Clothing store owner cannot understand why click and collect is off until May

Businesswoman wonders why it is safe to wait for takeaway food but not clothing

Shop owners said revenue could be boosted by as much as 50 per cent overnight if  click and collect resumed. File photograph: iStock

Shop owners said revenue could be boosted by as much as 50 per cent overnight if click and collect resumed. File photograph: iStock

 

Retailers have expressed dismay and anger that a resumption of click-and-collect services is to be pushed back until May at the earliest, warning this could have a devastating impact on many small businesses.

Shop owners said revenue could be boosted by as much as 50 per cent overnight if consumers were once again allowed to order and pay for products over the phone or online before collecting them.

Be Rowland owns a children’s clothes shop called Scallywags in Claremorris, Co Mayo, and she told The Irish Times she was disappointed that a click-and-collect option would not be allowed to resume any earlier.

“We sell online but a lot of older people looking to buy presents for grandchildren don’t like or are not able to shop online,” Ms Rowland said.

She pointed out that the reintroduction of click and collect would see her revenue climb by between 10 and 20 per cent. “That is a big difference for a business like mine.”

She expressed frustration that big retailers like Dunnes Stores and Tesco are selling clothes, despite restrictions on non-essential retail that affect other outlets. “No one is saying anything about that,” she said.

“We are working in the shop processing orders and people knock on the window and ask if we are open but we have to send them away. I can’t understand how it is apparently safe to collect a takeaway and wait 10 minutes for your food but you can’t collect a babygrow from a shop like ours when there is no waiting at all. It is not like we would have queues lining up to buy the clothes.”

Passing trade

Similar frustration was expressed by Lamber de Bie, who operates a florists in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny.

He said as much as 50 per cent of his business could resume immediately if he was allowed offer a click-and-collect service.

“We have two shops and one is beside a big supermarket,” he said. “We would have had a lot of passing trade before but all that is gone now.”

He said when he was allowed to offer click and collect, customers could at least point at flowers in the window, order them over the phone and pay with a credit card and them pick them up from outside the shop without any human contact in the transaction.

“We have to say no to those customers now and tell them that if they want the flowers they will have to order them online and then pay an extra €7.50 for us to deliver them to their homes even though they are standing right outside the door.”

He said the only sales now were for special occasions as the spontaneous purchases had largely gone.

“We will be able to ride this out because we have been in business for 20 years but there are others who are going to struggle and it would make such a huge difference to all small businesses if they could allow click and collect. You can order a takeaway coffee and go into a café to pick it up but not buy a bunch of flowers. It is madness.”