Is the Click and Collect e-commerce model broken in Australia?

The click and collect concept is a fairly simple one to grasp. Order something online, and collect it at the most convenient location.

Reality however, doesn’t work quite that way. Let us look at retailer X, which is a fairly established retail brand. I place an order on their website, and select the click and collect delivery method.

Expected outcome: I should be able to walk into my desired store, and pick my purchase up the same day.

Actual outcome: I have to wait 3 business days, before the pickup is available at my desired store.

It would have made more sense if I had just walked into the store, paid with my card and walked out without ever making an online transaction.

Why is click and collect not working?

It seems like inventory management is the key culprit. The online store’s inventory varies from the retail store’s inventory. Everyone can view stock in other stores, but each store has its own inventory.

You can imagine what happens, when an online transaction is made for click and collect.

The product has to be delivered from the online store’s warehouse to the desired pickup location. This shouldn’t be happening, but it is.

Ideally, the system should be capable of recording an online sale, and mark that sale against the actual store’s inventory  with barely a hiccup. (Assuming stock is available in store.)

When done correctly, the click and collect method offers a convenient way for the customer to pick their purchase up right away, without the delay/hassle of shipping.

It also ramps up foot traffic to the retail store, opening up the opportunity for increased sales.

The solution isn’t necessarily difficult. Retailers and customers alike have the same end goal: to make the process of buying something, easy.

If it isn’t broken, it doesn’t need fixing. Some might argue that the model serves a different purpose in the grand scheme of e-commerce, or even that it’s working beautifully in its intended role.

From my point of view, not being able to collect my purchase the day I buy it online, simply does not make sense – especially when it is available in the store. It’s just not good enough.

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Event photography

Not easy at all, especially wedding AD (actual day) shots. Tough to get to the right spot, indoor lighting is a bitch without flash, have to make sure the subjects stay still (if it is even possible).

That being said, some of the pictures still turned out good. Continuous low speed shots saved the day heh heh, and cropping saved a few more. Case in point:

And I think I look pretty good in this picture. SUIT UP!

V says I look like a client who has just been taken to court. Oh well, it could’ve been worse. And the pic looks a little grainy because of the high ISO, forgot to swap it back to 200 after I exited the church.

(Removed excerpt from recent posts; they now display in full. Makes the blog look a little richer IMO.)

What, February already!

Once again, time is whizzing by. Stan (my brother) has been over with us in Melbourne for a month already, and is still waiting for the start of his university adventures. Having another person in the house isn’t too bad, especially if it’s someone you’ve known for the better part of twenty years. One more person to watch HIMYM/PS3/basketball/bitch with = good.

And yes I have been taking pictures, but have gotten very lazy. (As always.) I have been particularly remiss in updating my Flickr/blog with recent pictures, and am still posting them on Facebook. So here you go, here’s a recent picture I took.

On another note, work is absolutely looking to be full of migrations, migrations and more migrations. Old servers looking to get phased out, procurement of new hardware, OS installation and software configuration, and of course the most important bit – checking to make sure everything is good to go, before we execute the change.

On top of that, I have a few Cisco 7200s waiting to be rolled out; with brand new NPE-G2s to boot. I love new hardware heh heh. The bad thing about the NPE-G2: it requires newer versions of the IOS, and yes that means it is not backward compatible with IOS versions, 12.3 and earlier IIRC. And about network migrations: it takes a lot of design work and planning. One wrong command, and things go bellyup very, very fast. This is a bad thing, especially when we are talking about many customers. And when it comes to the internet, a lot of customers have an expectation of 99.999999% uptime. Working through an outage while thousands of customers are screaming; not a pretty sight. So yes, at least four separate network migrations, and three server migrations for 2010. Planned ones, discounting potential outages.

I’m looking forward to an increase in broadband sales this year, with the newly designed broadband plans. It feels great to be able to produce a competitive product, and to have customers sign up for it; that’s basically a seal of approval on how good the plan is.

And yep, that’s basically it for now. I’ll probably rant more on Google Buzz, since it’s way more convenient than posting on Twitter or Facebook. Follow me if you’re interested: keindall at gmail dot com.

Photography: Lens flare, and indoor events

Had a few shots with excellent lens flare today – makes me like the lens that much more.

I experimented with taking pictures on the move, which didn’t turn out too bad either.

Sitting the camera on ground level brings a new perspective.

And one important (but very obvious) limitation I learnt about the camera today – taking pictures in a low light setting is fine, but taking pictures in almost no light is not fine. Another bit about event photography – never get too distracted by the food/beer! I missed so many moments while scrambling to shove the plate/beer away. That being said, many of the pictures taken at Andrew’s birthday dinner turned out pretty great. Here’s one if you were interested.

Photography: High ISO on night scenery

OK, so I had a horrible headache for the better half of a day, and skipped out on work. Popped a couple of Panadols and headed right back to bed; good thing FHM was in the mail last night.

The only presentable shot for today (well, yesterday since it’s past midnight):


Aperture priority with aperture wide open at f1.8; shutter was at 1/83 according to EXIF. ISO 3200, and it turned out pretty shitty when blown up full-size. What you see here is the product of some slight retouching so heh.

I think I should stick to a longer exposure and lower the ISO next time round. But hey, not too bad for a hand-held shot, no? I posted this picture on Facebook with the caption:

Moral of the story: ISO 3200 should never be used on a night scenery shot.

Got a round of questions about why it didn’t look good. I should bash my own photographs more in future; it seems to be really effective at netting compliments heh heh. I’m sorry I’m fussy ;p Really.