Retail in 2014: Delivery and fulfilment

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To mark the start of the New Year, here’s the second of our pieces looking at retail predictions for 2014. Today we focus on a function that’s moved centre stage in 2013 and is set to become more important still in the year ahead: delivery.

Alibaba.com

“As the e-commerce market becomes more crowded, a growing number of e-tailers are likely to try and satisfy people’s desire for immediacy by offering next or even same day delivery. The Micros Online Retail Delivery Report showed that 68% of retailers currently offer next day delivery, compared to 61% last year.

Get ahead of the curve by improving your delivery times and setting the standard in consumers receiving goods ordered online.”

James Hardy, head of Europe, Alibaba.com

Glue Reply

“Click and Collect has grown massively in update this year and is set to become even more prominent in 2014.

“Click and Collect brings retailers closer to their customer and in 2014 the customer experience in the last mile is going to be key. The role that Click and Collect can play in helping retailers create as personal a service as possiblefor each customer will become more significant in 2014. Retailers want to have an ongoing ‘conversation’ with their customers to create loyalty, and being able to provide a service on their customers’ terms that delivers on their promise.

“The opportunities and growth of click and collect services in various outlets on the local high street is going to shake up how big brands and retailers serve their customers and continue that personal service and conversation. Brands and retailers are going to be extending their promise and the customer journey into external suppliers. How retailers control and go about this will be critical.

“Taking this further, I see small shops on the high street becoming an interactive shop window for products. The Argos model; small selling space and warehouse in each store will be replicated. Technology now allows us to create a state of the art shopping environment where the front of the shop will be digital, taking little space and thus allowing stock to be stored at the back of the store in an optimum way.”

Daren Ward, associate partner, Glue Reply

Stibo Systems

“For online retailers, one of the most critical processes is getting your product to customers. With the growth of ecommerce, order fulfillment is now a critical business function and retailers are challenged to deliver the perfect order every time while providing a consistent brand experience from channel to channel; in store, catalog or online.”

Christophe Marcant, vice president of product strategy, Stibo Systems

Bazaarvoice

Retailers are continuing to listen to customer requests and suggestions and adapting their business structures across the value chain as a result. Amazon has begun to trial Sunday deliveries as part of its offering to Amazon Prime members. This is a move which has the potential to permanently change the speed at which customers expect to receive their goods from digital retailers. This being said, there are clear similarities between this and Sunday opening hours which only occurred in UK in the 1990s. This change has happened as a result of the digital revolution and is an obvious response to contemporary customer demand. We will continue to see similar adaptations being made over the coming year.

Pat Phelan, VP of client services, EMEA, at Bazaarvoice

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