COMMENT: Click & Collect growth is good news for bike shops

Figures indicate more customers are moving away from pure online-only purchases
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For the first time John Lewis has seen the majority of its online orders collected in store.

As reported in The Daily Telegraph today, John Lewis boss Andy Street revealed that click and collect accounts for 56 per cent of online orders.

Much has been written about the rising importance of offering click and collect but those figures from John Lewis - a particularly strong retail performer over recent years - adds credibility to the claimed trend.

It seems logical that it's not just John Lewis' customers that like to combine how they purchase their goods in this way and it's worth dwelling on the implications for the bike trade.

For the small independent retailer this trend is good news. Bringing a customer in store is chance to increase interaction, establish a relationship and hopefully lay the foundations for further purchases or - particularly in the bike trade - servicing and maintenance. It's also chance to make sure the customer has ordered a product right for them and avoiding a disgruntled punter having the wrong product arrive in the post.

Having said that, incorporating a click and collect offering in an online retail portal has its own challenges for small retailers in terms of investment, though that's not something so challenging for chain stores like Evans, Halfords and Cycle Surgery.

But there are also implications for the online-only retailers. Chain Reaction Cycles and Wiggle have built up formidable online bike businesses without requiring much in the way of a physical retail presence. So is the trend for click and collect giving them sleepless nights?

Wiggle, for one, has opened a service and advice centre in St Albans. The location doubles as a collection point for click and collect purchases. Wiggle's own site states that more will be added in the future and eagle-eyed BikeBiz readers may have noted there is another being lined up, again for the South East.

While the rise of online retailing has been a huge concern for many retailers (and, to be fair, a massive opportunity), the rise of click and collect is one trend that the bike trade can truly welcome with open arms.

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