eBay‘s Click and Collect at Argos is one of the most superb programs that they’ve ever introduced, mainly because it benefits both buyers and sellers and is totally free of charge to both.
Small retailers simply don’t have the scale of large high street retailers which is required to offer options such as Click and Collect. When eBay partnered with Argos it gave retailers the ability to offer the service to their customers at any Argos store in the UK.
We know that it’s not a service that will appeal to everyone. I’ve used it as a test to see how good the service was and it’s fantastically easy for the seller (they ship to an Argos store address instead of a customer’s house) and the collection service for buyers is slick, quick and painless. The only reason I don’t use it is because my nearest Argos store is 5 miles away and that isn’t particularly convenient unless I’m planning a trip anyway.
That’s why I was interested to hear that eBay and Doddle have today announced a collaboration to further enhance eBay’s Click & Collect service. The collaboration will span customer collection at Doddle locations nationwide. In truth this won’t help me personally much either as my nearest Doddle location is even further away, but some Doddle locations are in Debenhams, Morrisons, B&A and Cancer Research shops so they’re convenient for some people (I just live in the middle of nowhere!)
The pilot service will commence with Doddle’s flagship stores in London and Brighton, including Kings Cross, Canary Wharf and Liverpool Street, before expanding to all Doddle locations in supermarkets, shopping centres and charity shops in the coming months.
“Our buyers and sellers are at the heart of everything we do and we want to make shopping and selling on eBay as convenient and flexible as possible. That means providing as many ways to improve the delivery experience for buyers. We already have millions of Click & Collect enabled listings on eBay and the collaboration with Doddle will help us extend our collection footprint whilst also helping sellers on eBay to enhance their fulfilment capabilities.”
– Jon Ford, Head of Shipping Development, eBay UK
Under the new service, buyers will be able to collect their eBay purchases from Doddle stores for free. eBay will notify buyers as soon as their item is available in store and they can collect at a time that is most convenient for them.
The real interest here is that eBay’s Click and Collect arrangement was exclusively with Argos when it launched four years ago. We know that the programme has been a phenomenal success but the limitation was the number and location of Argos stores. Now eBay have a second partner with Doddle which clears the path for a potential third, fourth or more partnerships in the future.
I don’t want to knock eBay’s Click and Collect at Argos as it’s one of the best innovations they’ve introduced in the past five years. Realistically though the original 700 odd Argos Click and Collect locations was simply never enough and whilst Doddle add a modest number of new sites I’m hoping that within the near future we’ll see the number of eBay Click and Collect locations increased into the multiple thousands rather than the current 1016 combined Argos, Sainsburys and Doddle locations.
Somewhere in the region of 6,000-10,000 locations would put eBay Click and Collect within a mile or so of every house in the country. I’m hoping that eBay are thinking big and bold for the future.