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For Consumers in France, Click-and-Collect Is an Option … but Not the Only One

Click-and-collect—the option to buy online and pick up in-store, known as BOPUS in the US—has made a significant difference in retail ecommerce sales across Europe. Five years ago, strategic payments consultancy Edgar, Dunn & Company (EDC) forecast that click-and-collect sales in Europe would be between €20 billion ($23.6 billion) and €25 billion ($29.5 billion) in 2019. In early 2019, it raised that 2018 estimate to about €27 billion ($31.9 billion).

Until recently, digital buyers in France haven’t been especially keen on click-and-collect. According to PostNord data from 2018, 38% of digital buyers preferred their purchases to be delivered to their home. A further 27% preferred daytime delivery to their household, while 24% opted to collect their orders from a pickup point.

Even now, many web users in France prefer other ways of getting their purchases. For example, half of internet users polled by Ifop for Mondial Relay and Oxygen in April 2019 said they preferred home delivery for the items they bought during “French Days”—a promotional period of three to four days devised by France-based retailers, roughly equivalent to Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Amazon Prime Day. One-third (34%) of respondents preferred to pick up goods, but not at the store. Only one in 10 said they favored click-and-collect.

A 2018 consumer study by Metapack broadly mirrored these results. Collecting purchases in-store was less popular in France (55%) than in the UK (62%) or US (56%).

By and large, consumers expect a range of delivery options when shopping online; 58% of Metapack respondents said they’d prioritized purchasing goods from one site over another because it provided more delivery options. Around seven in 10 respondents in France and the US were most likely to be tempted to switch if the choice of delivery options was suited to their needs.

France is especially known for its click-and-drive services, which allow shoppers to drive to a dedicated pickup depot—typically not a store—to collect their items. According to Nielsen and the Fédération du E-commerce et de la Vente à Distance (FEVAD), 4,421 such sites were available across France as of May 2018, and click-and-drive already accounted for half of total sales for the supermarket chain E. Leclerc. The number of drives in France had passed 5,100 by the end of the year, the same sources reported.

New versions of click-and-collect continue to emerge. “France’s food retailers are successfully developing a drive-thru version of ‘click-and-collect’ shopping, which may be vital to help them to defend market share and maintain profitability,” said Adrien Guerin, an analyst at ScopeRatings, a company ratings agency based in Germany, in a company press release. That optimism is in contrast to the negative outlook ScopeRatings forecast for France’s retailing sector overall in 2019.

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