Retailers must up their game online or lose out to rivals

There’s a bloodthirsty battle going on for shoppers online and making the situation even more cut-throat is the fact that 77% of shoppers would be likely to switch to shopping with an alternative retailer next Christmas as a result of a poor online festive shopping experience.


Customers will calmly switch retailers

These are the findings from the second annual JDA/Centiro Christmas customer Pulse report, which would leave you thinking that with the prospect of shoppers jumping ship if they are not happy with the levels of service they receive then retailers would all be delivering a top-notch experience to their customers.

Not so, according to the report, which also found that 33% of customers encountered problems with their online Christmas orders this year, compared with a lesser 31% in 2014. Of those people that experienced issues, 48% suffered from late deliveries or never received their goods, while a further 48% missed deliveries including (extremely frustratingly) when they were at home.

Rather worryingly the supposed saviour of home shopping, Click & Collect, did not exactly satisfy shoppers this Christmas. The report found 36% of shoppers over the festive period encountered issues with their Click & Collect orders. Of those that suffered problems, 31% had an issue with long waiting times due to lack of in-store staff, 31% found retailers did not have a dedicated Click & Collect area in-store, and 24% found staff unable, or taking a long time, to locate items in-store.

Clearly these are issues that need addressing immediately because at the moment Click & Collect continues to grow in popularity among UK shoppers – who very much like it, when it works of course. As many as 41% said they opted to use Click & Collect services this Christmas compared with a smaller 39% in 2014. Of those people that used such a service, 24% said they intended to use Click & Collect more next Christmas. Chief reasons for customers using it are avoiding delivery charges (56%) and finding it more convenient than home delivery (49%).

It is vital that retailers sort out these various – potentially very damaging – logistical problems with their home shopping propositions because it has never been easier for shoppers to switch their purchases to other retailers. Rivals are never more than a click away and the JDA/Centiro report shows that they have little tolerance for inept service.

Glynn Davis, editor, Retail Insider