Fragmented approach towards contactless Click & Collect during lockdowns

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Ecommerce Europe has been following the issue of contactless Click & Collect solutions since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as different approaches have been adopted across the European Union. With almost half of the world’s population at home, the outbreak has sped up the digital transformation of omnichannel businesses. Retailers have developed new services such as contactless Click & Collect to continue serving many consumers online. However, diverging regulations and classifications at national and regional levels prevent these retailers from implementing these solutions, reducing their resilience to future virus outbreaks and slowing down recovery.

In fact, several Member States have not allowed contactless Click & Collect, especially during the first lockdown. In some EU countries (e.g. federal states), local authorities have adopted different approaches within the same state, or even interpreted it differently, as there is no EU-wide definition of “contactless Click & Collect”.

This is the case for instance in Germany, where a new lockdown has been recently declared due to the increasing numbers of contagions by COVID-19. With the new lockdown and the closing of “non-essential” shops in some countries, a proactive approach towards omnichannel commerce and the possibility to offer safe, contactless Click & Collect services to consumers is crucial for the continuation of the economy activities of the sector and its survival in these difficult times.

Besides allowing economy activities to continue, contactless Click & Collect would also mitigate the pressure on logistics and delivery services, as the whole e-commerce sector around Europe is faced with the challenge of fulfilling the greatly increased demand for products around the holidays.

A more uniform approach to contactless Click & Collect, and eventually to store classifications, across the European Union would prevent legal fragmentation and uncertainty for businesses, especially those operating cross-border, ensure the safe and timely provision of goods and provide a level playing field across the Single Market.

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