Tesco is planning to accelerate the roll-out of click-and-collect, while fashion retailers are also getting in on the act as its value becomes clear

Why are we talking about it now?

Tesco group chief executive Philip Clarke said last week that Tesco is to roll out its click-and-collect service. He said it would double the number of stores offering the service to 600, and add clothing to the offer from July. The grocer will also roll out grocery click-and-collect after a trial.

Internationally, Tesco is to expand grocery home shopping to Prague this year and Warsaw early next year. Similar operations in Shanghai, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Budapest and Bratislava are also on the agenda.

Which other retailers offer click-and-collect?

Sainsbury’s said just before Tesco that it was also rolling out its click-and-collect operation, which is currently available in 300 stores. This will be expanded to 400 by this month and 800 by Christmas. Other retailers to offer the service include Asda, Halfords and Argos. Fashion retailers have been relatively slow to get into click-and-collect, but some companies are now getting in on the act, including Arcadia and Republic.

Are there different types of click-and-collect?

Retailers use both click-and-collect and reserve-and-collect. Click-and-collect is much more popular as it gives retailers the security of knowing that the goods have been paid for.

With reserve-and-collect, consumers pay in stores and therefore retailers face the risk of reserving the stock to that store but shoppers not bothering to collect or pay for it. Argos offers reserve-and-collect as it generally has stock in stores anyway, and Halfords also runs the service.

How quickly can shoppers collect the goods?

Most retailers allow shoppers to pick up goods the next day or a couple of days after purchase. However, as retailers seek to become ever more flexible to meet the differing needs of customers, they are trying to shorten the times of collection. Comet, for example, allows shoppers to pick up certain products in just 30 minutes.

What else should retailers think about when deciding whether to offer click-and-collect?

Storage is a big issue for click-and-collect. Retailers should work out how much storage space they have in their stores, and how much stock they can have delivered each day, alongside their normal deliveries. The other thing to think about is the space and staff needed to install collection desks in stores.