LONDON: Ahead of an expected surge in online Christmas shopping, online retailers are setting up more collection options for consumers worried about missing a delivery or it not arriving on time.

A report from consumer magazine Which? revealed that one in ten online shoppers in the UK last year had problems with late deliveries and 20% of those had been put off ordering online again this year, the Scotsman reported.

"It's a sorry state of affairs when people are put off buying online because they have had their fingers burned by dodgy deliveries in the past," said Richard Lloyd, Which? executive director. "Retailers need to get a grip and make sure delivery services are first class, first time."

Four in ten of this "burned" group were instead turning to click and collect or choosing to have items sent to another address. They were also taking the logical step of ordering earlier.

Amazon, which already operates a range of collection options, including lockers at London train stations and a 'Pass my Parcel' service at newsagents and supermarkets, has extended its coverage yet further by signing up to the Royal Mail's Local Collect service, thus enabling consumers to choose to pick up from any one of more than 10,000 post offices.

Catalogue retailer Argos has also joined the trend pioneered by grocery chains to offer collection points at London tube stations. Its first Argos Collect store has just opened, with the format aiming to take advantage of the increase in digital sales – some 43% of all sales are now online, 22% mobile – and to widen its audience to include customers in areas where it does not have any stores.

"Digital shoppers are increasingly demanding improved choice, convenience and speed in the fulfillment of their online orders, especially via click and collect," said John Walden, chief executive at Argos parent company Home Retail Group, in remarks reported by Marketing Week.

The size of this market is large and growing, with consultancy Deloitte predicting that click-and-collect sales will reach £2.5bn over the Christmas period.

Data sourced from Scotsman, Marketing Week; additional content by Warc staff