/ 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?

Comments
Member

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.

Member

Things certainly are going down the way of QR codes and advanced ordering. It’s amazing how much we are refining the shop-purchase process.
So if there is a closer shop to collect from you would try click and collect? I’m not sure I can commit to delivery for a future date – I never know where I’ll be…!

Member
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?

Member

Absolutely agree John. Having all members of the house working full time can really limit your ability for postal packages being sent. As for being charged 1p for a plastic bag – being a customer using their service I’m surprised they didn’t waive the charge. Very petty.

Member

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.

Member

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.

Member
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?

Member

It’s a good point Lorraine. Charging for the service is not the way to go about it. As for living in a rural area, John Lewis are looking to lock in a tie-up relationship with corner stores all over the country to get right into these areas and offer the service. It makes sense as it means less department stores but a greater reach. Hopefully others do the same.