UK retailers not well prepared for Christmas shipping challenges
UK retailers are not well prepared to deal with some of the most important shipping challenges in the run-up to Christmas, according to new research from Temando. The research, which was carried out for Temando by Research Now amongst the UK’s micro, small, mid-size and enterprise retailers, explored specific areas of customer concern and found that:
- 77% weren’t well prepared to offer customers multiple shipping options during the checkout process on their websites, such as express and same day delivery
- 76% weren’t well prepared to handle potential shipping delays
- 75% weren’t well prepared to handle their return processes
- 79% weren’t well prepared in terms of back-end logistics such as pick and pack, labelling, documentation and transfer to carriers.
The research also revealed that many retailers’ back-end shipping processes are not totally automated. Retailers said that their systems for warehouse management (66%), booking a courier (63%), customer product returns (76%) and delivery tracking and customer communication (62%) were either manual or “only somewhat automated”.
“This suggests UK retailers will battle to meet heightened customer expectations when eCommerce volumes boom over the Christmas period,” said Temando.
The study also suggests that there is a correlation between a retailer’s size and its ability to meet customers’ expectations in the lead up to Christmas, with more than three times as many enterprise-sized retailers citing ‘incompatible technology platforms’ as a barrier to smooth customer order fulfilment than micro retailers.
“Larger retailers have the resources to adopt more advanced technology, such as Warehouse Management and Order Management Systems to help facilitate smoother deliveries and improve customer service, for which they should be applauded,” said Temando. “However, this does mean that these individual systems need further integration to advanced shipping technology to function at their most effective – particularly when they come under extreme pressure in the run up to Christmas.”
Carl Hartmann, Temando’s CEO and Co-Founder, commented: “Shipping and fulfilment are complex enough without the huge increase in shipments over the Christmas period. When carrier networks reach their peak, one week out from Christmas, retailers need to have automated their shipping and fulfillment processes to provide better experiences for their loyal customers. No one needs the added anxiety of waiting for their gifts to arrive on time before Christmas.”