research to find what I wanted, found they were cheaper to buy online and clicked the purchase button thinking it was all a job well done. But the private delivery company came when I was at work (of course). They didn’t leave a collect card and they can’t re-deliver on Saturday mornings. Believe it or not, it was actually easier for me to cancel the order than try to manoeuvre out of this stalemate.

I also find that if I miss the postman during the day, collection from Royal Mail can be a nightmare in itself. So what’s the solution? Where should we turn in this dark hour? Well, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel as ‘click and collect’ shopping is emerging.

Collection for convenience

Click and collect is a lot like it sounds, allowing customers to order online and pick up their purchase from a nearby store soon afterwards. You pay at the store instead of online, increasing your available payment options. Delivery is usually free as the retailer doesn’t need to pay for postage and finally, you can pick up your purchase at your convenience without waiting in for the postman.

John Lewis has recently introduced a ‘click and collect’ service with Waitrose, letting you order online from John Lewis online while collecting your purchase at one of many participating Waitrose stores. Amazon has also entered the fray. They have an arrangement with The Co-operative and have installed their own collection lockers in four Co-op stores to kick-start their own click and collect service.

Anything for an easy life

We’ve already rated the best and worst shops in the UK – but this extra feature may make life a bit easier for many shoppers and help retailers win points in this ever competitive space.

No doubt there will be issues with this service, such as a lack of participating supermarkets. For these unfortunate shoppers, the perils of home delivery must remain for now – but I for one am a click and collect convert. Do you think it would work well for you?


This seems to be a very good system if the store is convenient. Our nearest John Lewis is 25 miles away so it’s better to organise the delivery by selecting a specific date. I’m not sure why it should cost much more to arrange delivery for a later date than would be included under the standard delivery service – a surcharge for prior delivery is justifiable, but deferred delivery only requires a small amount of additonal logistical activity, mostly computerised.

John Lewis in Norwich has also introduced a system of QR Code shopping in the store. It seems you use your smartphone to order the product which is then waiting for you at the collections counter. I don’t know how well it works because I haven’t got a smart phone yet but commerce is driving us all in that direction.

John S says:
3 July 2012

My wife and I both work full time, so if we miss a delivery, or the postman has something that won’t fit through the letterbox, it’s a complete pain. My experiences of “click and collect” have been mostly positive.
I ordered an iPad from Tesco Direct and the whole “Collect from store” process was slick and trouble free, from start to finish.
I also ordered a large format book from WH Smith. Knowing that it would not fit through the letterbox, I selected the “Collect from store” option. When I arrived to collect the book, I was asked did I require a bag. I was not intending to return home immediately, so said yes. I was then asked for 1p, which is what WH Smith charge for the bag. I only had notes, so was reluctant to carry round £4.99 in change, for the privilege of owning another plastic bag. Both the sales assistant and the manager were deaf to my pleas for a “freebie”, so I carried the book under my arm all morning. WH Smith have lost a bibliophile customer I’m afraid.
P.S. I don’t need a lecture about the “evils” of the plastic bag. Aren’t there enough real problems in the world?

I have a little sympathy for anyone who might not have a bag to hand when calling in to a shop, but going to collect something and not bothering to take a bag is not really excusable.

Maybe the confirmation email could include a reminder to bring a bag.

I must admit I would expect the product I had purchased and paid for to be wrapped or packaged just as it would have been if it had been sent by carrier. This is certainly what happens if you collect on-line orders at an M&S branch. I think WHS are exceptionally mean-minded in this case. Having said that, I would have taken a carrier bag in which to carry the package just as I do when I collect items from the postal sorting office.

Lorraine says:
3 July 2012

I don’t think it will make life easier. I live in a rural area and there are no ‘big’ stores nearby. I was also quite surprised to see that Tesco charge £2 for this service. I can understand that there is some involvement on their part but it seems like such a nominal amount for such a big organisation to impose?

Freya says:
3 July 2012

I presume ordering on-line and collecting removes your rights under the Distance Selling Regulations.

Good question.

Distance Selling Regulations do apply to ‘click and collect’ as long as you have agreed a contract at a distance. In other words, if you commit to make a purchase when you confirm your order online, you are covered under the regulations.

If on the other hand you reserve goods online, and do not commit to buy them online, you are not covered under the regulations.

There are some exemptions from the Distance Selling Regulations, notably if you order something to be custom made or personalised, you probably won’t be entitled to a refund. Perishable items are often excluded too.

As always, it’s worth checking the small print!

Gerard Phelan says:
3 July 2012

I used the WH Smith Click and Collect last year to get a Hard Disk they still had in stock when the Thai floods had led to other retailers having none. It was just an ordinary stock item such as they might have put on the shelf, not especially wrapped for me, albeit stored in a cabinet with a copy of my order. I was very pleased and would use them again. What was DREADFUL though was the part of the ordering process associated with the collection. You had to look up your local store in a countrywide list to see on which days they had a delivery, then look at the order you just placed to see how many days they said it would take to be delivered, then guess whether the order day counted in that number then match up those number of days with the days they received deliveries to find out when they should have received the delivery. SURELY this is something that the on-line computer system I have just used to place the order should do for me and tell me the day it will be available at my selected WH Smith?

After having to pick up deliveries from depots many miles away (due to some very dubious activities by one delivery service) I think local secure collection points are an excellent idea. My only concern is that this type of service is already available through some storage facilities, but at a price – and it’s the economics and inconvenience of general courier deliveries (e.g. purchases on ebay) that need to be tackled more generally.

hellen says:
5 July 2012

hi im wondering if someone can help me.I Recently sent cards and cash in one of them, unfortunately i forgot to record it.
The cards never reached the address i have recently spoke to the relative that was to receive the cards and they tell me they have problems with post getting to them due to another cottage in the same area having the same name .The owners have recently named there house the sam as theirs.
So this is where the problem lies ,they are obviously receiving each others post , how can this be.when the names of the recipients are different.
Is the post man/lady to blame or do they have to deliver to the name of the house???
My relatives have never had any problems with their mail until now and surely the post man knows the person living there as they get to know people as its not in a built up area its in the country side you would say.
I would appreciate any advice .

I wanted a new black longsleve shirt Asda did not have my collar size in store so when i got home i ordered 1 to pick-up-in store when next in the store.Fine an e-mail came &said your item ready for collection.So when i went to shop i took my e-mail number with me to collect at George then the fun began no member of staff knew how to operate the til for a Click&Collect after ages waiting it got sorted but i complained to the Dept Manager.I said it was lucky it was not coming up to Xmas or any other busy time you would have had a lot of angry customers.He apologized and said they should have phoned me.I think Click&collect is a good idea if its more convenient to a buyer.One hopes Asda will Train their staff asap on this.

Katharine says:
11 July 2013

Hi – wondering if anyone can help me. I recently bought nearly £1400 worth of clothes from John Lewis.com and collected from local Waitrose on click and collect. Almost all the items had to be returned, which I did in the original packaging, back to the Waitrose store shortly afterwards as they also return unwanted orders. The paperwork in the order says you have to put all your original paperwork in the packaging so keep nothing in writing from the order so I kept my own record of what I had returned but unfortunately did not make a note of the date. At Waitrose the customer service desk was unmanned and I was told by an employee to leave the parcel there and that it would be returned to JL for credit. I asked for a receipt and was told by the employee they did not supply them, they just return the goods, I had to accept his word. My credit card bill subsequently arrived with the payment and no credit. John Lewis say they never received the returned items and it’s Waitrose’s problem. Waitrose tell me it’s JLs problem as they are simply providing a returns service. They also don’t seem to believe me that I returned the parcel and are indicating I need to prove when I returned the items and on what date (I can’t remember) while they look at CCTV, most of which has now been deleted as they only keep it for 30 days. They also told me their CCTV cameras were broken on the returns desk. They won’t allow me to go through the cctv with them to help spot me so how do I know they’ve bothered to look at all – why should the burden of proof be on me when their system is flawed and they do not provide receipts/proof of return to their customers?
I am currently nearly £1400 out of pocket and not at all sure either Waitrose or John Lewis will take responsibility and pay me back. Surely if they don’t provide a secure system and I leave my parcel in good faith as instructed by their employee it is for them to prove that I did not. I am a good and regular customer of JL Partnership and have had an account their for over 20 years. The JL website does not give any specific instructions for returns for Click and Collect; they are failing to provide a secure returns service and I simply adhered to their returns process and acted on the instruction of a Waitrose employee. Any ideas on how I might be able to progress this and my rights please? Thank you.

mummybear says:
21 March 2015

Having used click and collect from JDwilliams and tesco I was already a convert until I ordered from WHSmith. It has been 3 weeks since placing my C+C order. The money left my account immediately but nothing else left! I’ve chased by email, checked in store and online info is poor if you manage to get to your account! I wonder if delivery would have been better. I’m still waiting for any response.