European retailers are in danger of complacency when it comes to delivering in time for Christmas, an increasingly important factor for consumers when choosing who to shop with online.
Centiro, a delivery management service provider, is warning retailers they can’t afford to rest on their laurels when it comes to deliveries. Across Europe, online retail is forecasted to grow by 16.7 percent in 2016, which is great news for retailers.
However, they must now work to ensure delivery options develop in line with customer expectations, such as same-day delivery, 2 hour delivery windows and pick up from a variety of fulfilment locations.
“Once consumers clamoured for free deliveries, but they have now developed an understanding of how different options suit their specific needs and requirements,” said Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro. “For example, we recently saw ASOS outlining the important role a wide range of delivery and returns options has to play in its customer proposition going forward. People are now increasingly concerned with being able to access services such as next day and weekend deliveries, and having the ability to pick up from specified fulfilment points. This adds a level of complexity that retailers must be able to cope with.”
The bad news for retailers is that their current delivery efforts are far from perfect: half of European online shoppers experienced problems with an online order in the last year, according to the JDA/Centiro Customer Pulse report. This represents a significant problem, as almost three quarters (74 percent) of UK shoppers said they would switch to a rival if they experienced a problem with an online order.
“Being let down by a carrier is no excuse for retailers who fail to meet customer expectations when it comes to deliveries,” added Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro. “More than half of customers would expect the retailer to resolve problems with an order, even if the things that have gone wrong are out of their control. They need to focus on developing a robust and flexible carrier network, so they can provide customers with a broad range of tailored delivery options based on geography, cost and lead time. Doing this will enable retailers to give customers exactly what they want, and guarantee order promises won’t be broken at the most important time in the retail calendar.”