Retailers: deliver your promises this Christmas
“Christmas is a crucial, and normally very profitable, time for retailers. However, heightened Customer demand, in addition to thinly stretched resources and tight timescales, can threaten retailers’ abilities to meet Customer expectations at this critical time of year,” says Paul Doble, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at DX – a leading independent logistics and parcel distribution company to the retail market.
To ensure they are mitigating any risks of over-promising and under-delivering in the run-up to Christmas, retailers need to make sure that their operations reflect the needs of today’s consumers – this is achievable through setting realistic objectives by efficient scenario planning with logistics partners.
Paul Doble outlines his top three logistical tips for retailers during the Christmas trading period:
1. Manage expectations
There are several stages at which the end-to-end Christmas delivery chain can run into problems. Promises of speedy delivery – sometimes even within 12 hours of purchase, are ambitious and can often lead to Customers being disappointed. Other common pitfalls for retailers to be aware of include adverse weather conditions affecting deliveries, and Customers’ failure to read the ‘small print’ in the delivery details. In addition, the multitude of emails and text messages sent to Customers regarding their delivery times often give conflicting information. Despite becoming increasingly popular, setting specific time periods for delivery is a notoriously difficult service for retailers to manage effectively.
2. Share the load
Warehouses and carriers have to cope with increased volume and limited resources at this time of year. As such, careful planning is needed in order to ensure that enormous quantities of parcels are not simply ‘dumped’ on them by retailers. To prevent this becoming an issue, retailers should encourage Customers to use convenient collection points, or the in-store Click & Collect schemes now provided by many retailers.
3. Offer a variety of options
Customer satisfaction is being increasingly compromised by unsatisfactory deliveries. Due to the pressures of time and volume, some carriers struggle to find an appropriate place to leave parcels, and resort to depositing them in full view of the street – a rich environment for opportunistic thieves. Alternatively, disgruntled Customers are forced to journey out of their way to collect their package from a depot.
Consumers themselves are also busy around Christmas, meaning tempers are raised when a must-have product is in limited stock or late arriving – something that can reflect negatively on both brands and carriers. Retailers should therefore consider the ‘spend more, send it safely’ approach where the Customer gets a more tailored, reliable and secure service in exchange for an increased premium. In turn, websites should upsell these delivery services to ensure consumers are aware that the cheapest option is not always the best one.
Paul Doble concludes:
“Whilst Christmas is an extremely busy period for deliveries, it’s crucial that retailers don’t forget these finer details. With the correct planning and a trusted relationship with suppliers, it’s possible for retailers to deliver a top quality service – as well as the all important presents – in time for Christmas.”