The rise of click and collect, and why SMEs could be missing out

Click and collect – the system whereby customers place orders online to have their items delivered to a local store for pickup – has grown in popularity in recent years as it provides a more convenient solution for customers.


However, failing to offer such a service could means that smaller businesses lose out, according to the send, collect and return service, Inpost.


Companies could drop as much as £200 million if they fail to offer the service – prompting customers to opt for larger retailers rather than small businesses, the research claims.


Around 50% of customers make this decision; although that figure rises to nearly 70% among those aged between 25 and 34 years old.


This impacts SMEs as 39% revealed they fear they will miss out in the run up to Christmas and in the sales that follow if they don’t provide services to match larger retailers.


The study, conducted by Conlumino in partnership with Inpost, suggests that around £8.5 billion will be spent on gifts this festive season. However, only 13.2% of those sales will be allocated to small or medium sized businesses with price and product range listed as the main reasons for shopping at larger stores.


Despite this, more than one in five people said that factors relating to convenience also impacted upon their decision of where to shop – including the availability of delivery and pick-up options.


Click and collect services will amount to nearly 8% of the total gift spend – more than £700 million – and nearly a third of customers will opt for these services.


However, only 18% of SMEs support this type of delivery compared to a staggering 60% of larger retailers and despite them being aware of the clear benefits of providing it.


Customers are open to the concept of smaller chains using the services too, yet a lack of options mean they do not use them.


For some smaller businesses, lost sales could have a huge impact on finances; placing unnecessary strain on a firm and its staff.


This may be as a result of the business not being run efficiently, at which point business turnaround procedures could be considered.


By Phil Smith


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