An IMRG survey of its retail members has revealed that 77% of them believe that strike action by the Communication Workers Union may discourage consumers from shopping online in the run up to Christmas.
"Ecommerce sales are set to top £50bn in 2009, even through the recession, but a strike of this nature has the potential to do significant harm to online retail sales," says David Smith, IMRG's director of operations. "Up to now 86% of the retailers surveyed have used Royal Mail for at least some of their deliveries but this option is being taken from them and 60% have already made alternative arrangements to bypass Royal Mail to protect their customers. For Royal Mail the impact of this industrial action is going to be disastrous".
The survey also found that 79% of those retailers offering alternative delivery arrangements would be absorbing any additional costs in an effort to minimise the impact on their customers, whilst 67% were taking steps to fully inform their online shoppers of potential delays on their websites at the time of order.
The research also revealed that 61% of the retailers have already received specific enquiries from concerned consumers about delivery arrangements in relation to the strike action.
With the first national strike set to bite on Thursday, IMRG has made practical advice to help minimise disruption for online retailers available on its website.