New independent research unveiled today by Temando, a leading shipping and fulfilment software platform for commerce, has revealed that UK retailers aren't well prepared to deal with some of the most important shipping challenges in the run-up to Christmas.
The research, which was carried out for Temando by Research Now amongst the UK's micro, small, mid-size and enterprise retailers, explored specific areas of customer concern and found that:
- 77 percent weren't well prepared to offer customers multiple shipping options during the checkout process on their websites, such as express and same day delivery
- 76 percent weren't well prepared to handle potential shipping delays
- 75 percent weren't well prepared to handle their return processes
- 79 percent weren't well prepared in terms of back-end logistics such as pick and pack, labelling, documentation and transfer to carriers.
In the lead up to Christmas many retailers' back-end shipping processes are not totally automated. Retailers responded that their systems for warehouse management (66 percent), booking a courier (63 percent), customer product returns (76 percent) and delivery tracking and customer communication (62 percent) were either manual or only somewhat automated. This suggests UK retailers will battle to meet heightened customer expectations when eCommerce volumes boom over the Christmas period.
The study also suggests that there is a correlation between a retailer's size and their ability to meet customer expectations in the lead up to Christmas with more than three times as many enterprise-sized retailers citing 'incompatible technology platforms' as a barrier to smooth customer order fulfilment than micro retailers.
Larger retailers have the resources to adopt more advanced technology, such as Warehouse Management and Order Management Systems to help facilitate smoother deliveries and improve customer service, for which they should be applauded. However, this does mean that these individual systems need further integration to advanced shipping technology to function at their most effective - particularly when they come under extreme pressure in the run up to Christmas.
Carl Hartmann, Temando's CEO and Co-Founder, comments: "Shipping and fulfilment are complex enough without the huge increase in shipments over the Christmas period. When carrier networks reach their peak, one week out from Christmas, retailers need to have automated their shipping and fulfilment processes to provide better experiences for their loyal customers. No one needs the added anxiety of waiting for their gifts to arrive on time before Christmas"
The 2015 Temando Global Shipping Commerce survey was conducted online by Research Now and surveyed 200 retailers in each of four countries, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and France. The retailers surveyed all have an understanding of the eCommerce and fulfilment aspects of their businesses (manager or director-level and higher), ship more than five deliveries per week, operate in all main retail categories (e.g., electronics, clothing, furniture, toys, home & garden, books, etc.) except for grocery-related services, and have an online retail revenue greater than one percent of their total retail revenue. The survey was conducted in October 2015.