Click and collect: Which UK retailers have the technology to deliver?
As a regular online shopper who frequently takes advantage of click and collect - ordering an item to be picked up in-store - it was surprising to find how few of the major UK retailers actually offer the delivery option.
The reason is that for retailers to deliver this seemingly simple service, their online and store inventory and supply chain systems - which have typically been developed separately - need to work together. They also need to be more efficient (for example, Debenhams has invested in automating its distribution centre systems), and knowing exactly what stock you have where is also crucial - which is why River Island is looking at RFID to improve its stock data accuracy.
Connecting these channels is what many retailers are investing in, and it pays off with organisations from John Lewis to Selfridges, reporting strong financial results thanks to their offering of click and collect.
The Holy Grail of click and collect is to have the shortest time between when a customer clicks order online to picking the item up in a store - the ultimate goal would be to be able to pick an online-ordered item directly from a shop floor, rather than having to wait for the item to be delivered from a distribution centre to a store.
We take a look at where some of the main UK retailers - those that have started offering the service - are on this journey.