• Inadequate delivery options threaten retailer Christmas sales

        • The UK’s top retailers may be jeopardising 30 per cent of their Christmas sales due to limited delivery options, according to a new study.

          The research, carried out by ecommerce and digital agency Visualsoft, found that 17 per cent 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 per cent of people would deliberately choose retailers which offer a premium delivery choice. Moreover, 46 per cent 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 per cent expecting ‘click and collect’ to be an option, even if actual uptake is actually only 9 per cent of purchases. Store collect was offered by 62 per cent of retailers evaluated in the report.

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

          Tim Johnson, Chief Sales Officer at Visualsoft said, “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.

          “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.”

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