Barclays’ The Last Mile report has found that around a third of transport and logistics firms perceive click and collect as a threat to their business. With click and collect estimated to account for over a third of the B2C deliveries by 2018, predicted to be around 433 million shipments a year, The Hub spoke to some of the major players in the parcel delivery sector about how they see the service.

Patrick Gallagher, CEO at same-day courier firm CitySprint, said he was surprised to see that so many logistics firms feared click and collect, particularly as it is often welcome relief to carriers at peak times.

City Sprint VW van in tunnel

“It was not so long ago the distribution industry was talking about the UK supply chain being close to capacity, and it was only the advent of click and collect networks that relieved this pressure,” he said.

“However, it must be said that click and collect networks are struggling to keep up, especially at peak times, with average hold times increasing due the non-pick up of items, causing stock holding capacity issues,” added Gallagher. “If anything, I think supporting these collection points with local delivery options will become key to alleviating this issue and an opportunity to promote further delivery convenience.”

Yodel, which makes click and collect deliveries into CollectPlus stores, said that retailers' click and collect service does not suit every consumer. Dick Stead, executive chairman at Yodel, said that while the industry has seen parcel volume growth slow down in recent years, some of the drop-off is due to click and collect taking a larger share.


“Many retailers already carry out their own click and collect deliveries, but there will always be those with no stores or a limited estate or whose customers are unable to access them due to lack of transport or time limitations, who will continue to require direct delivery,” said Stead.

Hermes, which makes click and collect deliveries into some 4,200 ParcelShops across the UK, said home delivery does not always meet the needs of consumers, so it’s important to offer them another method of delivery. But a Hermes spokeswoman conceded that home delivery is still most favoured.

“When you take price out of the equation... the majority of customers prefer home delivery,” she said.

The report suggested that the main reason for operators’ concern was the worry that retailers could consider bringing their logistics in-house if their click and collect offer takes-off. One such retailer is John Lewis, which last year began making deliveries of online orders using its own fleet on a trial basis.

A spokeswoman for the retailer said: "As with any trial we conduct as a business, we have gained a lot of valuable insight. As part of our long term distribution strategy we continue to keep ways and means of delivering to our customers under constant review."

  • More on the report in the Monday 13 October issue of MT.