Click and collect – a great idea!

The food retail sector has always struggled with two conflicting factors. Firstly, many consumers like the idea of ordering groceries on the internet and having them delivered. Secondly, the process of retailer taking on the cost of the journey to deliver them to the consumer’s front door is enormously expensive and often complex.

The first factor has led every established and large (bricks and mortar) food retailer to experiment with how to satisfy the consumers requirements. Many of these retailers would reject my terminology of experimenting, claiming they are seriously in it for the long term. However, there is an undeniable fact: no one really makes any money at it! If you already have a large shop based business then the extra cost of delivering the groceries is just too expensive to be compensated by the profit made on the sale!

Not to mention that the complaint levels regarding selection of product is such that an additional department of staff is required to constantly calm angry e-consumers when either their ‘out of stock’ product was not substituted with an alternative or when substituted, the chosen product was not what the consumer would have chosen had they been in the store!

Now there is a new idea to try to move the whole idea onto a profitable footing – click and collect! The concept is to deliver the groceries to a point that dramatically reduces the cost to the retailer and is convenient to the consumer. Petrol filling stations, post offices, even churches are being considered across Europe to provide a service which can reduce the final 2-3 kms for each individual delivery and drop off many consumers requirements at the same time.

This concept will be pushed hard by the retail industry, as the follow up is the consumer will eventually be charged for the privilege of having the final leg of the journey to their front door done for them!

As for the substitutions issue, the best practice is continue to learn how to satisfy the majority!