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Retail Technology, Retail technology News

Consumers buying online value delivery

Consumers buying online value delivery
Monday January 6 2014

Survey results suggest delivery timeframes, not social media, is top of the list of consumer expectations when completing purchases online

Over two thirds (70%) of consumers expect delivery of goods bought online within four days, while just 3% have purchased goods using social media, according to the results of a recently published survey.

Looking at consumer retail preferences and pain points in the US, UK, Germany and France 75% of consumers also cited the inclusion of delivery and collection options as being important to them when ordering a product either online or for collection instore.

When it comes to expectations of delivery times European consumers surveyed were less tolerant, with an average of 65% expecting delivery of purchases made online within three days or less – whereas in the US only 24% of consumers expected delivery in that timeframe.

Greg Johnsen, chief marketing officer at GT Nexus, the supply chain management software company commissioning the research, commented: “These results show that retailers are potentially focusing their investments on the wrong thing. 

“Obviously, having a good front-end multichannel strategy in place is important, but what some may be missing is that it’s the back end of the multichannel strategy that will ultimately influence consumers’ propensity to order from a particular retailer. It is completely pointless to have fancy user interfaces across all channels if you cannot deliver when and where a consumer wants to receive your goods.”

UK expectations run high

In the UK consumers expected even quicker delivery of online purchases: 79% UK consumers expected delivery of online purchases within four days, higher than the global average (70%). The national obsession with discounting did mean, however, that 86% of UK consumers were willing to extend their delivery time if offered a 10% discount.

“To really fulfil the promise of ‘anytime, anywhere shopping’ – retailers need to get better overall at linking their inventory management and delivery tools to the front-end shopping experience.  However, the fact that our research shows that consumers are prepared to accept slower delivery times in return for discounted prices means that there is scope for retailers to be creative about how they tackle this multichannel opportunity,” added Johnsen.

The survey indicated that despite all the hype, with social media purchases only making up 3% of online sales in the UK, traditional purchase methods like catalogue and mail order (49%) or telephone orders (34%) are still going strong. 

But the rise of the phenomenon known as ‘showrooming’ (i.e. browsing in a physical store to test products, then ordering them online) will only add to this requirement for retailers to get physical stock levels, delivery and collection options right at the back end, according to the survey. Consumers in the UK (62%), the US (64%) and France (70%) said they had engaged in showrooming over the last twelve months.  

Cross-channel fulfilment essential

Currently, effective cross-channel inventory management to enable efficient fulfilment of consumer orders differs in quality across the globe. Less than one third (31%) of US consumers reported that they had queried stock availability in a physical store using online tools, and then found the product was out of stock when going to the store. This practice was less prevalent in Europe with 13% of consumers on average experiencing this issue. 

The survey also highlighted that despite the widespread use of merchandising related products in online stores, retailers have not cracked the issue of delivering related products (such as an iPod and headphones, or a bike with a helmet) ordered at the same time, together. UK retailers appear to do this best, although a significant 34% of UK consumers stated that they had experienced this at least once. Almost half of consumers in the US (46%) and France (45%) said they had experienced this issue at least once.

The survey was conducted by YouGov with 5,219 consumers in the UK (2,077), US (1,001), France (1,010) and Germany (1,131) in September 2013. An executive summary of its findings can be downloaded after registration here.