Click and collect: just a pandemic trend?

Although click and collect has been part of the omnichannel landscape for years, it has become even more relevant during the covid-19 pandemic. Lockdowns, social distancing and other restrictions worldwide have pushed online sales to new heights and increased the demand for flexible delivery options. In turn, utilizing store inventory and personnel has never been more relevant to the retailer. In the below article, you will find all the ins and outs of click and collect: what it is, why it would be relevant, and what is happening in the click and collect landscape.

Click and collect a pandemic trend

What is click and collect?

Click and collect, also known as collect from store or BOPIS (buy online, pickup in store), is the process of ordering online, and picking up the order at a specified location. Instead of having the order shipped to the customer’s home, they opt for collecting the parcel somewhere else. This can be a physical store, a parcel collection point, a parcel robot, curbside pickup, you name it!  

Why do customers choose click and collect?

Click and collect  was  not new to retailers and consumers, but has became much more widely adopted during the covid-19 pandemic. At first, this was mainly due to safety reasons. However, we’re seeing a continuation of the trend, even as restrictions are (partially) lifted in many countries.  

Click and collect is often faster and cheaper than having an order shipped to the customers home, and faster than shopping in store. However, convenience is key here: if home delivery is faster or cheaper than pick up from store, very few customers will be swayed to choose click and collect. 

In non-lockdown situations, picking up the order in store can serve additional purposes. By buying the product online before heading out to the store to pick it up, the customer won’t be disappointed by any out of stock items (compared to going to the store without knowing the stock). Also, by checking out the product in store upon collection, and returning it right away to the store staff, the returns process becomes much less of a hassle.  

Click and collect for retailers

The most obvious reason for retailers to adopt click and collect in the last two years has been the covid-19 pandemic lockdowns. The rise in online shopping and demand for safe and convenient options meant retailers needed to be flexible. This trend is very likely to continue, meaning consumers will keep up the demand for click and collect. An additional benefit is that your store staff and inventory aren’t sitting idle, especially when combining click and collect with pick from store. Thimeans that the click and collect orders are picked in store, instead of being shipped from the DC. Once pick from store is in place, it can also be used for the ship from store process. Retailers with a local presence have a clear advantage here, as they can offer many potential pick up points.  

Besides lockdowns, there are still multiple reasons to offer click and collect to your customers. For one, click and collect offers a competitive advantage:  50% of consumers has decided where to shop online based on the availability of click and collect. Especially during peak commercial days, such as Black Friday, the share of click and collect orders tends to rise significantly. And those are exactly the days where you can’t afford not to have this competitive advantage. 

Secondly, there’s the added opportunity for direct contact and sales when their customers visit the store. 75% of shoppers indicate they’re likely to make an additional purchase when using click and collect. Of retailers, 38% think click and collect is essential to persuade the customer to go to the physical store. Other reasons for retailers to implement click and collect are to boost their position versus their competitors or big fish like Amazon, and to better service the millennial customer.  

Additionally, click and collect means fewer home deliveries. Home delivery tends to be less sustainable due to the amount of delivery vehicles. Besides, home delivery is often plagued by late or failed deliveries (that warrant a new attempt), increasing costs significantly. Delivery at a package point or store increases the chances of a successful delivery on the first attempt, and when delivering to the store a retailer can usually go through their existing logistics network, which is even less expensive. 

What’s happening in the market?

2021 has been a challenging year for many retailers. Amidst the struggles, we’ve seen many retailers show great agility, shifting their business models where needed to keep serving their customer. Quick adoption of click and collect has been part of this agilityDiscount store Action for example, has offered click and collect services for the first time, and will deactivate this when the stores can reopen. Other retailers continue to offer the service as restrictions lift. In the Dutch market, many retailers are able to continue to employ their personnel because of these efforts.  

A lot of retailers that already offered click and collect pre-pandemic, have nevertheless placed much more focus on this process and have seen a large increase of this fulfilment method. OIL customers Amercia Today, HEMA, Dille and KamilleBlokker and WE Fashion are just some of these retailers 

In the US, the acceleration of click and collect is even outpacing the superfast growth of online shopping. Click and collect is not only eating a piece of the in store sales pie, but also of the ecommerce pie. 

Looking ahead

The general consensus is that click and collect is here to stay. It might not continue to grow so fast as it has the last 2 years, but the gains are expected to hold and a healthy growth is expected. 

It is believed that in 2022, even more stores will be operating as micro-fulfilment centers to service online deliveries, returns and click and collect orders.  


Click and collect has been around since before the pandemic, and though it’s soared to new heights the past two years, it is likely to stick around post pandemic too. With this in mind, retailers are advised to build a long term strategy around click and collect, investing in areas such as store layout, parking spaces configuration, staffing and smart fulfilment.  

Rosanne Barendrecht 

“My name is Rosanne and I’ve worked in the retail industry since I was seventeen. From sales to store management and from marketing to consultancy and program management, I’ve seen many processes firsthand. My advice when things get tough? A little bit of OIL makes everything go smoothly.” 

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