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IRX 2012: PREVIEW: Interview with Alan Braithwaite of LCP Consulting

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In our latest preview of one of our major events of the year, Internet Retailing Expo (IRX 2012), we asked Alan Braithwaite of LCP Consulting for a sneak preview of his insights into how retailers can balance the customer experience and the economics of fulfillment. He will be speaking at the Customer Experience Conference on March 22, the second day of the free-to-attend two-day event.

How can retailers give customers the delivery experience they want, while still turning a profit? That’s one of the questions Alan Braithwaite will be tackling in his presentation at IRX 2012, Balancing customer experience with fulfillment economics. For in an age when Amazon offers free delivery on every order, as long as the customer doesn’t mind waiting, how can others compete? Especially when delivery just isn’t free for the retailer.

But offering free delivery is not essential to turning a profit in ecommerce, says Alan Braithwaite, chairman of logistics consultancy LCP Consulting. Rather, giving customers the choice of how they want to take delivery of their goods is key. For while free is good, many will want to receive their order more quickly or pick it up through the fast-growing and popular click and collect services.

“Retailers are still offering more and more choice,” says Braithwaite, “but the key is to give customers as many options as you can.

“The second key is to then do what you said you were going to do, reliably.” These two factors go a long way, says Braithwaite, to removing that need to offer free delivery. “The third thing is then to understand what the cost implications are and not try and give the customers something that costs you money – that will distort your own economics and give customers incorrect information. Being very straight with customers pushes some of the responsibility back on to them to understand those choices.”

It’s about managing customer expectations, says Braithwaite. “Part of the disappointment is that the expectation wasn’t managed in the first place,” he says. “Customer don’t like to pay for things but if the marketing folk then use that as a marketing tool they run the risk of building up pent-up disappointment because customers aren’t getting what they thought they were going to get.”

Find out more about Balancing customer experience with fulfillment economics at IRX 2012. Alan Braithwaite, chairman of LCP Consulting will be speaking in the Customer Experience Conference on March 22 at 12 noon.

Entrance to IRX 2012, which will be held at the NEC in Birmingham on March 21 and 22, is free. More than 4,000 visitors are expected at the event, which features an exhibition of 150 suppliers to the ecommerce and multichannel industries alongside a two-day learning programme, Selling in the Digital Age.

The programme features four conferences, dedicated to Mobile and Social Commerce, Fast Track, Enterprise and Customer Experience, as well as a series of workshops, learning sessions and demonstrations of the latest technology.

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