Click and collect is missed opportunity in retail, claims Doddle


By Mike Richmond, chief commercial officer, Doddle

It’s time to start waking up to Click & Collect – not as a fulfillment afterthought – but as integral to the retail experience of the future.

12.75m UK consumare too valuable to be ignored. That’s the number that now prefer to collect their online shopping than have it delivered to home. 

It may sound sensationalist, but understanding these customers could be the difference between success and failure in the next decade.  Not only will C&C customers provide all-important sales and footfall (with C&C volumes predicted to increase by 95% by 2022), they could also provide a silver bullet for answering three of retail’s biggest challenges:

  • Meeting customers’ insatiable appetite for convenience
  • Attracting more customers into physical stores
  • Retaining brand loyalty in a cut throat environment

If you’re a retailer wanting to maximise the opportunity, you need to ask yourself four fundamental questions to realise the full potential of the C&C revolution:

  • Are you offering a C&C solution at all?

If you’re not, you need to, because three quarters (74%) of consumers now want to see a C&C solution. In fact the very presence of a C&C offering would encourage more online shopping for a quarter (24%) of women and 19% of men. 

Yet currently less than half (47%) of retailers offer it.  Such a glaring customer expectation gap can’t be sustained and customers are ready to vote with their feet, with over half (54%) saying they’d buy from a competitor if a shipping option they wanted wasn’t offered.

  • If you’re offering your own in-store C&C solution, is your network broad enough to satisfy demand?

Although UK customers are well acquainted with picking up their online purchases in the stores of the retailer they bought an item from, few store networks are extensive enough to provide a truly convenient pick up option for all their customers.

Three quarters of UK online shoppers would now consider a 2-5 mile round trip to click & collect, but few will contemplate more, so consider the role third party C&C partners can play in closing network gaps.  Because the choice you have as a retailer is now vast.  Recent Citizens Advice Bureau Research reveals there are now over 40,000 PUDO (pick up and drop off locations) across the UK.

Bear in mind also that to truly meet customers demands for convenience, when they collect needs to be on their terms, not yours.  Over a quarter of parcels collected by online shoppers at Doddle locations are collected after 6pm – beyond the hours of most traditional high street retailers.

  • In the toughest retail environment for decades, can you afford to ignore the footfall C&C can drive?

In its most basic form a C&C service drives additional shoppers into your shop. But far more excitingly, that footfall has been proven to be valuable if work is done to maximise its potential.

Research by GlobalData with 10 of the UK’s top multi-channel retailers shows that 41% of C&C customers go on to purchase additional items, with an average basket value of £20. 

In our partner locations (Doddle counters are now hosted in Debenhams and Morrisons stores nationwide) an average of 58% of customers collecting or returning parcels make an incremental in-store purchase. 

Perhaps even more valuably, 40% of customers doing so in Debenhams were new to buying with the brand – so C&C can introduce new customers and demographics to your brand.

Given such compelling stats it’s certainly worth not only considering an in-store C&C option but reversing ‘customers need to pay for C&C’ psychology and making C&C cheaper than home delivery. 

Retailers should also start to think about collaborating more.  Why not? Parents of school-age children would love to be able to pick up their next round of Clarks school shoes during the weekly shop at Tesco; Boohoo’s millions of female customers would love to collect and return their online shopping at Boots or Superdrug.

It’s a model that’s showing some real signs of growth globally and one we’re seeing the most-forward thinking retailers embrace.

  • Are you treating your C&C customers like royalty?

If you’re not and are still just offering C&C as an add-on service you’re missing a huge trick. 

A study in the Harvard Business Review (Jan 2017) reported that: ‘the more channels customers use, the more valuable they are, with retailer’s omnichannel customers …spending an average of 4% more on every shopping occasion in-store and 10% more online than single channel customers.’

With this in mind, it’s worth rolling out the red carpet. Ensure your C&C desk is in an attractive, convenient location in the heart of your store, consider installing a dedicated changing room for C&C customers to try on their purchases and look into innovative pay later options with partners like Klarna, AfterPay or Paypal.  You risk no sale, but you get a delighted and loyal customer.

And if you’re prepared to think even more ambitiously do some maths and break the mold yet further. If 30% of your online sales are picked up in your stores and 25% of those customers are purchasing, with an average basket value of £25, work out the value of those customers to you.  If you’re brave you might even want to follow the example set by Walmart in the US of making products cheaper to the consumer if they’re collected in store.

The message is clear.  C&C is here to stay and far from being a threat to the high street, it has the potential to provide the valuable glue that creates a seamless online to offline shopping experience that stimulates both markets.

And that has to be the holy grail.  Because customers today live with one foot in the physical world and one foot in the virtual world; and the retailers that wake up to that simple fact and respond to it fastest are the ones that will survive.

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All stats are taken from the Doddle sponsored IMRG C&C report 2018.  Download your free Exec Summary here: