Doddle are to ditch their high profile train station stores in favour of kiosk solutions in third party stores. It would appear that Doddle’s own stores are haemorrhaging money and so will be shuttered, sadly with job losses for many of the staff.
It would be easy to point the finger and say that with hindsight is was obvious that the purple Doddle stores wouldn’t be profitable. In our interview with HV Kingsley (a Collect Plus location and so competitor to Doddle), the proprieter David Poluck told us that he doesn’t believe a location could be profitable just serving the parcel market pointing out that many of the lottery kiosks that popped up are gone – the cost of staff and premises for a single service outlet are simply too great. However it’s also arguable that without their store estate, Doddle wouldn’t have gained the attention which is now enabling them to pivot to an instore kiosk model.
There is no doubt that click and collect is high on everyone’s agenda, from eBay to Amazon and just about every high street retailer not to mention the pure play online retailers. Doddle may not have got it right first time around, but they could still become profitable in the future and they have some great retailer partners such as Amazon and ASOS. The concept of click and collect or click and return isn’t flawed, it’s just that the single service outlet model has proved prohibitively expensive.
“The click and collect market continues to grow rapidly, and as consumer preferences evolve, our business model is evolving too. We now have 51 locations with recognised brands including Morrisons, Cancer Research UK and other retail partners which have proven popular with customers. As a result of their success, we plan to open up to 500 of these locations by Christmas. We are in discussions with a number of other major retailers and plan to have 1,000 locations in the next two years. This expanded network will be complemented by six Doddle stores, and will see the closure of the remaining stand-alone stores.”