What was once seen as a distinct gap between those trading online and those in regular shops may now be closing, with the rise of the click and collect format of shopping. This trend continues to grow, with retailers using it to bridge the gap between their online and in store offers.

A clear benefit of this method is the combination of speed and stress-free shopping that ecommerce offers, while allowing the consumer to be in control of the delivery process. Having to go in store to receive their purchases also increases the likelihood of staff upsell opportunities along with the customer’s own temptation to make impulse buys.

While initial trials have been successful, some stores, such as UK chain Halfords, have had such positive results that up to 70 per cent of their online transactions are now collected from their physical locations, according to a recent Oresa market report.

This is further supported by a Planet Retail report, which claims that “76 per cent of online shoppers to use click and collect by 2017”.

This rapid growth is being experienced by retailers across the world, with Planet Retail also finding that American customers are increasingly engaging with this format. This marks a wider change in the sector, with retailers having to be flexible and “prepare to be where the shopper is”, according to Planet Retail US Research Director Sandy Skrovan.

Another advantage of this growing trend is reaching a wider range of customers, with companies often pairing up with other service providers to expand their collection points.

For some retailers, including clothing stores, a positive consequence of click and collect is the option it provides customers to exchange items efficiently. If a product doesn’t fit, finding the correct size tends to be a lot swifter and limits the chance the consumer will look elsewhere for a similar product. This is a risk often associated with the postal returns associated with online shopping.

This interesting development for those operating throughout the retail industry is steadily gaining momentum, with further developments still likely too.