Sainsbury’s is planning to double the number of click-and-collect sites at its stores in the next 12 months.
The retailer will have an expanded delivery and collection network at its disposal, once the absorption of the Argos business is complete, following the £1.4bn take-over.
Having arrived late to the grocery collections party, compared with Asda and Tesco, Sainsbury’s announced in March 2015 that it was opening a network of collection points in 100 stores. That number is to double following what Sainsbury’s has described as a popular hybrid between online shopping and visiting a store.
Niklas Hedin, CEO of logistics software company Centiro, cautioned retailers with click-and-collect expansion plans to make sure they meet shoppers’ expectations for service and convenience.
“Click-and-collect continues to be popular due to the convenience it can offer. However, as consumer research from over the period showed, many retailers are struggling to give customers the experience they are demanding. As click-and-collect continues to grow in popularity, delivering the right level of choice and flexibility in options will become a key differentiator: customers will only become more demanding. For example, soon they will expect to be able to make changes to collection options and delivery choices on the fly after an order has already been dispatched.
“As such, retailers must look to fully integrate click-and-collect into the omnichannel ecosystem, to ensure click-and-collect orders are fulfilled effectively when customers change their mind – such as when they ask to have an item delivered to their house instead. For example, if a customer was planning to collect a parcel on their walk home but it starts raining and they need to catch a bus, it would be great if a retailer could offer a delivery window that coincides with after they arrive home.
“We’ve already seen retailers such as River Island launching a “click & don’t collect” service, allowing customers to update order preferences in line with changing circumstances. This is sure to be a growing trend over the coming year as customer-centricity and flexibility become increasingly crucial differentiators for retailers.”
The Sainsbury’s / Argos deal still attracts a degree of speculation. The value is said by some to have been affected in the drop in Sterling’s value in the post-referendum period, marking it down from £1.4bn to £1.3bn.
Sainsbury’s chief executive, Mike Coupe, has played down suggestions that the deal was ill-judged, and claims it will create as many as 1,000 retail operations jobs. However, around 400-600 head office jobs are still expected to be lost.