By Marie-Christin Hansen-Oracle on Jul 07, 2015
Last week, The Guardian reported that UK retailer John Lewis is going to start charging for click-and-collect services for orders under £30.
John Lewis processes more than 6m click and collect orders a year, compared with 350,000 when it launched in 2008, the article reported. The retailer found that it was not sustainable to continue offering the free service for small and inexpensive items.
John Lewis managing director, Andy Street, said: “We are sure customers will understand why we are doing this. There is a huge logistical operation behind this system and quite frankly it’s unsustainable. We consider ourselves to be leaders and we want to take the lead on this.”
There is no doubt that click-and-collect is here to stay; a recent survey by IMRG (IMRG eDigitalResearch eCSI Click-and-Collect Survey January 2015) suggests that 73% of UK shoppers have used in-store click-and-collect or reserve and collect, with another 10% intending to try it in the near future. Oracle’s own research report Delivering Retail has revealed a doubling of consumers who are buying online, and collecting in-store.
However, John Lewis is not in fact the only retailer that is
currently charging for click-and-collect services. Out of 350 UK retailers with
an online presence that we tested for our Delivering Retail report, 43% currently
offer click-and-collect. 85% of this sample do not charge for this
service. Surprisingly, 15% of the tested UK retailers do in fact charge.
Here is who charges what:
- Abercrombie & Fitch - £10.00
- Topshop - £3.00
- Boots - £1.95
- Camper - £7.00
- Carphone Warehouse - £1.00
- Claire’s Accessories - £1.95
- Direct Golf - £2.99
- Dorothy Perkins - £2.95 (for Express)
- Evans - £2.95 (for Express)
- Hollister - £10.00
- Paperchase - £2.99
- Pull and Bear - £3.95
- Sports Direct - £3.99
In fact, 1% of the retailers we tested charge customers up to £14.99 to pick up their products. The vast majority of those that charge for click-and-collect (6%), however, charge up to £4.99.
According to our research, the 85% of retailers that offer the service for free is down from last year’s 96%, showing that more retailers are finding it difficult to offer the service for free. And as online and in-store shopping is converging, we can expect to continue to see a rise in the popularity of click-and-collect.
Considering the decline of the free service, what charges would customers deem acceptable and be willing to pay?
Those that order small items such as lipsticks for click-and-collect may not do so solely due to convenience, given they will still have to make the trip to the store. It is likely they order online due to a lack of availability of said product in-store.This raises a question - should product availability be the customer's or the retailer's problem? Do you, as a customer, support John Lewis' vision for charging for the delivery of small items?