Among all the structural and competitive changes occurring in the grocery marketplace, click and collect has barely registered as a threat to c-stores.
Other competitive pressures have been a lot more visible. First, the incursion of multiple grocers’ smaller formats into c-store territory, then similar expansion from discount retail chains, and not forgetting the massive growth of retail sales generated via the internet, which is manifested by corporate delivery vehicles reaching estates, homes and even campsites where even the supermarket giants would not build a store.
I’m interested by Asda’s latest trading statement which reiterated its position that it would not open c-stores that charged higher prices than could be found elsewhere in its estate (obviously a dig at its competitors). The same statement said that click and collect would be their main method of reaching shoppers who have been, up to now, reluctant to spend time or money in their superstores.
In my view, it’s a threat worth taking as seriously as the other three outlined above, as it combines elements of all of them: time-saving, easy to make price comparisons, while still allowing shoppers to take personal charge of their shopping and pick it up at time that suits them.
Asda will trialling same-day ordering and collection at its Wakefield store, meaning that the whole system is ideal for top-up shopping of daily basics. This is a market that c-stores used to exel at, but have been losing share in recent times, so we as an industry need to be working even harder to make our fresh, chilled and daily top-up offer as compelling as possible.