Today, the retail chain John Lewis has introduced the first of its “click and commute” stores at St Pancras station, London. The idea is that commuters will be able to shop online and pick up their goods at the station before heading home.
Graham Jones, the author of Click.ology: What Works in Online Shopping said: “This is an excellent move by John Lewis and shows they really are thinking about the closer integration of online shopping and the real world. One of the key reasons why online shopping has taken off is its convenience, saving people time and effort. But all that goes to waste when people need to travel to pick up what they have bought. Retailers need to look at better ways of distributing purchased items to the consumer. At the moment the delivery systems are still rather old-fashioned and haven’t yet caught up with people’s expectations. John Lewis is demonstrating some good forward thinking here.”
Even so, said Graham Jones, this is only one station and one retailer. “What would really see online retail grow is an organisation like Network Rail seeing itself as a distributor, providing a central “click and commute” service for every retailer at every station in the country. But for that to work they need to act now and get this up and running within months. One of the things that characterises the online world is that successful online retailers move fast, very fast. Old style management and taking months to do things, instead of days, is part of the reason why the online shopping success are largely from outside the traditional retail sector – they don’t behave in that way. So it is good to see an old, established British business such as John Lewis behaving like a modern online firm.”