Executive Briefings

Europeans Experience High Level of Problems with Their Online Retail Orders, Study Says

European adults have experienced a high number of problems with online orders in the last 12 months, according to data from the JDA/Centiro Customer Pulse Report.

The survey of 6,151 adults online across the UK, Germany and Sweden revealed that nearly half of German respondents (48 percent) had experienced problems, compared to 47 percent of UK adults and 38 percent of Swedish respondents. Late deliveries were a significant issue; 48 percent of German respondents had experienced late deliveries, with 46 percent of UK respondents and 40 percent of Swedish respondents having the same poor experience. The research also revealed that across Europe, consumers are becoming far less tolerant of fulfillment failures and a significant number of adults online would “vote with their mouse” by opting to shop with a different retailer. Indeed, 73 percent of Swedish respondents, 71 percent in the UK and 65 percent in Germany indicated they would be likely to switch to an alternative retailer as a result of a poor experience when ordering a product online.

Furthermore, the online research highlighted that adults who have made a purchase online in the last 12 months are increasingly choosing to shop with retailers that offer varied delivery options. In the UK, 46 percent of these respondents chose to shop with a retailer that specifically offered multiple delivery options over one that only offered one delivery option, followed by 32 percent in Sweden and 29 percent in Germany. While many retailers have focused on the importance of rapid or same-day delivery, the research indicates that across Europe, cost and convenience were most important to those who had shopped online, rather than speed.

“As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, European retailers are not only having to contend with successfully managing vast fulfillment operations, but also with the decreased tolerance of customers for any problems that occur. The risk of damage to retailers’ brands is clear, with many customers willing to shop elsewhere as a result of a negative experience,” said Jason Shorrock, retail strategy director at JDA. “The key point for retailers to note is that even while tolerance is falling, expectations are rising. Choice and convenience are becoming bigger priorities for shoppers, not just cost, which only adds to the fulfillment burden for retailers. The importance of excellent service, combined with good value and flexibility in delivery options, cannot be underestimated. Retailers must ensure they develop the capability and flexibility built into their supply chains to meet customers’ high expectations.”

Click & Collect’ Increasingly Attractive

The online research also highlighted that services such as “Click & Collect” and “Drive” are increasingly being seen by respondents as viable alternatives to home delivery. The UK leads the field in this trend, with almost half (49 percent) of respondents who have made a purchase online in the last 12 months having used “Click & Collect” services in the last 12 months, and 23 percent in Germany (tweet this). Indeed, in Sweden, a significant number of respondents stated they would use “Click & Collect” (64 percent) and “Drive” (42 percent) services if they were offered by supermarkets. Of those respondents who had used “Click & Collect” the cost, followed by the convenience of those services were by far their biggest reasons for doing so.

Online Returns Cause Dissatisfaction

The convenience of return options is also a growing factor in where people choose to shop; 78 percent of adults online in Germany, 69 percent in Sweden and 63 percent in the UK, said the ease of being able to return items factors into which retailers they shop online with. Interestingly, with the research finding that the ease of being able to return items is on a par with purchasing items, many respondents were still experiencing frustrations with returns. When asked what their biggest frustration was when it came to returning online purchases, 37 percent of respondents who have shopped online in both the UK and Sweden, and 26 percent in Germany cited having to pay for return postage and package. This was followed by having to return items by post or wait for a courier, which frustrated 24 percent of UK respondents who have shopped online, 18 percent in Germany and 12 percent in Sweden.

“While the UK remains the leading, most mature European online retail market, countries like Germany and Sweden have also been bitten by the online shopping bug. The general willingness of Europeans to embrace online shopping is high and the fulfillment challenge for retailers is only going to grow. Retailers must be able to scale their supply chain operations to meet demand, and will require a much more sophisticated and complex operation supported by robust planning and intelligent fulfillment execution. This will be the key battleground for European retailers in the next five years,” said Shorrock.

Source: JDA Software Group

The survey of 6,151 adults online across the UK, Germany and Sweden revealed that nearly half of German respondents (48 percent) had experienced problems, compared to 47 percent of UK adults and 38 percent of Swedish respondents. Late deliveries were a significant issue; 48 percent of German respondents had experienced late deliveries, with 46 percent of UK respondents and 40 percent of Swedish respondents having the same poor experience. The research also revealed that across Europe, consumers are becoming far less tolerant of fulfillment failures and a significant number of adults online would “vote with their mouse” by opting to shop with a different retailer. Indeed, 73 percent of Swedish respondents, 71 percent in the UK and 65 percent in Germany indicated they would be likely to switch to an alternative retailer as a result of a poor experience when ordering a product online.

Furthermore, the online research highlighted that adults who have made a purchase online in the last 12 months are increasingly choosing to shop with retailers that offer varied delivery options. In the UK, 46 percent of these respondents chose to shop with a retailer that specifically offered multiple delivery options over one that only offered one delivery option, followed by 32 percent in Sweden and 29 percent in Germany. While many retailers have focused on the importance of rapid or same-day delivery, the research indicates that across Europe, cost and convenience were most important to those who had shopped online, rather than speed.

“As online shopping continues to grow in popularity, European retailers are not only having to contend with successfully managing vast fulfillment operations, but also with the decreased tolerance of customers for any problems that occur. The risk of damage to retailers’ brands is clear, with many customers willing to shop elsewhere as a result of a negative experience,” said Jason Shorrock, retail strategy director at JDA. “The key point for retailers to note is that even while tolerance is falling, expectations are rising. Choice and convenience are becoming bigger priorities for shoppers, not just cost, which only adds to the fulfillment burden for retailers. The importance of excellent service, combined with good value and flexibility in delivery options, cannot be underestimated. Retailers must ensure they develop the capability and flexibility built into their supply chains to meet customers’ high expectations.”

Click & Collect’ Increasingly Attractive

The online research also highlighted that services such as “Click & Collect” and “Drive” are increasingly being seen by respondents as viable alternatives to home delivery. The UK leads the field in this trend, with almost half (49 percent) of respondents who have made a purchase online in the last 12 months having used “Click & Collect” services in the last 12 months, and 23 percent in Germany (tweet this). Indeed, in Sweden, a significant number of respondents stated they would use “Click & Collect” (64 percent) and “Drive” (42 percent) services if they were offered by supermarkets. Of those respondents who had used “Click & Collect” the cost, followed by the convenience of those services were by far their biggest reasons for doing so.

Online Returns Cause Dissatisfaction

The convenience of return options is also a growing factor in where people choose to shop; 78 percent of adults online in Germany, 69 percent in Sweden and 63 percent in the UK, said the ease of being able to return items factors into which retailers they shop online with. Interestingly, with the research finding that the ease of being able to return items is on a par with purchasing items, many respondents were still experiencing frustrations with returns. When asked what their biggest frustration was when it came to returning online purchases, 37 percent of respondents who have shopped online in both the UK and Sweden, and 26 percent in Germany cited having to pay for return postage and package. This was followed by having to return items by post or wait for a courier, which frustrated 24 percent of UK respondents who have shopped online, 18 percent in Germany and 12 percent in Sweden.

“While the UK remains the leading, most mature European online retail market, countries like Germany and Sweden have also been bitten by the online shopping bug. The general willingness of Europeans to embrace online shopping is high and the fulfillment challenge for retailers is only going to grow. Retailers must be able to scale their supply chain operations to meet demand, and will require a much more sophisticated and complex operation supported by robust planning and intelligent fulfillment execution. This will be the key battleground for European retailers in the next five years,” said Shorrock.

Source: JDA Software Group