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Click-and-collect is too much hassle for shoppers as new study finds one in seven items are not collected

Telegraph Reporters
Click-and-collect is becoming too much hassle for shoppers, with a new study finding that one in seven items are never collected.  - www.alamy.com

Click-and-collect is becoming too much hassle for shoppers, with a new study finding that one in seven items are never collected.

Consumers have left around £228 million worth of items over the past year, research suggests, with many citing frustration over poorly staffed collection points and long waiting times. 

Despite the complaints, the service is becoming increasingly popular, and is seen by high street retailers as a way to capitalise on the online shopping boom. 

More than 70% of British consumers now order goods through click-and-collect an average of twice a month, according to a Barclaycard survey.

But a third of the 2,000 respondents described the process as a "hassle", saying it was easier to ask for a refund and wait for a home delivery.

Among those who decided to leave their items, a quarter were put off by long waits and 15% were annoyed at having to pay a fee for the service.

Nearly two in five shoppers said they would visit shops more often if click-and-collect was improved.

Experts said that could provide a vital boost to a high street shops struggling to cope with rising taxes, the economic downturn and the continued march of online-only rivals such as Amazon.

Kirsty Morris, director at Barclaycard Payment Solutions, said: "Brands have the opportunity to not only increase the number of shoppers through their doors but also to reduce costs and returns, while generating revenue from 'Click & Collectors' purchasing additional items in-store.

"Enhancing the Click & Collect experience is a potentially lucrative way for retailers to ward off the unprecedented challenges of the high street and bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping."

Patrick O’Brien, a retail analyst at GlobalData, said click-and-collect is expected to grow by 9% to £7.3bn this year and to £10bn by 2024.

He said: "For shoppers it's about convenience, go in very quickly and leave the store. 

"There's a lot of talk about driving footfall [the number of people visiting shops] but it doesn't always work for retailers." 

Next is among the retailers to expand its click-and-collect service with a new deal that will allow customers to pick up their Amazon orders from its 500 high street shops.

Lord Wolfson, boss of Next, previously said that the "Amazon Counter" service would help to "contribute to the continued relevance and vibrancy of our stores".

The deal will allow Amazon to increase its physical footprint across the country, as around 90% of the UK population lives in proximity to a Next store.

The majority of Next shoppers already choose to collect online orders bought through its Directory service - which sells brands including Ted Baker, Adidas and Bode - from its shops.

According to official figures, click-and-collect is growing in popularity among pensioners, who are increasingly using it to do their clothes shopping.

Just over half of over-65s made a purchase online in the past year, compared with just one in five a decade ago, the Office of National Statistics revealed last week.

Elderly shoppers using tablets are believed to be behind the surge.