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Brits love click-and-collect shopping, but many fail to pick up their items

Online shoppers in the U.S. are increasingly using click-and-collect services as a way to avoid not only shipping costs but also potential problems with delivery.

The service, now offered by most big-box retailers, enables customers to order items online before heading to the store to pick them up at a time of their choosing.

Across the pond, 71% of Brits are also using click and collect for at least some of their online shopping, though somewhat bizarrely, large numbers of people are not collecting their items, according to a recent survey.

The research by Barclaycard calculated that each year shoppers are failing to collect items worth a total of 228 million British pounds (about $275 million).

Barclaycard surveyed 2,000 adult shoppers in July 2019 and found that 15% of them had, at one time or another, failed to go to the store to collect their order.

So what’s going on?

According to the research, 25% percent of shoppers who failed to pick up an item cited long wait times as a reason. Poorly staffed collection points (25%), difficulties in locating the designated click-and-collect area (17%), and having to fork out for the service (15%) were also listed as reasons for not collecting. There’s no mention in the survey of boozy online shoppers placing a click-and-collect order and then deciding the next day they don’t want it.

Around 40% of shoppers said they would visit stores more often if adequate improvements were made to click-and-collect services, suggesting some retailers might want to review their current setup if they want to win more customers.

Although the failure of some online shoppers to collect items lands retailers with the headache of having to process returns and reassess stock flow, 89% of 250 U.K. stores surveyed happily reported an increase in footfall since introducing click and collect, while 97% said they’ve benefited from additional revenue generated by the service.

Click and collect has also enabled retailers to save money in areas such as delivery and packaging.

In the U.S., click-and-collect sales increased by a notable 47% in November and December 2018 compared with a year earlier, according to research by Adobe Analytics, with stores such as Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and Home Depot all reporting significant rises in customers’ use of the option.

It’s not clear how many shoppers in the U.S. are clicking but not collecting. We’ve reached out to some major retailers to find out more and will update this piece if we hear back.

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Trevor Mogg
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