Click and collect just keeps getting easier. Train stations in the U.K. are now being transformed into collection points for online purchases, some with changing rooms where customers can try on purchases before confirming whether to keep them.
Doddle is described as "the UK's first fully dedicated, staffed, online shopping collection and returns service located in railway stations and major hubs." Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman and Network Rail, owner of Britain's rail tracks and stations, are investing £24 million ($40 million) in the business to open in 300 stations across the country in the next three years, creating more than 3,000 jobs.
Founding partners include Asos, New Look and TM Lewin with an unlimited number of others expected to join soon. Doddle will be available to any and all retailers. Couriers and postal services can also participate, with the aim of maximizing customer convenience and minimizing business costs.
Following a trial in Milton Keynes, outlets in London (Waterloo and Cannon Street), Bromley South, Brighton and Chelmsford are due by late August. The size of the locations will range from 1,500 to 2,000 square meters with many, particularly those with high footfall, incorporating changing facilities. Doddle's outlets will be open seven days a week, offering shoppers fourteen days to return products purchased online. A website, text messages and e-mails will alert customers that their deliveries are ready for collection.
Staff will be available to deal with potential problems and to supervise returns. Sky News referred to research showing a rise of one-third of British consumers using click-and-collect services since last year with some saying simpler returns would encourage even greater usage.
As Doddle's widely quoted spokesperson explained, "The real benefit ... is that it is open to all retailers and parcel delivery companies, providing the only service where customers can combine multiple collections and returns at a time that suits them."
U.K. online shoppers are spoiled for choice with options for collection ranging from lockers to subway stations to independent stores. Anything from food to fashion, housewares and electrical goods can be ordered from home and picked up virtually any time, any place that is convenient. London Underground commuters have been able to place same-day orders for food collection from Asda, Waitrose and other supermarkets on their way home but Doddle is expanding the product range and retailers available.
Are train stations likely to be a new click and collect locations for Americans?