By Kirsty Dollisson

It’s good to see Australian retailers following in the path of their US and European counterparts and embracing the concept of Click and Collect.  Rapidly growing as a cross-channel offering, Click and Collect provides shoppers with greater convenience as they order online and have the ability to collect their purchases, at their convenience, in-store.

According to Australian Financial Review’s recent article, Click and Collect Changing Retailing, the rising popularity of this offering is forcing retailers to review store formats as online sales generate a growing proportion of revenues. 

And review they must. 

PwC and Frost & Sullivan’s 2012 and New Zealand Online Shopping Repor. Australian and New Zealand Online Shopping Report recently stated: “Offshore online shopping in Australia has increased by 20 per cent in the last year to $7.2 billion; now representing 45 per cent of Australia’s total online shopping spend”.

But just how far can retailers take the concept of Click and Collect?  A long way it seems and the key lies in the provision of total convenience for consumer that creates a value beyond price.  Take UK’s Tesco. First offered to consumers in the summer of 2011, the grocery retailer has been perfecting its Click and Collect based on plenty of consumer research and feedback. 

According to a recent In-Store Trends’ newsletter, the company now has 681 locations throughout the UK where customers can pick up their order. 

Now Tesco has invested in infrastructure to take it one step further.  Recognising customers have a higher frequency of purchase on some items, the company has added the convenience of a drive-thru grocery collection service.  Based in its parking lots, customers can literally “drive through” within a specified time frame without even getting out of the car.

As the master of recognising customers’ needs, Walmart even offers Click and Collect customers their own parking spots, adding another layer of convenience to the offer. Closer to home, Woolworths and Coles have joined other Australian retailers such as Dick Smith and Supercheap Auto in offering Click and Collect and according to the Australian Financial Review in its same article, David Jones is looking to offer Click and Collect across its entire bricks and mortar portfolio by the beginning of the next calendar year.

Click and Collect is a terrific option for those who don’t wish to wait for the postman or home delivery service and Australian consumers can only benefit from the rising number of options to suit their lifestyle.  And if you think it may not be good for the Australian postal service, take a look at Australia Post’s new eParcel with delivery choices. With its own collection points and the ability for customers to choose their most convenient postal delivery times, get ready for a boom in cross channel retailing.

Kirsty Dollisson is the general manager of TorchMedia.