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Operations & Logistics

Operations & Logistics

Operations & Logistics

Choice is key for retailers designing delivery, collections and returns services that meet the needs of customers

RETAILERS THAT GIVE a choice of delivery options, enable collection from store and provide easy returns options are well placed to compete in a retail environment where customers expect easy shopping. It’s also what makes them stand out in the Operations & Logistics Performance Dimension.

What the Top500 do

Most IREU Top500 retailers offer their customers reasonably flexible delivery, collection and return services, with many of them charging for them. Median standard delivery among the index’s retailers costs €4.95 and takes between four and five days to arrive. The median threshold for free shipping is €50.

On average, retailers offer between two and three delivery options. The most popular premium option is next-day delivery (19%). Nominated-day (6%) and time (4%), sameday (2%), Saturday (10%) and Sunday (4%) deliveries are currently less widely available.

The majority offer customers some form of multichannel delivery service, with 64% enabling pickup in store and 43% supporting returning online orders to the store. One in five (20%) Top500 traders offers a store stock checker in a mobile app, while 7% have additional stock checking features.

When it comes to returns, 80% of the index’s retailers enable shoppers to return items via post. The next most popular option offered is return to store (43%), with pick-up from home offered by 16% and via a drop-off point by 15%. Shoppers can return goods for a refund within 28 days, on average, although 19 days is the median.

What the leaders do

Trade supplier Screwfix [IRDX RSCR] stands out in the Top500 for offering flexible and relatively unusual delivery options, including Saturday and Sunday delivery and nominated time delivery, which is offered by just 3.5% of Top500 retailers. Screwfix is also among the 16% of retailers that offer returns via pick-up from the house.

UK supermarket Sainsbury’s offers Saturday, same day, nominated time and day deliveries for non-food products. Computer retailer Apple enables stock checking from a mobile app and is among the 6% that offer additional stock checking features. Returns are pre-paid and picked up from the house.

Grocer Waitrose [IRDX RWAI] offers highly flexible returns for its non-food deliveries, refunding the cost of returning and offering pre-paid returns. It is among a small group that offers the choice of returning via pick-up from the house and via drop-off at a third-party pick up location. Supermarket Asda promises nominated day and time deliveries alongside Saturday and Sunday delivery. Schuh [IRDX RSCH] enables its customers to choose day and time of delivery, including Sundays, and is among the 2% that offer same-day delivery.

Moving into continental Europe, the Spain based Inditex group features three times here, through its brands Pull & Bear , Bershka and Zara , for services including stock checking in the app and flexible refund policies. French clothing-to-homewares retailer La Redoute gives pre-paid returns, which can be picked up from the home or dropped off at a third-party location for a full refund.

Differences between markets

Logistics promises ultimately depend largely on the availability of infrastructure and third-party services offered within each market. Because of this, InternetRetailing research shows a wide disparity in the types of services on offer within the European Economic Area, plus Switzerland.

Collection is most widely found in the UK, where 67% of retailers listed in the IREU Top500 offer the multichannel service. Just a quarter (24%) of listed retailers offer the service in Hungary. The majority (65%) of retailers selling in Ireland enable shoppers to return online orders to the store.

UK and France-based shoppers enjoy the widest choice of delivery options on average, at between two and three, while those in Poland, Greece, Spain and Germany generally have just two options.

Some 41% of Top500 retailers offer next-day delivery within the UK, whereas no retailers offer this service in Norway, Lithuania, Slovenia or Croatia.

Nominated-day delivery is offered by 14% and nominated time delivery offered by 7% of UK retailers, with neither service available in Norway, Luxembourg or Croatia. The UK stands out on same-day, offered by 4% of the Top500 retailers delivering to this country. That’s followed by 3% of the retailers that deliver to Norway.

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