Advice for high street retail shops

From 13 May 2020, retail shops that must remain closed can provide a click and collect service. This guidance aims to provide businesses with information that can help them operate a click and collect service in the safest, responsible way.

Running a click and collect service in a busy high street is very different from supermarkets and shops in retail parks. The following guide provides retail businesses with best practice advice on running a click and collect service that

  • Keeps staff and customers safe,
  • Maintains social distancing and
  • Helps reduce the anxiety caused to customers of a number of businesses all competing for the public space outside shops

NOTE:- This guidance is not applicable to sales of new or second-hand cars, for which different considerations apply.

What does the legislation say?

Businesses that are not exempt under the regulations must remain closed to the public. A list of exempt business can be found on website.  

Throughout the emergency period retailers have been permitted to fulfil orders taken over the internet or telephone, provided goods were delivered. Where you can, we would encourage you to continue to offer delivery.

The regulations now allow a person to leave their home to collect goods which they have ordered from a business. This means retail shops that currently have to remain closed can run a click and collect service, provided the customer DOES NOT enter the business premises for any part of the transaction.

What do you need to consider to run a click and collect service?

Legal implications of online sales

Requiring online payment can have considerable benefits for retailers and customers. This fast, efficient payment method eliminates handling of cash or card payment devices and minimises the time each customer spends at the collection point. This guidance document advocates online payment to control the spread of disease.

With some exceptions, consumers have a legal right to cancel their order for any reason within 14 days of receipt or collection of their order, and then have a further 14 days in which they must return the goods. You must give consumers information about their cancellation rights at the time of receipt of the order.

The cancellation rights described above are in addition to consumers’ statutory rights that they can return goods that are not of satisfactory quality, not fit for their intended purpose or not as described. Further guidance is available on the Business Companion website  or by contacting Trading Standards.

Maintaining Social distancing – As a business you must ensure that your staff and customers maintain the social distancing rules. This includes how goods are paid for, planning for collections, minimising customers waiting time which creates queues, how goods are handed over and how goods are returned (if applicable). We recommend you consider the following:


  • Orders should only be received online, over the phone or by mail.
  • Ensure payments are taken on–line, over the phone or bank transfer, cash payments should not be taken. Remember all payment details are personal data and should be processed and disposed of in a secure manner.
  • Consider when you will run the click and collect service, as dealing with click and collect orders can be time consuming. Some smaller retailers have organised click and collect so that it only operates for part of the day, allowing the business owner and staff the time to manage orders and other types of delivery.
  • Organise time slots for collection, with a sufficient gap between each collection, taking into account any delays between the time a person arrives for collection and handing over the items. This will help reduce queues forming and help maintain social distancing.
  • Where you can, take a mobile number for the customer and consider sending them a message in advance of the collection time.
  • Plan ahead, so that items for collection are readily available and staff and customers are not delayed. Consider clearly marking items with order numbers so staff members can find the order quickly, and reduce the time customers are waiting.
  • Not all items are suitable for click and collect – If you are selling large or bulky items which are heavy or more difficult to for the customer to manage, you may wish to consider other methods of delivery.
  • We all still need to do what we can to reduce the spread of coronavirus. By asking the customer if they or anyone in their household has tested COVID positive or have underlying health conditions, you can consider alternatives to click and collect to prevent people from taking unnecessary risks.


  • Remember social distancing is vital. If you can, identify a way that the goods can be collected without the customer and staff coming into contact during the transaction. Key areas to consider include:
    • Queue Control: It is vital that you take steps to minimise and control queueing. Liaise with your local authority and neighbouring businesses to help identify the best way to manage queues so they have minimal impact
    • Signage: Be clear with customers where to queue, and place 2m markings with instructions/visual aids explaining the collection process
    • Door Control: Ensuring there is door control can prevent customers from stepping forward to pick up items until staff have stepped away from the collection point
  • Ensure your staff have suitable PPE, such as gloves and face coverings, in situations where they may be working closely alongside other employees or customers,
  • Ensure hand washing facilities or hand sanitisers are made available to staff to use between customer collections and frequently throughout the day.
  • Ensure any area where goods are left can be cleaned between each collection using an appropriate disinfectant that meets the requirement of British Standards BS EN 1276 or BS EN 13697 (the numbers will be on the bottle) and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, including how long the disinfectant should stay on before being wiped off.
  • If a customer has not arrived for their slot, contact them and be prepared to cancel and reschedule the appointment. Allowing them to just come later could impact on other customers and increase queues in public spaces.
  • If you have the necessary space, you may wish to consider the use of combination-coded lock boxes for customer collections

Post collections

  • Ensure that areas including contact surfaces are thoroughly cleaned using disinfectants (as above) at the end of each day.
  • Consider how you will address a returns policy whilst your business is closed to customers. This may need to operate in a similar manner to collections, reducing contact through contactless refunds, when, where and how customers return goods. You may decide to offer an extended period for returns
  • Keep returned items separate from other merchandise or stock to reduce the likelihood of transmission through touch. 
  • Review how the click and collect service is operated each day, and make adjustments when needed, to help make it safer for all
  • If you are able, get feedback from your customers on your service. This will help you to plan ahead as the lockdown for businesses eases.

How to work collaboratively with neighbouring businesses

Remember that you will not be the only business in your area considering running a click and collect service. We would encourage you to contact the businesses around you so that you can work together to minimise the disruption in the public spaces that could arise if several premises run a click and collect service at the same time.

The impact of COVID-19 has seen people’s behaviour change, as personal space and maintaining social distance has become the new norm. It is important that you and your staff are aware that people will act very differently and will have different concerns and expectations. Take the opportunity to consider the steps you can put in place to reduce any anxieties that may arise from a click and collect service, particularly in terms of maintaining social distancing and minimising waiting times.

What happens if a business does not comply with the regulations?

Local authorities across Coventry and Warwickshire, Police and Public Health Teams, want to work with businesses and support them to provide a safe environment for the business, their staff and customers to operate in. By working together we can help achieve this.

However, where businesses fail to follow the regulations they could be served a Prohibition Notice and Fixed Penalty Notice or they could even be prosecuted.

Where can you get more Advice?

Further helpful advice for shops and branches can be found on the website at the following links:

Working safely during COVID-19 in shops and branches

Working Safely During Coronavirus (COVID-19) – 8 Guides by workplace

Business Companion - Free, impartial legal guidance for businesses.

For consumer advice, contact Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.

Your Local Authority can provide advice and support. Contact details are as follows:-

Local Authority Email address
Warwickshire County Council
Coventry City Council
North Warwickshire District Council
Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council
Rugby Borough Council
Warwick District Council
Stratford District Council