I noticed today that Jessops has quietly launched a reserve online and collect at store service on its site, following in the footsteps of Argos, PC World, Currys and Comet.
The Collect@Store service allows customers to add products to their online basket then elect to collect them from store. Customers have to register and provide payment card details, but the latter are just used to pre-authorise the transaction, as the actual payment is by chip & pin once the customer is in-store.
The service is initially available in just 38 of the group’s 300 or so stores, but Jessops says this net will widen soon. Orders can be ready for collection in "as little as an hour" and customers can choose between an email or a text alert to let them know it’s time to pop-in.
It’s a mammoth task for retailers to integrate their online and offline channels in this way, but boy can it pay off if they are able to grab online customers via PPC, Kelkoo etc and drive them into store an hour later, ready to buy the product, plus attachments, with no fraud risk and no incremental distribution costs.
Other retailers will launch similar services over the next few months and those that don't will really wish they could.
We've had nothing at all to do with this implementation, but I wish Jessops the very the best of luck; this proposition is just what it needs in its incredibly competitive market - perhaps it will help lift its ailing share price...
Steve Borges is the founder of Biglight, a specialist e-commerce consulting business.