eBay unveils Click & Collect service in the UK, partners with Argos so small merchants can offer in-store collections

eBay unveils Click & Collect service in the UK, partners with Argos so small merchants can offer ...

eBay is already known as the leading marketplace for amateur online resellers, but now the company is looking to brick-and-mortar retailers as its next big driver for growth in the UK.

Click & Collect is a new initiative that will give eBay customers the ability to buy products from their preferred retailer and then pick them up in store. Admittedly, it’s not a particularly new or innovative idea: plenty of retailers already offer this reservation scheme through their own dedicated sites.

Argos is one of the major retailers supporting Click & Collect at launch. They’ve also partnered with eBay to allow a number of smaller merchants to specify an Argos store as a pick-up location for their customers. It’s a formidable deal, given that Argos has the scale and high street presence needed to make Click & Collect a viable option.

The feature helps to reaffirm eBay’s bid to be a centralized, unified portal for all e-commerce. If users know that all of their favorite retailers support Click & Collect, there’s a chance that they’ll head to eBay to complete all of their purchases in one fell swoop, rather than jumping across the Web to submit orders at different sites.

Retailers will always be keen to increase their own sales in the UK, both through payments online and raising the footfall in their physical store. Click & Collect caters to both these needs, with the only downside being that they’re directing a large portion of their customers away from their purpose-built e-commerce site.

Amazon already has a similar concept called Amazon Locker. These are essentially automated safes, which you can specify to have any of your Amazon parcels delivered to. A unique code is sent via email and you can then pick up your package at a time convenient to you.

The problem is that Amazon Lockers aren’t particularly prevalent in the UK yet. If eBay can grab support from all of the major retailers that dominate the high street and market the scheme effectively, there’s a chance they could embed Click & Collect before one of their biggest rivals gains traction.

Read next: Local one-hour delivery service eBay Now is coming to London in early 2014