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Next-day delivery remains the favoured option for UK shoppers – but 18% of retailers don’t offer it

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Next-day delivery remains the favoured option for more than half (52%) of UK shoppers, but nearly one in five UK multichannel retailers does not offer it, according to new research.

A study by Ampersand analysed the delivery promises of 185 leading UK retailers and found that 18% do not offer next-day delivery. However, this remains the preferred option for shoppers, according to a YouGov study carried out for Ampersand in 2017, which repeated the headline finding of a previous 2014 study.

The percentage of people who preferred same-day delivery, if it was at a price they were willing to pay, had fallen since that previous research, from 21% in 2014 to 12% in 2017, while next-day delivery has increased from 46% in 2014 to 52% in 2017. But of the retailers that do offer next-day delivery, the Ampersand findings suggest, more than 40% offer it at a price which 89% of consumers would be unwilling to pay (more than £5). Six retailers offer next-day delivery for free, including Jimmy Choo, Sunglass Hut and Apple. Cos, Harrods and Diesel’s next day delivery services are the most expensive, ranging from £12 to £20, according to the research.

Retailers have moved in large numbers to charge when shoppers return their online orders in the post. In 2014, 22% charged for returns, while by 2017 that number had risen to 40%. Of the retailers that charge for returns by post, 54% offer free returns when a customer returns directly to a store, whilst 34% offer neither. Almost a fifth (19%) of retailers’ delivery and/or returns policies are hard to find on the website.

Some 65% of retailers in the UK offer click and collect, whilst only 18% of consumers consider it their preferred method of receiving their goods from online shopping.

Younger shoppers – 18-24-year-olds – are the most likely demographic to pay for same-day delivery whilst those aged 55 and over were the least likely (21% v 11%).

The number of retailers charging for standard click and collect has grown from 0 to 16, or 8% of UK multichannel retailers, according to Ampersand’s research.

Darryl Adie, managing director at ecommerce agency, Ampersand, said: “The final mile has always been the part of the ecommerce journey that retailers had the least control over. Now retailers such as Amazon and Argos — basically owners of their own logistics network — can offer customers same day, same morning, 2-hour home or office delivery. Other retailers have a lot to compete with. The bad news is that not every retailer can boast that kind of ownership. The good news is that they don’t really have to in order to give consumers great service.

“Getting the basics of online retail right should be every retailer’s priority. In the case of fulfilment, making sure your deliveries and customer communications are consistent and your delivery prices are affordable to your customers is a good start. Focusing first on your next day delivery service before offering anything else will put you at an advantage over many of your competitors that don’t offer a next day service.”

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