As part of Ecommerce World Review, DelieryX’s editor Katie Searles sat down with Jason Burrell, vice president intelligrated EMEA at Honeywell, and Bobbie Ttooulis group marketing director for GFS to discuss speedy deliveries, consumers collecting and the on-going challenges of returns.
Covering key findings from the soon to be published DeliveryX Top 500 UK report, the panel also highlighted trends within the ecommerce logistics landscape.
Harnessing RetailX research, the speakers firstly looked at the shift away from next day delivery.
“What we know to be true is that consumers expect and demand a wide choice of delivery options so they can pick the one that best suits them the one that’s going to be most convenient,” stated Ttooulis.
Quoting a recent survey of 1,000 UK shoppers, she explained that 66% would choose a retailer who offered them the wider choice of delivery options over one that didn’t, while one in two would abandon their purchase due to not finding a delivery option that was convenient for them.
Ttooulis went on to say that while retailers of course understand these consumers’ demands, the reality is hard. “The challenge they have is that in order to offer multiple choices, it means working with multiple carriers. It means managing multiple carriers, contracts, relationships and technology integrations.”
For Burrell technology is critical: “You’ve always had the early adopters and it’s very, very important to try and be ahead of the game. But what we’ve seen in the past two to three years is a real shift towards customers really engaging about the future of their businesses.”
Could this future include more click and collection solutions? The panel discussed the growing trend of collection offerings, with retailers such as homeware store Dunelm reporting additional spending in store by those customers collecting. For Burrell he also had personal experience of click and collect, as well as Honeywell providing the technology to support it: “Click and collect is something which we feel is an important part of the retail experience today, just as myself and my family does, consumers expect that we can quickly go online and book a slot, a dedicated slot.”
“Click and collect is here to stay,” he continued.
While collection solutions is a trend retailers may welcome, the webinar also looked at the craze of ecommerce returns.
Ttooulis noted: “There’s a huge amount of stock that is tied up in the returns process, whether it’s stuck in transit, or it’s stuck on somebody’s bedroom floor – because they’ve got three weeks to return it but they’ve got no intention of keeping it.”
She went on to stress that during this process the retailer has “no visibility of what’s going to come to them, or what condition it’s going to be in until it actually arrives at the warehouse” and this impacts retailers bottom line.
The panel were under no illusions that returns will remain a challenging part of ecommerce. It is how the retailers can streamline the process, whether through technology and as Burrell suggested tracking algorithms, or by simply taking the reverse shipping fee from the customer’s refund, that will help manage the issue.
“Now more than ever, there is the opportunity for retailers to reset expectations around returns and delivery” Ttooulis said. “Consumers are more aware than ever about the cost of living, rising fuel charges, etc. Now is the right time for retailers to be rethinking their returns policies and resetting those expectations.”
Click here to watch the webinar in full