New research claims that retailers lost nearly a fifth (19%) of their customers to rivals over the Christmas shopping period thanks to stock availability problems and unsuitable delivery times.
The results come from the third annual JDA/Centiro Christmas Customer Pulse Report (conducted by YouGov). The research suggested that 12% of UK adults said they had used an alternative retailer because their preferred retailer did not have items available online whilst 7% had shopped elsewhere because retailers’ delivery times failed to meet their requirements.
“Christmas shoppers have become increasingly savvy, as they look to use the channels that best suit their budget and lifestyle. This means retailers cannot afford to stand still if they are to meet customers’ growing online shopping expectations,” said Jason Shorrock, vice president of retail strategy EMEA at JDA.
“Customers expect products to be available 24/7 and for retailers to offer convenient delivery and collection options. This is the added level of complexity that retailers must be able to cope with. Ultimately, a smarter and more effective supply chain shouldn’t just be for Christmas – without one, retailers risk damaging customer loyalty and their profits throughout the year.”
Around a third (32%) of retailers said that they had experienced issues with click and collect. Problems included long waiting times due to a lack of instore staff and staff being unable to locate items or taking a long time in doing so.
Others who had problems with their online orders over the Christmas period included 31% experiencing late deliveries, 23% not receiving items at all and 22% receiving damaged items.
“While it is encouraging to see a slight reduction in Christmas online delivery and Click & Collect issues, retailers shouldn’t be cracking open the champagne just yet. These findings must be tempered by the fact that Christmas online sales volumes continue to grow,” added Shorrock.
“While many retailers focused on providing dedicated areas for Click & Collect this Christmas, long waiting times and staff being unable to locate items in-store continue to tarnish the customer experience. Even more worrying is the significant number of shoppers who either didn’t receive their online goods or found they were damaged.
This is unacceptable at any time, but especially at Christmas. There will be little festive cheer for retailers next year if poor online customer experiences drive shoppers to the competition.”
The study showed that 39% of online Christmas shoppers used Click & Collect Services in 2016 with 1 in 5 of those that used it saying they would use the service more next year. Whilst cost was a factor for 53% the next reason was it being more convenient than home delivery (50%).
Image credit: Fotolia