With all the big and highly important changes eBay has introduced this year, such as eBay’s new seller standard, the Defect Rate, and Managed Returns (both of which I have already written about – Defect Rate & Managed Returns) it is not surprising that a smaller introduction has passed many people by…
What am I talking about? eBay’s new delivery service, Click and Collect at Argos.
But what is click and collect and how does it work?
Well, as the name suggests, it’s a simple process where your buyer purchases an item from you but instead of it being shipped to their home address, they instead collect it from their nearest Argos store.
Now initially this sounds terrific!
I mean, the more choice we can give to customers the more sales we’ll make and a collection service is very useful for people who can’t be home to receive a delivery and don’t want the hassle of chasing the courier and then having to drive to their delivery depot to collect the item…
This way, the buyer chooses to collect their item and is notified when it’s ready, then all they have to do is pick it up like a normal order from Argos, on their own time.
Incredibly simple and that’s why these click and collect services have always been so popular with consumers (just take a look at John Lewis, Currys/PC World, Tesco or even Argos itself).
BUT there is one big difference between what say, John Lewis, offer and the click and collect service with eBay and that is SHIPPING!
As you are obviously unable to store your actual products at Argos, you still need to ship them out as normal (except delivering to Argos rather than your customer directly) and once they’ve been received and processed, your buyer will then be notified that their item is available for collection.
So what that means is; using this click and collect service will take as long (if not longer including processing) than delivering directly to your customer.
Let’s take a quick look at a few of the retailers that I mentioned above who offer something similar, starting with Argos themselves:
On Argos’ ‘Check and Reserve’ page they state:
Here at Argos, we understand the need to instantly purchase a much-needed or sought-after product.
Luckily our handy Check & Reserve service allows you to do just that. Simply click online, go on your app, phone or text to check the availability of a product, reserve it and then collect in store that same day.
So Argos are stressing the immediate and instant purchase as the main reason for using their click and collect service.
And how about John Lewis, who offer next day collection for orders placed before 8pm:
Place and pay for your order online by 8pm today (2pm for Collect+ locations), and we’ll deliver it to your chosen shop for you to collect after 2pm tomorrow.
And then for one more example, Currys/PC World and their Reserve and Collect service:
If your local store has the item in stock, you can reserve it online to be paid for and collected in store.
Your item will be available for collection one hour after your reservation.
So to quickly sum up:
- Argos – immediate collection.
- John Lewis – collection tomorrow if ordered by 8pm.
- Currys/PC World – collection within one hour.
And then there is another consideration that make these services far better than what you’re able to offer via eBay – they allow you to reserve the item and then pay at the time of collection.
There are some people out there who prefer to pay in person when they get their order, but that’s not something you can offer via eBay’s new click and collect service.
All of this is merely to illustrate, that while initially this seems like it would be a huge boost to sales, unfortunately not as there are just too many flaws in the process that take away many of the benefits to customers.
Now I know what you may be thinking – “okay Andrew, I see that we can’t match the service of these other big retailers, but shouldn’t I still offer click and collect?”
And my simple answer to that question is – yes, you’re absolutely right!
As long as there are no obvious downsides to doing so, and if the items you sell are eligible for it, then even if it only benefits some of your customers – you SHOULD offer click and collect.
After all, some is still better than none, right?
And, surprisingly enough considering it’s a new initiative from eBay, from what I’ve gathered from the feedback and experience of not only my own blog readers but of other eBay sellers online, using the new Click and Collect service is actually fairly easy and straightforward.
And there are actually a few other worthwhile benefits to offering click and collect, other than added choice for your customers and I’ll cover these a bit later on.
But first thing first, you need to see whether the items you sell and your listings are even eligible for the service.
To use click and collect, you have to offer FREE postage and delivery within 5 days AND delivery has to be using one of the approved services from select carriers, which currently includes:
- Royal Mail
Here is a full list of the delivery services that are eligible:
*Sellers may select “Other 24 Hour / Other 48 Hour Courier”, however delivery still needs to be via one of the approved carriers.
And then other than this, there are some size and category exclusions.
You cannot use Click and Collect for items that are:
- More than 20kg
- More than 120cm on the longest side (including packaging)
- More than 76cm on the second longest side (including packaging)
And there are also a large number of item categories that Argos won’t accept. The list is too long for me to copy here so I suggest you check out eBay’s help page to make sure your listings aren’t included in the list of excluded categories: eBay Seller Centre – Click and Collect
If your listings do meet the shipping, size and category requirements then really there is very little for you to do…
You simply ship items out as normal, except that instead of the delivery address being your buyer’s home, it will be their chosen Argos store. You just have to make sure you include the 6-digit unique identifier code in the delivery address so that your item can be processed and your buyer notified when it’s received.
And that’s it! It really is as simple as that.
I do want to quickly go over the main couple of fears that my readers have when emailing me asking about this, and then finally give you a couple of extra reasons as to why I think you should offer Click and Collect to your buyers.
With eBay’s Click and Collect, the return process is exactly the same as when you deliver the item directly to your buyer…
Returns are processed via My eBay as per normal, and Managed Returns also works in exactly the same way with the item being sent back to you, NOT ARGOS.
There really is no difference here in how this works, which is a shame actually as processing returns back through Argos would be ideal (in terms of customer service) as buyers generally prefer a consistent set-up and dropping the item off in-store is easier than arranging a courier or posting via Royal Mail.
But then again, that would add another layer of complication so maybe best that eBay have left it like this for now.
And then secondly…
Refunds for Lost Items?
One worry of many sellers is the procedure if Argos lose one of your items and rightfully so, as you don’t want to be left out of pocket due to the error of a 3rd party.
Thankfully, eBay have a pretty clear policy with this – if your item is lost at Argos, then your buyer will be refunded in full (at no cost to you) and you will be protected from neutral or negative feedback as well as any low detailed seller ratings in regards to delivery.
And this actually brings me onto the extra benefits that I mentioned earlier if you offer Click and Collect and the first is:
If you deliver your item via a normal, non-tracked, service it will still be recorded upon receipt at Argos and tracked from there.
So that means you’ll get the added protection of proof of collection, even when not paying for recorded delivery yourself.
And then last but not least, although I have to point out that this is just conjecture (as with all best match and Cassini theories) – there is some indication that offering Click and Collect will help your listings in eBay’s search results.
In fact, this is even stated on eBay’s very own help page in the seller centre:
Overall my conclusion and recommendation is that, unless you have a very strong reason not to, then you SHOULD offer Click and Collect on any eligible listings.
Even if only a small portion of your customers use it, that is still better than none considering there aren’t any real downsides, and more choice and delivery options for your customers can only be a good thing.
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below.
Are you offering Click and Collect on your listings? Do you plan to?
Or are you a little weary and want to wait and see how it works out for other sellers and based on their results, possibly offer it after Christmas?
Whatever your thoughts or if you have any questions, share them below and I’ll answer you personally.
Otherwise, until next time!
All the best,