UK fashion brands focus on free delivery to win post-pandemic business - study
As many as 44% of UK fashion brands contacted for a new study said they’re looking to roll out free delivery by 2021 as a response to Covid-19 and in a bid to win back online shoppers. Some 34% also plan to offer free returns and 25% are launching Click & Collect by next year.
That’s according to retail and wholesale digital operations platform Brightpearl, which spoke to 1,000 retailers. It also found that 65% of retailers are already offering Click & Collect, which is a sharp rise on pre-pandemic numbers.
“It’s important to address convenience in the last mile of the customer journey”, said CEO Derek O’Carroll. “Though absorbing the costs of both delivery and returns is not without risk for retailers, especially those operating on fine margins in the current climate, it could also be an effective way to expand their customer base.”
Given the large number of businesses that have gone under since lockdown began, more than half of the UK’s retailers (56%) plan to switch their retail focus to online over the next 12 months. And nearly four out of 10 (39%) said their online sales are higher than pre-crisis.
Brightpearl's survey found that all retailers are now quickly boosting their online services in response to Covid and to capture more online shoppers.
Free delivery is the most popular option among them to attract customers. While around a third of all retail brands will be offering this, 22% are looking to implement free returns and a further 23% will be offering same- or next-day delivery — all within the next six months.
But the study came with a warning that retailers have to get any services they introduce right.
The research showed that 61% of consumers have experienced issues buying from brands online within the past 12 months alone, with the majority of these problems related to issues with delivery and returns.
“Too many online companies offer options they can't fully support”, added O’Carroll. “They end up letting down customers who are understandably upset about not receiving items on time, products not being delivered where they should be, or poor communications after their purchase. Before thinking of introducing new services to woo customers, retailers must ensure they have the right infrastructure in place to deliver an optimal shopping experience at all ends of the buying journey.”
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