A shopping centre in Wrexham has embraced the internet retail revolution and installed an Amazon Locker so people can pick up their online purchases.
According to Eagles Meadow manager Kevin Critchley, internet shopping has been great for business because it’s bringing more customers into the centre.
Click and collect sales have already been a big hit with stores reporting that more and more customers are ordering online and picking up their purchases in store, often the next day.
Among them is the Eagles Meadow branch of Marks and Spencer where there’s been a 50 per cent increase in click and collect shoppers coming in over the past 12 months.
Mr Critchley believes the Amazon Locker will give the centre another boost, bucking the conventional wisdom that internet shopping is bad for bricks and mortar retailers.
He said: “The public perception is that internet retailing is damaging shopping centres but many of the companies trading in traditional shopping centres are also trading on-line and we shouldn’t forget that.
“Most bricks and mortar retailers offer customers a click and collect option. Of course, there are many companies that have grown purely as online companies and Amazon is one of them.
“Amazon doesn’t have any physical shops and do all their business online. Nonetheless, they are a major retailer and a shopping centre that ignores new developments in retailing is failing to provide a full service to its customers.”
“The newly-installed Amazon Locker at Eagles Meadow means customers who shop through Amazon have an easy and convenient location to collect their purchases at any time throughout the day.
“For Eagles Meadow, it means we are part of a new growing shopping experience and a new trend and it also gives people another reason to visit Eagles Meadow.
“Clearly, it’s entirely likely that people calling to collect their purchases from the Amazon Locker will do other things at Eagle Meadow. They will visit other shops, maybe go to the cinema or enjoy a game of tenpin.
“Or of course people may decide to enjoy a meal at one of restaurants. Fortunately no one has yet found a way to eat a meal on the internet – you can order one but not eat it.”
Eagles Meadow M&S manger Deborah Hitchen, says her store’s Order and Collect service is proving increasingly popular with customers.
She said: “I would say we have seen a 50% increase in customers using the service in the past 12 months and I expect to see a further rise over the next 12 months.
“It’s all about customer convenience. There’s a really fast turnaround so customers can pick up their purchases whenever it suits them.
“The system suits many customers because they can sit in the comfort of their own home and view the full M&S catalogue on a tablet or lap-top and order what they want in the size they want and know it will be here to collect the next day. There is no waiting for delivery.
“And it maybe they want a style or size that we don’t have room to stock in our Wrexham store but they can still order and collect it.
“It also means people can try their purchases on in the comfort of their own safe in the knowledge they can get a no quibble refund should they need it.”
She added: “Importantly for us it also means we have customers visiting the store to collect their purchases. And that means customers may want to browse other sections, the food hall or even just enjoy a coffee and snack in our restaurant.
“I see our online Order and Collect system as a new way of shopping but also as something very positive for our Eagles Meadow store.”