John Lewis has reported that sales of goods online that were then collected in store surpassed all expectations over the 2014 Christmas period as the e-commerce market continues to evolve.
Jumping on the Black Friday bandwagon also paid dividends for the firm, which saw the biggest week for sales in its 150-year history.
Online sales were especially strong on the day, after traffic rose 300 percent during the early hours of trading on Black Friday compared with 2013.
This boost, followed by the traditionally strong Christmas sales period, helped drive total sales at John Lewis to £777m, up 5.8 percent on last year.
As online sales rose so did the use of 'click and collect' services. The number of parcels sent to stores for collection jumped 30 percent compared with the 2013 Christmas period.
"We had billed 2014 as the click and collect Christmas and it certainly came to pass," said John Lewis online director Mark Lewis.
"We were able to extend our order cut-off until 8pm on the 23rd for collection on Christmas Eve and saw last minute customers take advantage of the convenience this provided."
The rise of ‘click and collect’ at John Lewis underlines the importance of this form of online shopping, which mixes traditional in-store buying with online ordering.
Andy Street, managing director of John Lewis, said that this proved the need for physical stores to complement online buying.
"The role of the shop is absolutely critical in providing the online sales," he told the BBC.
Street added that investments in IT systems and personnel were critical in meeting the demand from online buyers.
"The investments we have made and the new capabilities we have built in recent years in distribution and IT have been fundamental in ensuring we successfully navigate this changing shape of trade," he said.
This investment no doubt also came in handy on Christmas Day as buyers flocked to the site to snap up bargains as early as possible during the firm's sales.
“On Christmas Day orders were up 19 percent with sales peaking at 9pm as customers shopped from their mobile devices while also watching Downton Abbey in the background,” said Lewis.
Other major retailers, such as M&S, are expected to reveal their Christmas trading figures soon, which will give further insight into the changing nature of the e-commerce market.
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