How are these 20 major retailers approaching click and collect?

Bridging the online and offline retail worlds, click and collect is one of the retail industry's most successful models.

The practice of placing an order online for in-store collection has become a familiar part of many shopper journeys. Globa lData estimates that the UK click and collect market will account for 13.9% of online sales by 2022.This figure has likely been accelerated as the omnichannel solution has only grown in popularity over the course of 2020 thanks to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the basic click and collect concept is relatively fixed, it has become apparent that the implementation of it can vary considerably. This flexibility suggests that any retailer can utilise the model in a way that benefits their business. Below we take a look at how 20 major retailers are approaching click and collect in their own operations.

  1. Nike

Sportswear giant Nike was an early adopter of the curbside collection model with its 2018 Nike By Melrose store in Los Angeles. Part of the Nike Live model, the store offers a range of enhanced curb services facilitated through its own SMS messaging system, Swoosh Text. Customers simply message the store before they arrive and then pull into the assigned spaces to pick up their pre-ordered goods. What's more, Nike allows them to also return or exchange goods through the same service. It's a well-thought out system that goes beyond your standard click and collect approach.

  1. Dixons Carphone

One of several brands developing new services in response to COVID-19, Dixons Carphone has launched a contactless drive-thru service at a number of its UK stores. Customers who order online for collection will receive a time to pick-up their purchases which could be anything from one hour after buying to the next day, depending on stock. At that agreed time the customer arrives at the store and parks in one of the designated collection bays. They then click a link in their email to notify staff of their arrival and pop their boot. Staff then deliver the order into the boot of their car without the customer ever needing to get out.It's a perfect service for shopping during a pandemic, but it also would work at any time as a higher level of customer service.

  1. Target

Target is one of the US' click and collect leaders. The brand has seen strong growth in its online sales including a 278% increase in same-day shopping services in the recent quarter. In order to continue to capitalise on this growth, Target is constantly refining its click and collect offering. The company has recently expanded its in-store and curbside collection services to include fresh and frozen food. These are typically more difficult product categories to offer for collection due to their strict storage requirements. Target's ability to do so gives it an edge over competitors and makes click and collect a more viable alternative to home delivery or in-store shopping.

  1. Walmart

Walmart is another major name in click and collect, not least because of its robotic Pickup Towers that let customers get their goods without having to queue or ask staff. On the grocery side, Walmart offers a free pick-up service that makes use of its large store portfolio and close proximity to customers. It's paying off for the company with Numerator reporting last year that Walmart's click and collect baskets have a higher order value compared to in-store baskets. Last year, Walmart also began trialling a new robotic order picking technology called Alphabot which could massively expand its operations by streamlining the process of fulfilling an order. In turn, it could also offer greater convenience to customers by reducing the time between placing an order and collecting it.

  1. John Lewis

The most interesting thing about UK department store John Lewis' click and collect service is that it isn't solely focused on the brand's own stores. While its own stores can be used for collections, the retailer has partnered with grocery company Co-op to offer click and collect at Co-op's stores as well. John Lewis stores typically have a large footprint and therefore are located in larger towns, cities and out-of-town shopping parks, whereas Co-op's stores tend to be smaller and serve local communities. By partnering with Co-op, John Lewis is able to have a physical presence closer to more of its customers through click and collect. In fact, the Co-op deal almost doubles its available click and collect locations to nearly 900 in total.

  1. Marks & Spencer

An early adopter of click and collect, UK department store Marks & Spencer has almost 8,000 available collection points today. The brand has continued to develop its offering over the years including teaming up with fulfilment technology company Doddle. Most recently this has seen Marks & Spencer and Doddle trialling two new contactless click and collect options. The first is a drive-through service which requires customers to share their car registration when placing their collection order. They then have to drive to an assigned parking space at the agreed collection time and let staff know they have arrived via a link on their phone. The second is a contactless in-store collection option that sees customers allocated a shelf which their order is placed on. Information can be provided by text, WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger as per the customer's preference. By partnering with Doddle and leveraging its expertise, Marks & Spencer has been able to develop and test these new approaches faster than going it alone.

  1. Freshippo

Chinese supermarket chain Freshippo has been one of the biggest disruptors to the sector in recent years. Its mobile-first approach and flexible food offerings have made it a model to emulate. While its spaces may be best known for their delivery offering, click and collect is also a key element within the Freshippo array of models. In particular, the brand's Pick'n Go concept lets customers pre-order breakfast and lunch foods for collection from lockers. The food is made fresh to order but the customer's entire interaction is via their smartphone from placing the order to collecting it.The approach reduces the amount of waste as food isn't being cooked and then not bought, but it also enabled Freshippo to open in new locations such as train stations.

  1. Nordstrom Local

Department stores are typically large format spaces, but US department store giant Nordstrom broke with tradition with the launch of its small space Nordstrom Local concept. These mini stores have the benefit of being able to be located closer to where customers live and work. What's interesting though is that Nordstrom Local spaces don't hold any inventory. Instead they are hubs providing a range of services including click and collect. Customers can order from the full Nordstrom range online for collection from their nearest Local store. They can then try on their purchases in the space (if they want) and return or reorder other sizes as needed. An in-store tailoring service can also help with the perfect fit. It's a great example of how click and collect can be enhanced through the use of other services.

  1. Missguided

Click and collect isn't just for retailers with their own stores. Online fast fashion retailer Missguided has partnered with InPost to offer its customers a collection option. UK shoppers can choose to collect their Missguided purchases from InPost's self-service parcel lockers or use them to drop off their returned items. The lockers are located outside in places like railway stations, supermarkets and high streets which means they are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A contact-free option like this is particularly attractive during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, but equally it gives Missguided a way to ramp up its delivery volumes without having to make individual trips to customer homes. This also has associated cost benefits.

  1. Ford

Cars might not be what immediately spring to mind when it comes to click and collect, but it's become an increasingly common offering from automotive retailers. One of the most inspirational approaches came from Ford which teamed up with Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba in 2018 to create a car 'vending machine'. Customers who were interested in owning a Ford could use the automated system to test drive a vehicle of their choice for three days. After selecting the model they wanted to test from an online catalogue, customers had to take a photo via the Alibaba app. When they arrived at the collection point the system would use facial recognition to verify them and then automatically dispense the chosen vehicle. By not relying on a typical dealership to facilitate the collection of cars, Ford could accommodate customers who wanted to try a car on impulse. Equally, customers may have felt more comfortable testing a car knowing sales staff wouldn't be putting on the pressure.

  1. Kroger

With demand for click and collect at an all-time high, US retailer Kroger has taken the concept further than ever in its new pilot. The company has converted one of its stores to a pick-up only space. This means customers have to pre-order their goods online for collection from the store in order to be able to visit it. Although other Kroger stores in the area will continue to offer pick-up as an option, it is interesting to consider whether more of those journeys will shift to the pick-up only store. Not only could a dedicated pick-up store achieve greater click and collect efficiency by reworking the store set-up, but it could also reduce wait times at other stores if there are fewer collection customers.

  1. Best Buy

US consumer electronics retailer Best Buy may have doubled-down on click and collect as a result of COVID-19, but the brand has made a major success of it.Earlier this year, Best Buy converted all its stores to curbside pickup only for a number of months. Customers had to order in advance online and have staff bring purchases out to their car. With most items available to pick-up within the hour and the curbside collection model being offered for free, Best Buy saw click and collect make up 41% of its digital sales in Q1.The success of the model has seen Best Buy announce plans to expand its curbside offering with new functionality including information about busy and quiet periods.

  1. Westfield Direct

Earlier this year, a new drive-through collection model was launched in Australia's Westfield shopping centres. Unlike typical single retailer click and collect systems, Westfield Direct lets customers place a collection order online from multiple retailers across Westfield's 350+ different available retailers. After completing their order, customers are directed to the designated drive-through pick-up location at their chosen centre for a contactless collection. Although developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Westfield Direct is a glimpse at a potential future for click and collect. The ability to order from a variety of retailers in a single transaction and collect all purchases at the same time is a highly attractive proposition that is sure to catch the attention of customers.

  1. Zara

Spanish fashion retailer Zara is one of a number of retailers working to improve the click and collect experience through the use of robotics. The company has installed automated collection points in stores which allow customers to bypass the traditional customer services queue to get their click and collect order. After placing their order online, customers use the collection points to enter a confirmation code or scan their QR code. A robot then retrieves the order from behind the scenes and delivers it to the customer. It's a simple but effective system that removes a key pain point around click and collect, but also frees up staff for other tasks.

  1. NearSt

A tech start-up rather than a retailer, NearSt's click and collect model is built into where customers search rather than needing them to go to a specific retailers' website. The company connects a retailer's inventory to Google to promote it to nearby shoppers. This means that when a customer searches for a product in Google the search results include stores near their location that stock the product. Customers can walk to the store to make their purchase, but they also have the option of going to the retailer's website to place a click and collect order. It's a great way of bringing click and collect to a local audience.

  1. SpartanNash

Launched in 2017, Fast Lane is the click and collect service of US food distributor and grocery retailer SpartanNash. Available across the different brands operated by the company, Fast Lane recently received an upgrade to its curbside pickup option. Customers place their order online for collection as usual. Once they've been informed that it is ready to pick-up, the customer can now share their GPS location with the store so that staff can see that they are on route. This enables SpartanNash to ensure that their order is prepared and ready to be brought straight out to the vehicle when it arrives. It's a really nice application of a well-known technology in order to make for a faster and friction-free click and collect experience.

  1. Coop Estonia

It's clear that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic has sparked a host of click and collect innovations. Among them is a new contactless robotic grocery model from Coop Estonia. While grocery click and collect typically sees goods handed over by the store, this solution sees robotic collection stations placed in car parks. After placing their order online, the customer goes to the collection station at the agreed pick-up time and enters their unique order code. The system then automatically retrieves their order for them to load into their car.The system has been designed to accommodate perishable and frozen goods as well as non-perishables which makes it a unique prospect among automated click and collect solutions.

  1. Argos

UK catalogue retailer Argos has always had collection at the heart of its model. Instead of browsing products on shelves, customers look through catalogues, select and pay for what they want and then collect it from the counter. This model made it easy to incorporate ordering from the brand's website for click and collect as well. Argos has been able to use its existing operational set-up to offer a higher level of click and collect service with many items available for same day collection. The model offers flexibility for customers with the option to order and pay online for Fast Track collection in-store, or to place an order online but pay when the customer arrives to collect. Customers can even reserve products via text.

  1. Apple

Even electronics giant Apple is getting serious about click and collect. The company recently announced it was trialling a new Express store format in California. It sees the Burlingame store partitioned off to create a small space for online order collection only. Customers can only enter the space if they have placed an online order for Express Pickup, or if they have an appointment for tech support. The space is geared up for quick order fulfilment, which is a new approach for the brand. Although the presentation is a little rough around the edges, this is inspirational purely for how quickly Apple were able to pivot the space for the experiment. It demonstrates that trying out new click and collect models doesn't have to be a big, expensive endeavour.

  1. Starbucks

Starbucks has one of the most effective click and collect offerings available with its Mobile Order & Pay system. It allows customers to place their drinks orders in advance and receive a time to go into store to collect them. The customer can then skip the queue and pickup their drink immediately. It's such a well-used and successful solution that Starbucks has since launched small format spaces that are dedicated to the pickup model. Starbucks Pickup requires customers to order through the brand's app in order to collect their drinks. The spaces have no seating as they're designed for quick turnover of visitors. Starbucks' various formats show just how versatile click and collect can be from enhancing an existing store experience to sparking a whole new brand offering.


There is no one size when it comes to click and collect. Retailers are incorporating the concept of ordering in advance online and collecting from the store into their operations in all sorts of ways. From automated solutions to curbside collection, contactless systems to miniature store formats, click and collect has proven itself to be a highly adaptable model that can be adopted by any retailer.With COVID-19 spurring long-lasting changes in shopping habits and retailers looking to continue to effectively utilise their stores, it looks as though click and collect's role is only going to grow in the coming years.


The content of this page is a summary of the law in force at the date of publication and is not exhaustive, nor does it contain definitive advice. Specialist legal advice should be sought in relation to any queries that may arise.

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