Retailers risk losing Christmas business over stock unavailability and delivery time constraints
Stock availability issues and unsuitable delivery times have resulted in nearly a fifth (19%) of UK online Christmas shoppers using an alternative retailer, according to the latest JDA/Centiro Christmas Customer Pulse report. As many as 12% of UK adults who did any shopping online said they used an alternative retailer because their preferred retailer did not have items available online, according to the report (which was conducted online by YouGov).
In addition, 7% said that they had shopped with an alternative retailer because delivery times failed to meet their requirements.
Almost four in five (78%) said they would switch to an alternative retailer when shopping online, due to a poor experience with ordering an item online at Christmas. Specifically, 76% said they would switch to an alternative retailer because of a poor home delivery experience, 66% due to a poor Click & Collect experience, 74% as a result of a poor returns experience and 79% due to poor issue resolution.
“Christmas shoppers have become increasingly savvy, as they look to use the channels that best suit their budget and lifestyle. This means retailers cannot afford to stand still if they are to meet customers’ growing online shopping expectations,” said Jason Shorrock, vice president of retail strategy EMEA at JDA.
“Customers expect products to be available 24/7 and for retailers to offer convenient delivery and collection options. This is the added level of complexity that retailers must be able to cope with. Ultimately, a smarter and more effective supply chain shouldn’t just be for Christmas – without one, retailers risk damaging customer loyalty and their profits throughout the year.”
Overall the research revealed a slight decrease in the number of delivery and Click & Collect issues encountered by UK online Christmas shoppers: 32% said they had experienced an issue, down from 33% in the previous year’s report. Of those shoppers that encountered an issue, 31% experienced late deliveries, 23% never actually received the items that they ordered and 22% received damaged items. Nearly a third (32%) of Christmas Click & Collect shoppers encountered issues with their Click & Collect orders, which was down from 36% in the previous report.
This year, many retailers again set Christmas ordering deadlines to try to ensure items were received in time; this shaped shopping behaviour in the lead up to Christmas. More than a quarter (27%) of Christmas online shoppers ordered items online earlier than planned (compared to 23% in 2015), while 21% shopped in store, instead of online (compared to 19% in 2015).
Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro, commented: “Christmas delivery deadlines have become a crucial necessity for many retailers as they look to keep order promises. However, as many online shoppers increasingly come to expect same- and next-day deliveries as the norm, the prospect of customer loyalty for promises kept brings with it significant potential gains. Those retailers that can effectively scale their delivery networks to offer flexible delivery options while at the same time guarantee order promises will be the winners in 2017.”
To download the JDA/Centiro Christmas Customer Pulse Report 2017, click here.