But it's not foolproof either. When executed poorly, it can impact customer loyalty.
A significant pain point continues to be inventory information. Too often, online ordering tells shoppers inventory is available, when it turns out not to be the case.
Retailers are investing to improve their inventory data systems. This can cost a midsize specialty retailer with a sales range of $2 billion to $4 billion anywhere from $10 million to $20 million, said Steve Osburn, a supply chain strategist at global consultancy Kurt Salmon.
But even the best technology can't help when shoppers move an item from its expected location while browsing in a store, rendering the last item in stock a challenge to find.
Offering a click-and-collect option also adds new tasks for in-store staff, who have to pick and pack orders for shoppers in addition to their existing duties.
Currently, a small portion of total purchases are completed through click and collect, but it is growing in use, with 49 percent of Americans trying it for the first time last year, according to an exclusive survey conducted for CNBC by consumer market research company InfoScout. The survey polled 1,000 consumers on Jan. 9 and 10 of this year.
According to Slice Intelligence, which scans more than 3 million email receipts, consumers used Wal-Mart's buy online, pick up in store option the most during the holiday period, followed by Best Buy, Target, Kmart (owned by Sears Holding), and Macy's.