“Inadequate delivery options” could cost retailers this Christmas

Retailers could be risking up to 30% of their online Christmas sales due to limited delivery options available on their website, new research suggests.

A study looking at 240 of the UK’s top e-commerce sites has found that almost one in five do not offer a premium delivery service – something which could prove critical as consumers rush for last-minute present options.

The research, carried out by ecommerce and digital agency Visualsoft, found that 17% of the UK’s top 240 retailers did not offer premium delivery options, despite this being expected by the majority of shoppers.

This is likely to be a key concern for many in the lead-up to Christmas, when it is more important than ever that gift deliveries arrive on time.

The analysis also showed that 30% of people would deliberately choose retailers which offer a premium delivery choice. Moreover, 46% of shopping basket abandonment is attributed to frustration with limited shipping options.

The flexibility to mix online and bricks-and-mortar shopping was also found to be a key factor in consumer buying decisions, with 32% expecting ‘click and collect’ to be an option, even if actual uptake is actually only 9% of purchases. Store collect was offered by 62% of retailers evaluated in the report.

What’s more, only 19% of retailers offered incentivised free delivery, e.g. for large orders or new customers.

“For the majority of retailers, December delivers the biggest revenue boost of the entire year, with over £24bn spent in the run-up to Christmas 2016. This is therefore a spending period that retailers cannot afford to get wrong,” said Tim Johnson, chief sales officer at Visualsoft.

“As online shopping becomes more widely used, so does the variety of needs and tastes it needs to accommodate. Delivery preferences typify this, with a growing split between those seeking speed and shoppers who put economy first. Failing to meet these expectations (even if they’re less frequently used) can be a costly mistake. It is therefore highly surprising that the UK’s biggest players are still not offering a premium option on delivery during this key period.

“Many of us have been there: it’s close to the wire and you decide against making a purchase as you’re unsure if that all-important gift for a loved one will make it on time. If retailers can offer a guaranteed solution to this concern then they stand in excellent stead to take advantage of the Christmas opportunity this year.

“There are ways around the issue. For example, if retailers do not have chain of physical stores, they should look into click and collect through a network of collection points like Collect+. It’s also worth incentivising spend with free premium delivery for the highest order values, as this will both build reassurance that a parcel will arrive on time and increase basket spend, too.”


About Laura Barnes 427 Articles
Founder/Publisher of UK musical instrument industry publication MI Focus.