IMRG’s Click & Collect Review report

Fast delivery culture is putting retailers under immense pressure

The latest figures from IMRG’s Click & Collect Review report reiterates the idea that customers’ delivery options and the quality of experience can mean the difference between a sale or an abandoned virtual basket for retailers. This is according to Andy Burton, CEO of e-commerce specialist Tryzens, who believes that one-upmanship in delivery services isn’t sustainable and that retailers should aim for achievable, customer focused options.

Published earlier this month, IMRG’s report revealed that over the past ten years, Click & Collect has evolved from a ‘substitute’ service option to becoming a vital strategic component of the UK e-logistic machine, without which online retailing would struggle to sustain its current growth. Between 2017 and 2022, the growth rate for the volume of online orders dispatched by UK retailers is expected to increase by 52 per cent, with Click & Collect volumes predicted to increase by 95 per cent.

For Burton, while the figures are indicative of a healthy and growing e-commerce sector, as demand increases, retailers must strike a careful balance between speed, convenience and economic viability, to maintain customer satisfaction levels and safeguard profitability.

Burton commented: “Retailers’ failure to meet their delivery obligations is already one of the biggest gripes for shoppers today, and, in fact, research from the ICS found that 20 million British consumers encountered delivery problems last year during the Christmas shopping period alone. With many retailers already facing immense pressure to deliver their goods on time, they will need to consider their order fulfilment strategies and delivery options carefully if they are to cope with the anticipated increase in demand and safeguard customer satisfaction.

“Success in e-commerce increasingly relies on being able to offer a choice of delivery options coupled with reliable performance against delivery commitments, and good communication to keep the consumer informed about the delivery, especially if things go wrong, is essential. The rise of ‘Post-purchase Experience Platforms’ such as Narvar help retailers achieve this.

“Of course, some customers will want or need next-day, or even same-day, delivery, and that is a choice that should be accommodated on appropriate commercial terms. The key is to understand what is driving demand for next-day: is it consumer need or retailer market positioning? If the former then the costs will be less sensitive for the consumer to bear, but if the latter then the costs risk needs to be understood by the retailer in the pitching of the offer. Committing to a delivery service level is as much about reputation as it is about the opportunity to drive sales.”

“As we saw with Amazon Prime, making promises that are not achieved will come back to bite you in the court of public opinion and with Advertising Standards. Making sure you can pick, pack, dispatch, track and deliver to achieve the service committed is essential. The concept of a relatively small subscription fee for unlimited next-day delivery (as offered by Amazon Prime) is great in principle, but is the commitment to quality achievable and economically viable? For most retailers offering next day premium, delivery services will require a payment by the customer to cover the increased costs involved.

“Customers have a wide range of options for delivery, now so more than ever. It is up to the retailers to decide what delivery options work for them. Without the implementation of an effective logistical solution, the UK’s retail space will struggle to cope with growing consumer demand,” Burton concluded.