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Ebay wants to grow in Europe with click & collect

Ebay is planning to expand its click and collect service across Europe. The American ecommerce company saw its buyers collect 1.5 million parcels from British store chain Argos during the first year and a half the service is running. Ebay noy wants to boost its presence in Europe by entering into several partnerships.

Paul Todd, who’s eBay’s senior vice president for Europe, told Bloomberg click and collect is becoming “the dominant way that consumers want their online purchases to be fulfilled”. It started working with Argos back in August 2013, giving customers the ability to pick up their products in store. The service covers about 750 stores across the United Kingdom and is being used by about 160,000 eBay merchants.

Click & collect becoming more popular across Europe
It’s not only eBay that has noted click and collect is a very popular delivery method. Last Christmas, more than half of online orders place with John Lewis department stores in the UK were picked up from a store, while France’s largest consumer-electronics chain Darty announced last week that 20 percent of all web sales in the fourth quarter were collected, an increase from 10% compared to the same period a year ago.

So picking up the purchase from a store rather than risk missing a home delivery is something more and more consumers in Europe prefer. And thus it’s getting a bigger priority for online retailers. This also applies to eBay, that says click and collect allows them to grow their seller base and increase their product range.

And the expanded click and collect service could well happen in the UK, where research company Mintel estimates that 17 percent of all online retail sales will be collected from stores this year. An increased effort from eBay to accommodate its customers in the UK wouldn’t be a surprise after all, as its sales in this European country have been growing at a faster than in the US, where eBay is losing ground to its larger competitor Amazon.

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The options for Ebay in the UK
It’s still unclear how the expanded click and collect service from eBay would look like. It is however a fact there’s surplus space in British supermarkets; J Sainsbury said earlier that about a quarter of its stores will have some under-utilized space in the next five years “The need for grocers to fill that space presents a huge opportunity for eBay”, Todd told Bloomberg. Another option could be the expanding of its partnership with Argos’ parent company Home Retail Group, by letting eBay customers pick up their goods at the Homebase DIY stores. Ebay is also said to be testing a service that allows its sellers to drop off items at Argos stores.

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