Is "Click and Collect" One Way to Beat Amazon?

Coles Australia online shopping

Like Fresh Direct in New York, Australia’s Coles supermarkets offer grocery delivery, via refrigerated truck, for a fee. However, the company found a number of customers wanted to retain the online ordering aspect of the delivery system while fetching the groceries at their convenience.  “Click and collect,” to allow both, was born.

Programs like this are already popular at, for instance, Walmart in the U.S. The popularity of the order-now-and-pick-up-later system is one of the reasons we don’t believe big box stores are going to turn into showrooms, or mere conduits to online retail, anytime soon.  While Walmart will have an employee bring pre-paid orders directly to shoppers’ cars, Woolworths in Australia (yes, that still exists Down Under) has introduced a popular drive-through system at one of its branches.  Consumers order online, or via mobile, and collect their groceries at their leisure, without exiting their cars.

Retaining the convenience of shopping online while making in-person pick-up totally efficient, “click and collect” could become a key aspect of physical retail’s future.   And now, the popularity of the system seems to be making its way around the globe.  As retail fears mount that Amazon’s same-day delivery will further hurt physical businesses, wouldn’t further use of this pick-up service be an effective way to combat the online behemoth?