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From the editor-in-chief - December 2016

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OPERATIONS & LOGISTICS are now key points of competition between retailers, as our findings in this latest IRUK 2016 Performance Dimension Report show only too well.

Retailers are competing with a previously unmatched level of convenience around delivery, returns and collections. Today, leading retailers in this Dimension are getting products to customers as soon as within the hour, or in an hour-long window of a customer’s choosing. Same-day delivery is still, admittedly, a minority service, offered by only 5% of the Top500, but choice is becoming more diverse across the board: the average retailer in the index now offers two or three delivery options, while 63% offer next-day delivery. We’ll expect that to improve over time as the sector becomes ever more competitive. Collection services are widespread, while many retailers offer generous return policies.

But while some traders stand out from the rest and the average service is improving quickly, others still lag behind the average. There’s an opportunity here for traders in the many sectors where swift delivery is a customer priority. Improvement will no doubt be driven by customers becoming more demanding and moving away from those traders that do not yet see delivery as a crucial point of fierce competition.

In this Dimension Report, we’ve assessed retailers by their delivery promise, since this is the metric most likely to guide the shopper’s choice. We measure delivery and collection options, the ease and convenience of returns, and refunds too.

Our metrics will develop over time as, no doubt, services get ever more sophisticated. Will drone delivery soon be a reality? We’ll stay in touch with the latest services on offer to bring that update if and when it comes.

We’ll always welcome new input, ideas and thinking as we conduct our research. Please tell us if you have metrics to suggest or datasets to contribute. What are the measures you most value in assessing Operations & Logistics? Do get in touch with your ideas as we now turn our attention towards 2017.

Ian Jindal

Editor-in-chief

[email protected]
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