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Click-and-Collect Firm Plans to Emulate European Success in the US

The new movement afoot in retail sees innovators striving to bridge the online-offline gap, all in the name of building seamless, meaningful experiences for the consumer while minding the bottom line.

Doddle is one such business hoping to strike gold in this arena. The British company, which began solely as a click-and-collect technology provider and now offers even more omnichannel services, has found a following in the U.K. and Europe with clients including Amazon, Asos and Marks & Spencer.

Now, it will learn from retail and tech industry experts as one of 30 startups—culled from 2,000 applications—lucky enough to have made the cut for the retailer, brand, supply chain and logistics accelerator programs run by Plug and Play, the Silicon Valley innovation platform.

Across the pond, Doddle originally helped retailers connect shoppers with the orders they’d placed online—but not necessarily by making them visit a store. Instead, Doddle set up click-and-collect centers in places many people frequented as part of their daily lives, including high-footfall destinations like train stations for commuters, or neighborhood markets where consumers grab their groceries a couple times a week.

It was a point of differentiation from how most American retailers tackle online-offline shopping—by nudging consumers into stores, where they often make incremental purchases—but similar to Amazon Lockers, which live in the places people frequent, like fitness clubs.

Now, Doddle brings a broader omnichannel view to retail operations, offering solutions that enable a merchant’s online shoppers to reserve in-store product. And the pick and ship option monitors brick-and-mortar stock levels so retailers can fulfill orders from store without depleting their stock and sacrificing sales.

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Doddle officially launched in the U.S. in January and Dan Nevin, the company’s stateside CEO, thinks participating in the renowned accelerator will help the tech firm reach the next level. Describing Doddle’s Plug and Play acceptance as “groundbreaking,” Nevin said, “We’re raring to go in the U.S. because we know from our experiences in the U.K. and Europe that once retailers incorporate our technology into their experience they never look back.”

And Will Decker, Plug and Play’s vice president for brand and retail, sees a clear trend toward fulfillment and delivery among the accelerator’s supporters, adding, “it’s clear our corporate partners are very focused on Delivery as a Service which includes Click & Collect and similar omnichannel logistics challenges that are quickly becoming table stakes.”

Decker continued, “Doddle is slang in the U.K. for making things simple and that’s what stands out for us. This forward-thinking brand re-imagines issues as opportunities and finds fresh ways of making what has looked complex for years a ‘doddle.’ They’re a breath of fresh air in the e-commerce world and we know there will be a real appetite for what they’re offering.”

Online shopping continues to outshine the total market for retail. eMarketer projects e-commerce growth of 20.7 percent in 2019 to reach $3.5 trillion, far outpacing the forecasted 4.5 percent growth for all retail, which is set to command $25 trillion in sales. With the market’s expansion expected to continue, opportunities that capitalize on the convenience of shopping, coupled with the speed and immediacy of retrieving purchases in a nearby store are plentiful.

And whether you call it BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in store) or click-and-collect, shoppers appreciate having options for how they get their deliveries.

“Retailers who can adopt and drive customers towards BOPIS will win on many fronts,” Doddle wrote in a blog post last week. “The customer experience is in the retailers’ hands, rather than at the mercy of a rushed delivery driver or a soggy porch parcel.”