Super-fast delivery looks likely to be one of 2016’s key battle lines, with a gap emerging between shopper demands and retailers’ capabilities.
In its State of Shipping In Commerce survey of 1,000 consumers and more than 200 retailers, Temando has highlighted a number of areas where customer expectations are ahead of retailers’ service provisions, and the growing disconnect between the two.
One of the findings was that 78% of UK customers want to be offered same-day delivery, and 47% of them would be willing to pay a premium for it. But only 53% of UK retailers currently provide same-day delivery.
Time-slot based delivery presents itself in a similar light, according to Temando, with 86% of UK shoppers saying they’ve used, or would like to use, time-slot delivery, yet only 38% of retailers provide this as an option.
In the logistics & operations dimension of the InternetRetailing Top500 report (IRUK Top500), published in early February, it was clear that while many retailers have grown their range of delivery options, next-day still dominates, with faster services still in the minority. Next-day is offered by 63% of retailers, according to the IRUK Top500, with only 6% of the Top 500 UK retailers currently offering same-day.
This gap between provision of delivery options and customer expectations is not invisible to retailers; 39% fear they will lose customer loyalty, 36% think it will negatively image on brand image, and 21% fear negative comments on social media.
The ability to offer a wider range of delivery, collections and returns options is becoming one of the key retailer differentiators; whether through their own efforts, or through strategic partnerships, those retailers who are genuinely able to put customer convenience ahead of their own systems will be those that win. Those who are unable to offer convenience, or better service, may find themselves relegated to competing primarily on price.
Temando’s research also suggests that many UK retailers are restricted in the number of omnichannel and high-speed shipping services they can offer because of a lack of back-office and supply chain automation, with more than a quarter of retailers still manually booking their couriers, as well as a reliance on centralised distribution models.
The findings show that 40% of enterprise, 46% of small and 48% of mid-level UK retailers are still shipping their goods from a single warehouse, which makes it much harder to coordinate faster and more cost-effective delivery.
“Shipping and fulfilment are very complex and important processes that are traditionally viewed as a cost centre for many businesses,” said Carl Hartmann, CEO and co-founder of Temando. “But with smart investments in software and hardware technology, especially the automation of multiple shipping options, many large and small retailers can transform shipping and fulfilment into a bona fide sales tool, a competitive advantage, and a key way to build customer loyalty.”