This Christmas marks a major test for retail suppliers, as consumers become ever more demanding in relation to how they get their hands on their e-commerce orders.
The company GFS, specialists in parcel delivery management, claims that 2014 is seeing higher than ever demand for what are being termed ‘alternative’ delivery methods. This has placed the responsibility on retail suppliers to meet this demand by offering more delivery options.
Gone are the days where the only demands from customers were sturdy cardboard boxes and a speedy service. Today’s consumers want to dictate exactly how they receive their parcels. GFS says that click-and-collect services, for example, are now the chosen option for around 12 per cent of deliveries ordered online in Britain.
Daniel Ennor, the commercial director for GFS, believes this Christmas may be a turning point for many businesses that have so far failed to embrace the use of parcel lockers and shops. There is even talk of regulation in order to ensure that consumers receive a wide choice of delivery options.
The influence of e-commerce and the demands of the people who use the channels cannot be ignored. IMRG, the industry body for online retail, said that dispatches for retailers had grown by 22 per cent at the close of November compared to the same period in 2013. This figure marks a doubling of the growth registered over the 2012 to 2013 period.
The UK’s adoption of America’s post-Thanksgiving Black Friday and the following Cyber Monday has also prompted more people to purchase online in the run-up to Christmas.
InPost UK, which has 1,000 British parcel locker terminals, say that consumers are now looking for ever more simple and convenient delivery methods. Statistics from the company claim that consumers have missed around three packages over the last year in Britain, and ten per cent have missed them over the festive period. The company claims that having cardboard boxes and padded envelopes delivered to neighbours’ houses is no longer a popular option, as 47 per cent of people do not know the people who live nearby and almost a quarter would not trust them with their packages.
The company’s chairman, Jonathan Smith, said there was now a need for delivery methods that fit in with the daily routines of consumers, and he predicted that automated parcel lockers would be the next logical step.
Consumers are expected to spend over £90 billion with UK retailers over the Christmas period, with around £13 billion being spent online.