Commonwealth follows the UK’s lead in Click and Collect

Peter Louden Doddle CEOThe Commonwealth Day ceremony held at Westminster Abbey last week probably generated more attention for the Duchess of Cambridge’s outfit and where you can buy it or something like it, online, than anything else. Which led Peter Louden, Doddle COO, to question – what is that state of play in Commonwealth countries for e-commerce and click and collect?

Commonwealth Countries following the UK’s lead in Click and Collect

Picking three Commonwealth countries – India, Canada and Australia – we can see that retailers are increasingly catching on to the idea that convenience is key to drive customer loyalty, and many are following in the footsteps of the already mature click and collect proposition in the UK.

In India the ecommerce sector is burgeoning rapidly, and according to PWC has grown by nearly 35% in just four years, with predictions that it will reach a value of 10 to 20 billion US dollars over the next two to five years. Large businesses such as Flipkart and Amazon India are already pioneering click and collect propositions in India’s major cities, setting the precedent for others to follow.

However, retailers are competing on ever-shortening delivery times and a race to the lowest price or free delivery.

Free delivery is a slippery slope, and one that has caused problems both for retailers and carriers in the UK. As the volume of home deliveries grew in the UK over the last 15 years, the cost of maintaining a free service has sky rocketed. Putting intense pressure on carriers and retailers. We would describe free delivery as a misnomer, there is a cost, and a significantly higher cost when delivered to homes, rather than consolidated via click and collect propositions.

In Canada, where e-commerce has traditionally been low – making up just 3% of total retail spending, the market is beginning to change. Retailers in Canada are obviously challenged by massive geographic dispersion of their customer base, but technology and new models for delivery – such as click and collect – are helping change this. The move by Walmart to offer free delivery shows Canada, like India, is also chasing a free delivery nirvana which may prove unsustainable in future unless greater investment is made in consolidating the cost of delivery.

The land down under however, appears to be on top of the e-commerce ladder. Australia comes second only to the UK in terms of annual online spend per person, according to Ofcom. Savvy customers are driving the growth of a range of click and collect options, with eBay recently generating much chatter on its tie up with supermarket duopolist, Woolworths. We’ve seen less evidence to suggest that Australian retailers are competing as fiercely through free delivery – so perhaps they have gained from our experiences in the UK.

Click and collect, has attracted attention for being an uber convenient service for customers in the UK and clearly in other Commonwealth countries as well. However it’s also the most viable option for reversing the trend of B2C delivery. It’s our belief and one of the foundations of our business that click and collect propositions, with sufficient capacity, can consolidate costs for retailers, ease pressure on carriers, and deliver a better, more sustainable service to end customers and a better customer experience.