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High street becoming collection hub as e-commerce alters buying habits

05 May 2011 - 09:33 by Simon Crisp

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Consumers could soon use high street stores as little more than places to pick up the products that they have ordered and paid for via safe shopping online, according to an industry expert.

Mark O'Hanlon, a consultant at Kurt Salmon, said that people are now more inclined to use their computers or smartphones to search for products, make their selection and then order them for pickup at a local retailer, rather than browsing in-store.

One significant example is the recent news that Sainsbury's is apparently considering instigating the so-called click and collect process so that people can pick out their groceries and goods that they want online and then simply head to their local stores to pick them up.

Mr O'Hanlon believes that this will also have an impact on retailers who deal in fashion and related products. Getting the items which have been ordered via safe shopping online to consumers can be carried out in multiple ways, but he warns that retailers need to retain the same high levels of customer service and convenience if they are to remain successful.

It is clear that consumers would definitely latch onto the notion of picking out their weekly shop in the comfort of their own home rather than in the hustle and bustle of the store. The convenience of then being able to go out and pick it up a little latter, rather than booking a delivery slot and waiting for the van, only adds to the appeal.

While the high street struggles and e-commerce booms, it seems a meeting of the two is inevitable and benefitting from online prices but with the speed of high street collection should appeal to a broad audience, particularly if local shops are easy to reach.