Were consumers asking for click-and-collect pre-Covid?
Even before the pandemic, large retailers and grocers like Tesco had established ‘Click and Collect’ fulfilment models as far back as 2011.
Whilst it didn’t have the momentum it does now, a broad range of businesses were meeting consumer demand and implementing it. In 2018, just under half (47%) of UK shops offered ordering-for-collection services for their customers. The most likely to provide the service were retailers like music, books and games stores (84%), sporting goods (83%) and mobile phone retailers (75%).
All generations made use of the service. Even the majority of Gen Z consumers, who typically prefer in-store experiences, used click and collect when shopping (58%).
In light of this, some feared that ordering for pickup would become a way for customers to avoid engaging with physical retailers, rather than a means to enrich that relationship. It would take a more interesting and immersive retail experience to turn the service into a social event younger consumers genuinely enjoy.
Which is precisely what consumers ended up asking for. Many were demanding improvement in the service so they could gain more from increased use. For example, 56% of consumers stated they would like collection points to include a space to try on clothes and facilitate returns and refunds. And it proved effective, as some stores as much as 16% of their sales to click-and-collect.