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Click and collect services are helping traditional high street brands fight back against the dominance of online retailers, according to our latest research, which analysed the online strategies for the top retailers, manufacturers, aggregators and reviewers within the online consumer electronics sector.

The report, which was produced by our insights team reviewed the performance of the leading players across a number of key verticals, including tablets and eReaders, mobile and home phones, televisions, DVD/blu-ray, home cinema and sat nav, GPS and car accessories between September 2012 and September 2013.

In this post, our Head of Insight Phil McGuin takes a look at how Click and Collect is changing the digital landscape within Consumer Electronics sector.

The Rise of Click and Collect

‘Click and collect’ services allow traditional high street retailers to offer a truly holistic consumer experience, in which online is often the initial customer touch point. The research reveals that the majority of brands that are dominating are traditional high street retailers that offer click and collect services, such as Argos (13.93% overall click-share) and Curry’s (11.59%). Conversely, brands such as eBay, the world’s largest online auction site, that only introduced a ‘click and collect’ service in partnership with Argos in September, performs poorly with just 2.33% of aggregated click-share.

However, retailers with a naturally high cost base and infrastructure continue to be challenged by digitally-savvy and cost-conscious consumers who are defaulting to Amazon, whose pure online operation and brand partner network provides them with the ability to sell products more cost-effectively.

In our research, Amazon is the most visible brand across all ten sub-verticals with an aggregated click-share of 29%, benefiting from a large presence for all consumer electronics products analysed and a consistent performance across both organic and paid search.

Whilst ‘click and collect’ is helping high street retailers reduce their operational costs, including the millions of pounds lost on missed home deliveries, our research also identifies a clear demand for flexibility to suit the individual purchasing as well as reliable, expert product advice and knowledge in order for retailers to sustain their position in the market. The ability to offer in-store advice, where both the experience and service can be tailored, was a key selling point for these retailers but, many are failing to translate this to the digital landscape.

Across the ten biggest markets within the consumer electronics sector, review sites account for 13.78% of the overall organic click-share, putting them in direct competition with online retailers for premium positions within the search engine results pages (SERPS). In some markets, such as video games, Techradar, T3, Ign and Trusted Reviews account for more than a quarter of the total click share and also feature highly in the mobile phones market, with close to 29% total click-share.

The fundamentals of selling electrical goods haven’t changed because retail is done digitally. Customers still value the right product, at the right price, backed up with the right service and advice. Many retailers are doing the first three parts very well, yet allowing others to take on the fourth. Those retailers that actually look to offer consumers the content that they are craving will probably find that they’ll claw back some significant click share from product reviewers.