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click and collect

Click and collect is a hybrid e-commerce model in which people purchase or select items online and pick them up in-store or at a centralized collection point. The hybrid model is designed to streamline the processes involved in making in-store purchases and payments.

Click and collect can save a significant amount of time when a customer is purchasing a lot of items. The model is becoming increasingly available -- and popular -- in supermarkets. Typically, the shopper selects the items online and specifies a convenient pick-up time slot. A personal shopper selects the items at an appropriate time and the customer picks them up curbside.

For larger or more expensive items, centralized collection points can make delivery to more locations possible by serving geographic areas at some distance from the retail facilities. It may be feasible, for example, to deliver multiple orders to a collection center serving a given area periodically when delivery to individual customers would be too expensive.

Click and collect is among the changes to the retail landscape attributed to the ongoing trend to e-commerce sometimes referred to as the Amazon effect. Another manifestation of that trend is an attempt on the part of retailers to make in-person shopping more compelling to consumers through efforts like proximity marketing.

The click and collect model will undoubtedly evolve over time. As more and more human labor is automated, it's likely that the personal shoppers will be replaced by robots. (See: robot economy) The professional services firm Deloitte predicts that by 2020, physical stores will exist only as showrooms for a retailer’s products, to help consumers with the research phase of the purchase journey.

This was last updated in June 2017

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