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The demand for click-and-collect, the practice of reserving a product online and picking it up in store, is expected to reach a fever pitch this holiday season, according to Postcode Anywhere, a cloud-based address management service.
Just 5% of Postcode Anywhere's pool of 2,400 UK respondents said they would not use click-and-collect.
An Econsultancy study confirmed that the US shoppers had been slow to adopt click-and-collect when compared with consumers across the pond. In the 2013 holiday season, 45% of UK internet users reserved products online to collect in-store. Only 20% of US internet users reported doing the same.
Similar results were reported by Accenture in a poll of 15,000 internet users from all over the world—750 from the US—conducted in February 2014. Nineteen percent of US internet users reported they would use click-and-collect services offered by retailers. That number was up from just 12% in 2014.
But the benefits are clear for both shoppers and retailers. Shoppers don't have to wait around for packages all day. Nor do they have to worry about the gift they selected getting lost in the mail; they can pick up their gifts at locations convenient to them at any time they please.
Retailers, struggling in the ecommerce era to get shoppers into their expensive storefronts (sometimes turned showrooms), are delighted that shoppers will step through their doors. Once inside, the possibility of squeezing out another purchase—because of enticing merchandise layouts, personalized customer service—becomes more likely.
A Forrester Consulting study for Accenture and hybris software surveying over 250 retailers and manufacturers in the UK, the US, France and Germany revealed that retailers were willing to support fulfillment of online orders from stores in order to be able to reduce the time it takes to be delivered to customers (29%), reduce online cart abandonment by sourcing out-of-stock products from store inventory (18%) and enable online channels to sell products that are currently only available in stores (16%).
Still, some expect that click-and-collect will take some time to catch on with the same enthusiasm in the US—though not for retailers' lack of trying. Big name brands like Target and Macy's coordinating marketing efforts to get the word out that their stores offer in-store pickup. Wal-Mart has offered in-store pickup since 2007; the strategy has worked for years, thanks to the fact that 90% of the US population lives within 15 minutes of a Wal-Mart, said a 2008 Federal Reserve of Minneapolis study.
For others, the benefits are less immediately obvious, though great in scale: in-store pickup—"cash and collect" to those in the UK—can lower shipping costs, reshuffle inventory to high-volume stores, bolster customer loyalty, and maybe even move more merchandise. The question is how long it will take US retailers and consumers to catch on—and whether any infrastructure will be in place in time for Black Friday.
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