Ebay has launched ‘Click and Collect’ for UK merchants, who will be able to use their own collection services or utilise the click and collect points at Argos stores.

This is to be followed in 2014 by eBay Now, a pilot one-hour delivery service beginning in London.

Amazon lockers and Amazon Collect+ stores are also springing up, as well as many supermarkets allowing timed locker collection of online orders, so it seems the click and collect invasion is gathering pace.

Despite the success of eBay, there are many shoppers like me – digitally savvy and very lazy (read- I want convenience and timing that fit with my lifestyle). If something is available last minute, in store, I’ll wait and wait and purchase it there, rather than ordering online.

Click and collect is great for me – there’s no uncertainty around stock level or wait time (occasionally I have to stand in line with a ticket, but I enjoy knowing everything is in order, and I can read my book while I wait).

I also don’t like having to receive things in the post at work, paranoid as I am about other people signing for them. And I’m damned if I’m going to go to the post office on a weekend to pick up a parcel. 

There’s also a reassurance that if something goes wrong, I’ll be in a store, where there’ll be people to turn to, face-to-face.

eBay partners with Argos 

For these reasons and more, not least the opportunity to drastically increase sales on mobile, I think it’s pretty significant that eBay has announced it is partnering with Argos for Click and Collect.

On the Econsultancy blog we’ve written a lot about click and collect, with a majority of consumers found to have used the service. Click and collect is now well enough established that there are definite best practice guidelines for retailers offering the service.

Time will tell whether eBay follow Amazon’s lead and open their own high street presence, rather than relying on partnerships with other stores. 

Argos king of the high street

50 eBay merchants will participate in the Click and Collect trial, with collection enabled from around 150 Argos stores in major UK locations, for eBay’s 18 million UK users.

With 70% of eBay listings for new, fixed-price products, this is an obvious opportunity for the top brands currently selling on eBay. Argos itself is the UK’s largest high street retailer serving 124 million customers a year through its network of around 735 stores. 

According to the Econsultancy Online Shopping Survey, 40% of UK shoppers used some form of Click & Collect service over Christmas 2012.

Do you reserve products online before collecting them in store? How often?

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Here’s what those involved had to say about the new partnership..

Devin Wenig, President, eBay:

..Traditional retail isn’t going away; it is transforming.  Smart retailers are innovating, reimagining the store and what it means to shop.  We’re proud to join Argos on this journey.  Their unique store network and operating model is fit for serving customers in a digital future.  This exciting pilot takes us one step nearer to our goal of offering customers an inspired and seamless shopping experience.

John Walden, Managing Director, Argos:

With the continuing growth of online shopping, customers increasingly expect faster, cheaper and more convenient fulfilment of their orders.  Argos…..pioneered Click & Collect in the year 2000, [and] it now accounts for around a third of our business and continues to grow…We look forward to assessing the opportunity for Argos to provide fulfilment for eBay’s merchants, including the operational requirements, attractiveness to sellers and consumers, and opportunity for increased customer footfall.