This paper for the Universities Transport Study Group conference explores the findings of a set of semi-structured interviews with grocery retailers and an industry body that supports these retailers. The interviews were aimed at exploring the changing business models that were occurring primarily within the grocery sector, how the grocery sector was responding to these changes and how these changes affected the shopping and travel practices of consumers. The paper will focus on one of these business models, the development of ‘click and collect’ and whether this has the potential to overcome some of the perceived barriers to an increase in online retailing.
Key findings show that shopping practices are changing, with the size of the weekly grocery shop reducing and an increase in local ‘top-up’ shopping trips. This is accompanied by an increase in the number of ‘metro’ or ‘local’ stores run by the big supermarkets, a different utilisation of space in the hypermarkets and the introduction of ‘click and collect’.
‘Click and collect’ was seen by the retailers to have the biggest potential for growth in online retailing. It has obvious benefits to the retailer by encouraging people to visit the store, increasing footfall and giving rise to the opportunity to pick up additional shopping, but it is unclear how such changes in shopping behaviours affect travel practices.
This paper exploresthe different ‘click and collect’ models, including,
• On line purchase and collection of goods purchased from the same retailer
• On line purchase and collection of goods purchased from a third party retailer
• On line purchase and collection of goods purchased from other retailers in the same chain.
• On line purchase and collection from lockers in non-retail outlets.
It will then move on to investigate how these changes to shopping practices could affect travel practices and the likely outcomes for carbon emissions.