Editors’ comment

 

Delivery, returns and collection. These may not seem the most glamorous or compelling part of online and multichannel retail, but make no mistake, they’re now key to the customer experience. How much delivery is going to cost, and how straightforward a return might be are deciding, if not primary, factors in whether a customer will choose to buy in the first place. The parcel’s punctuality and style of delivery then becomes key to the aftersales experience, and will underpin decisions on whether a customer will return as a loyal advocate, or choose to go elsewhere in the future.

For as Karen Gibson of Asda’s ToYou service ?? says in our extended case study, there are emotions at work throughout this part of the customer experience, and meeting expectations in this area is all part of a delivering a service that works. These are also ideas we explore in our strategic overview.

Over the pages of this Dimension Report we also set out to look at what the UK’s Top500 retailers offer, from the cutting-edge to the average, in research that sets out to understand exactly what retailers are doing to meet the demands of their shoppers, and, by implication, what customers now expect of the traders they buy from.

We take a hands-on approach to this area of the retail business, finding out what leading retailers are doing to give their customers the best delivery experience, from our series of case studies and in-depth analysis through to 12 approaches adopted by traders from across the UK.

We consider the research that underpins this Dimension Report in depth through two features. Analysing the numbers measures the delivery and collection promises given by Top500 retailers, while a second research feature focuses on returns. We’re also looking to the future in our emerging practice feature as we consider the implications of Brexit for logistics operations through the expert reflections of Duncan Buchanan, policy director of the Road Haulage Association.

As ever, we’d like to thank all the Knowledge Partners who have contributed their expertise and insights in both this and previous Dimension Reports. We welcome your thoughts on new areas of research as we add to our primary data and analysis. Please email: jonathan@internetretailing.net and chloe@internetretailing.net.

Jonathan Wright and Chloe Rigby, Editors

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