ATHENS – It was a survival idea for businesses during another COVID-19 lockdown and now the scheme called click-and-collect to let shoppers order online and pick up at stores seems ready to become permanent in Greec
Businesses were closed down 17 weeks in 2020 in two lockdowns in a bid to slow the spread of the Coronavirus, continued into 2021 until at least Jan. 11 with a second closure of non-essential businesses pushed back from Jan. 7.
During the holiday period, retailers were able to make some sales through click-and-collect that required reservations to pick up purchases outside stores and with queue of nine people as a limit, wearing masks and staying away from others.
Store owners are near desperate to open again – click-and-collect has been suspended until the lockdown lifts – and most seem ready to keep it in place as another way of getting people to buy goods even after they’re allowed inside.
Shopkeepers are looking forward to the “click inside” system, which allows purchases to be made inside a store but only after making an appointment as people are reluctant to shop for items such as clothes or shoes without trying them on.
Yiannis Hatzitheodosiou, Chairman of the Athens Professional Chamber, said he wants stores to open for inside purchases with the appointment system to stave off massive losses that could see many close for good otherwise.
“The government ought to speak clearly. Since it cannot support the market financially, it should give it the right to work, naturally under certain rules and with full respect to health protocols. Otherwise, it will be responsible for the financial ruin of all those enterprises and their employees,” he said, reported Kathimerini.
Hatzitheodosiou, also President of the Piraeus Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the “click inside” method might help increase turnover for stores ahead of the winter sales period, especially if general openings don't happen soon.
“The point is to implement the improved version of the click-away model, the click-inside system, by the opening of the winter sales window on January 11. The opening up of retail commerce as early as permitted is now the main need of the retail market, with the wish for a new year with fewer coronavirus cases, which combined with the vaccinations will allow for a new normality,” he also said.