What is click and collect?

26 June 2023
Jenny Molloy

If you’re looking to learn more about click and collect, how it works & the benefits of using this popular shopping option, then our blog has you covered.

What is click and collect?

Click and collect is an umbrella term for any form of trading whereby a customer buys something online (‘clicks’) and then ‘collects’ at a designated location. Regardless of how it’s used, the definition stays pretty much the same. However, application of the click and collect concept varies considerably.

Early pioneers of the click and collect model

Some of the world’s most successful online retailers have long realised the benefits of offering a click and collect service. Way before the pandemic, brands such as Nike offered their customers the ability to buy online, collect later – rather than having it dropped to their home. Today, over two-fifths (41%) of physical stores in the UK are now used as click-and-collect locations.

Bringing together on and offline

When most of us think of ‘click and collect’ what comes to mind? The ability to order groceries at Tesco on Friday and collect on Sunday afternoon? Ordering an electrical item at lunchtime and opting to collect it in store after work? These are both well-understood, and highly successful, applications of the click and collect model. The benefits of encouraging shoppers to buy online and collect in store are many, but perhaps one of the most compelling benefits for retailers that operate physical versions of their online stores is that customers are far more likely to add items to their physical shopping basket when collecting their parcel.

But what about retailers without brick and mortar stores?

But what about those thousands of retailers in the US and UK that don’t have the option of a shop to act as a collection point? This is where it gets more interesting. By using leading-edge tech in support of the click and collect concept, retailers that operate entirely online, without a showroom (or its Stateside counterpart, the curbside ‘Drive thru’ model), can also benefit massively from the click and collect concept.

Pushing the envelope: pickup points

A pickup point takes a flexible approach to the idea of collection. Instead of having to rely on a physical version of the online store, run by that particular retailer or brand, the retailer can utilise one of the many thousands of suitable pickup locations that serve just as well as a location for parcel storage and collection. The local garage, convenience shop and Post Office are just some examples – and of course, brick and mortar shops are still able to make full use of the software.

How does click and collect work?

Regardless of actual application, the three main steps of click and collect are the same:

  1. Order: the customer orders online via the website or app and selects ‘pickup location’ or ‘click and collect’ at checkout
  2. Pay: the customer makes payment electronically, and receives confirmation. The retailer picks, packs and gets the order/s ready for collection by the courier, who takes the consolidated orders to the collection point.
  3. Collect: the customer heads to the pickup location with proof of payment, handing over ID to collect their parcel.

What are the costs of click and collect to retailers?

Ecommerce managers might be tempted by the benefits of implementing pickup point software, but have some questions regarding the costs. Let’s have a look at the most common challenges.

Cost of implementation

Typically, pickup point software can be implemented in under a day. That’s not to say it’s the same for everyone, of course, but even in enterprise level scenarios, you’re looking at between 2-4 weeks with most implementations taking considerably less.

Size of goods

The majority of goods can fit within the size parameters accepted by pickup points. On occasions where retailers need to ship op oversized goods that are too large for pickup points to handle, the software knows not to let customers add those items to their cart.

Impact on digital operations

Pickup point software is designed to layer over the retailer’s order processing software without any impact on site speed, so regardless of how many people opt for pickup points, it won’t slow down the website or digital infrastructure.


Today’s pickup point software providers cannot afford to lock themselves into proprietary systems that don’t talk to the majority of the world’s ecommerce trading systems. Best in class pickup software is able to communicate with big ecommerce platforms such as Magento and Salesforce through Shopify and SDK.

Worries about having to change courier Ts&Cs

Those retailers that opt for pickup points do not experience further complexity when shipping to pickup points over residential addresses. All shipments marked for pickup are clearly flagged to couriers, so that UPS and its competitors can easily update the service level and arrange the correct labelling.

What are the advantages of click and collect for customers?

The ability to collect parcels at the customers’ convenience, rather than being tied to door-drop delivery time extends to many sectors of society. Key benefits include:

It’s affordable

Customers that are willing to self-serve their collection benefit from lower cost, and often, free collection. This is a benefit to all of us facing the rising cost of living, and particularly those on lower incomes that are statistically less likely to work from home and can’t be around for home delivery.

Flexible, convenient and safe

We’ve all felt the pain of a missed delivery. Pickup points do away with all the problems associated with having to be home for a specific time slot. Even those that work from home can’t guarantee that they’ll be around when they think they will. Moreover, the opportunity to pick up when it suits us places the responsibility for the safety of the parcel with someone else until we get there – effectively creating the equivalent of ‘signed for’ delivery without all the cost.

Extends shopping hours

In the home delivery model, customers order before a specific cutoff online and pay an extortionate fee to receive it at home the next day. With click and collect, it’s possible to offer customers even later shopping windows that, subject to stock availability – customers can click and collect at the store after work. Add in pickup points, and customers have even greater flexibility – it’s conceivable that customers could order online at 5pm and collect at the convenience store on their way home that evening. Regardless of the schedule, it’s all taking place far more quickly than is possible than when relying on the traditional door to door delivery service.

Fits a modern society

Pickup points benefit everyone. Sure, many work from home, but don’t forget those that don’t, or can’t. Shift workers, public sector workers; all benefit from the self-serve element. It’s no surprise that digital natives (aka Gen Z) are embracing out of home delivery, but it’s not just the younger  generation that’s attracted to the benefits. Older shoppers, who have been burned by the rise of porch piracy and missed deliveries and have fallen out of love with at-home delivery and are set to embrace pickup points too.

Retailer reputation

A huge 58% of customers stop buying from a retailer due to a bad delivery experience. Pickup points are in tune with what customers want, and can improve the retailer’s reputation by offering safety, reassurance and reliability. Factors that keep customers returning: in fact, pickup point options are proven to increase average order value (AOV) by over 22%.

What are the advantages of click and collect for retailers?

Pickup points save retailers big money. The benefits of of self service collection frees retailers from much of the cost and complexity associated with home delivery, for example:

No more missed deliveries 

Customers that opt to pick up their orders overwhelmingly see it through. Only 1 in 900 parcels are not picked up. As a result, first time delivery dates are 99.7% versus 91% for home delivery, eliminating the costs that come with failed deliveries. 

Faster deliveries

With click and collect, couriers aren’t forced to seek out safe places or wait for people to come to the door. Conversely customers aren’t hassled to get out of the shower to sign for a parcel or wait around for the courier to come to the house. This all adds up to faster, first time deliveries.

Faster order handling 

With click and collect, ecommerce managers are able to gain back control over the delivery process. With fewer logistical demands on couriers, retailers can consider options such as next day and even same day delivery. 

Lower logistics costs

Consolidating multiple door drops into fewer delivery points isn’t just better for customers, it reduces fuel costs, reduces the need to hire so many drivers – and cuts the pressure on the congested delivery routes – which is good for couriers, and the entire supply chain.

Why is click and collect right for your business?

For all these reasons, over 6,000 locations worldwide are turning to HubBox software. HubBox is a retailer solution that enables customers to pick up their parcel at a time and place that suits them, which prevents them abandoning their basket online or risking not being home for their delivery.

The HubBox solution is proven to drive conversions by giving customers a dependable alternative to home delivery. Fully customizable, cost effective to implement: HubBox is proven to reduce customer complaints, reduce shipping costs and increase your revenue. Intrigued? Check out HubBox FAQs or view our demo.