London department store Selfridges has become the latest, and somewhat unlikely, retail brand to adopt a ‘click and collect’ shopping service.
Customers will soon be able to order goods online at Selfridges.com and then simply 'drive-thru' to collect them at the flagship Oxford Street store in London, with orders being brought to their vehicle by a member of staff. A drive-thru reception is currently under construction, and the new service is expected to launch in January 2014.
While supermarkets, fast-food chains and, more recently, UK high-street fashion brands New Look and Next have rolled out ‘click and collect’ offerings, Selfridges’ move shows the service moving beyond mass market into the luxury sector.
It’s a facility that’s swiftly been gaining ground due to the fact that while the convenience and comfort of ordering from home or work appeals to many consumers, having to wait in for a parcel to arrive and the frequency of missed deliveries is less than ideal. An investigation by British newspaper The Independent on Sunday revealed that during December 2012, an estimated 225,000 parcels each day failed to arrive when promised in the UK.
Even online-only retailers and brands with minimal physical stores are getting in on the act by tying up with third-party outlets. UK department store John Lewis allows customers to pick up purchases from its sister company Waitrose, which has 300 supermarkets, compared with its 40 shops. Meanwhile, British parcel service Collect+ has secured more than 5,000 convenience and corner shops as local collection points for e-tailers such as Asos, Amazon and eBay.
The longer opening hours and ubiquity of such shops significantly boost the reach and practicality of this model. “Suddenly, the consumers can be in a tiny market town, but have access to the complete range from their favourite clothes shops or department stores at the end of their road,” said Sophie Albizua, co-founder of London-based multi-channel consultancy the eNova Partnership (clients include UK brands Argos and Marks & Spencer).