Today marks the point in the US retail calendar that strikes fear into the hearts of all shoppers with a penchant for quiet and undisturbed browsing. As discussed on this BBC article, the etymology of “Black Friday” is under question, but this moniker essentialy refers to the day that companies ‘go into the black’ due to increased Christmas revenues on the back of discounted stock. Photos of friends resident in the US show a multitude of shopping bags achieved after mega sprees, and that is in addition to the thriving online market retail activity.
Although an American term, Black Friday is permeating the UK as well, with discounts and heavy shopping traffic both online and in stores racking up sales to particularly highly raised levels today. Of interest to those who read this blog and keep up with retail trends, is the relatively recent emergence of the “Click and Collect" service, providing another medium for shoppers to get their products - and as new data from IMRG and Capgemini reveal – almost 1 in 5 (19%) multichannel online sales are now through this medium.
The report posits that it is because of the convenience and certainty of not missing a delivery that click and collect seems to be striking a chord with customers. However, the rate of growth has ultimately been driven by retailers targeting their customers with this channel. Retailers mentioned as examples include Boots, Tesco, John Lewis (including through Waitrose stores), and eBay (through a deal with Argos).
Chris Webster, Vice President, Head of Retail Consulting and Technology at Capgemini stated that: “With Christmas looming and the expected surge in e-Retail sales, customers are looking for increased convenience when it comes to delivery or collection of their shopping. While home delivery is perfect in theory, failed deliveries is a challenge for retailers and customers alike as we try to track down parcels, arrange for redeliveries and eventually collect them from far from convenient locations – what I call the accidental click and collect.”
“Click and collect provides the ideal compromise enabling customers to collect their items at a time and place of their choosing whether from a retailer’s high-street store, a local shop or from one of the new locker services. So this Christmas, customers will opt to choose for click and collect rather than it happening by accident.”
The announcement gathered some attention from different sources. These included Reuters – who focused on the impact that online shopping has on reducing impulse buys in store (especially around confectionary), e-consultancy.com, who pointed to a new initiative called ‘StreetHub’ which sets out a Click and Collect service for boutique design and fashion stores in Northern London, and Retail Gazette, who quote the report’s reference to Click and Collect as the “perfect compromise” between security of collection and convenience of ordering and paying in advance. An article in Retail Systems also added to the coverage, mentioning the large retailers who are taking advantage of Click and Collect methods of service.