John Lewis breaks click and collect record over Christmas - but is hit by Black Friday

John Lewis has revealed that its omni-channel service Click & collect “broke records” over the Christmas period.

Click and collect is a popular way for retailers to bridge the gap between their online and physical presences, often offering customers a quicker way to receive goods that they order over the internet compared with having them delivered to the home.

Mark Lewis, online director at John Lewis, said in the company’s trading update for the week to 27 December 2014: “It was the week when our Click & collect service broke records. We had billed 2014 as the Click & collect Christmas and it certainly came to pass.

“The number of parcels sent into our John Lewis and Waitrose shops were up 30 percent on this time last year.”

Online orders were boosted by people shopping via mobile devices on Christmas Day, Lewis added. Orders on the festive day - when bricks and mortar stores were closed - were up 19 percent “with sales peaking at 9pm as customers shopped from their mobile devices”, Lewis said.

Black Friday effect

However, the amount of revenue John Lewis made in the week had fallen by £1.74 million (1.4 percent) from £127.98 million in 2013 to £126.24 million in 2014.

The sales in the week up to Christmas were also less than in the week John Lewis, and other UK retailers, ran Black Friday deals.

This led Andy Street, John Lewis’ managing director, to tell the BBC that the US shopping tradition was “more challenging profitability-wise” and to question whether it was “right” for UK companies to offer large discounts on Black Friday.

Many UK retailers’ websites crashed or ran slowly during the Black Friday sales, and some, such as Marks & Spencer, suffered a backlog of online order deliveries for weeks afterwards., for example, reported a 300 percent increase in traffic during the early hours of Black Friday, which began at midnight.

About 70 percent of traffic came from smartphones and tablets between midnight and 8am and at this time online sales peaked with almost 13,000 orders placed during one hour between 8am and 9am. The site crashed for a number of customers throughout the day.

The issues highlight a need for retailers’ marketing departments to become more closely linked with IT and logistics operations teams to ensure that deals can actually be served and delivered to customers.

John Lewis saw its sales rise 22 percent in the week at the end of November when it ran Black Friday deals - the biggest ever week for sales in its 150-year trading history. It also surpassed a previous sales record set during the week before Christmas in 2013.

In the five weeks to 27 December - which includes Black Friday - John Lewis said that its online sales grew 19 percent, with online revenue representing 36 percent of total sales, up from 32 percent the same period last year. Over half - 56 percent - of the online sales were picked up via click and collect.

Image © iStock/TonyBaggett

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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