Retailers Shy Away from Last-minute Christmas Orders
LONDON, 13 November, 2014
Manhattan Associates is highlighting that shoppers are in for a surprise this Christmas as retailers plan to bring forward their last order dates. This is despite the fact that this year more shoppers are confident enough to leave their online Christmas shopping later than ever before.
Fifty-seven per cent of shoppers surveyed said they would be more confident in pushing their Christmas shopping to later this winter. However, this contrasts with feedback from retailers, where 34 per cent of retailers have less confidence in their delivery capabilities this year and are bringing forward their last order dates. Only 17 per cent of retailers are planning to extend their last order date, despite customer demands.
Forty-nine per cent of shoppers said they would shop online more if there were better fulfilment options. Unfortunately many retailers – 56 per cent – are constrained in their ability to provide more options, because they lack accurate visibility of all their stock. Having visibility of stock across the entire supply network is critical for improving availability and driving sales, however, it is the ability to fulfil orders from a location which ensures a profit that is the real key to ensuring the success of new fulfilment offerings.
“Retail supply chains are continuously being pushed to the limit – especially during the festive season. Shoppers that can’t receive their goods when they want them simply won’t shop with that retailer any longer. The battle for customer loyalty is no longer won on the variety or quality of products, but on the speed of delivery and number of fulfilment options,” said Craig Sears-Black, UK managing director of Manhattan Associates.
Retailers who get it wrong will suffer for it: 25 per cent of shoppers said they had been let down by a retailer’s Christmas delivery service before and have boycotted that retailer ever since. When profit or loss can be determined by a one or two per cent sales swing, these service failures can be significant.
Craig Sears-Black continued: “The surge of online orders around Christmas forces retailers to either set early deadlines for orders, or kill profitability by committing to expensive fulfilment options. Many retailers are limiting their chance to capitalise on the rush of last minute Christmas orders because they simply don’t have the back-end systems in place to deliver on customer demands.”
The research by Manhattan Associates questioned 2,000 people and 100 UK retail professionals about their offline and online shopping preferences and preferred fulfilment options and capabilities.
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