Poor deliveries cost the high street £4.9bn

Consumers are spending £4.9 billion less with high street retailers online due to poor delivery options, new research has revealed.

A report from Stuart, an express delivery service, has found that almost three-quarters (72 per cent) of UK consumers would shop more with their favourite high street retailer if it offered same-day delivery. This would add up to an average spend of £168 extra each year.

The research also highlighted the growing demand for convenience among customers, with 39 per cent saying convenience was the most important factor when it came to delivery. This is compared with 23 per cent who said price was the top factor.

Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of respondents said they had abandoned an online purchase due to poor delivery options.

“The findings highlight a growing need to address convenience in the last mile of the customer journey – delivery,” said David Saenz, UK managing director of Stuart.

“In today’s economy, search and purchase are just a click away. Retailers understand that consumers, more in control and demanding than ever before, have the same expectation when it comes to delivery, and are looking for a way to satisfy those expectations.”

The research also revealed the importance of fast delivery for returning goods, as nearly a third (29 per cent) of consumers bought multiple items at once with the intention of returning one or more.

In the UK alone, consumers returned goods worth around £59bn each year.

According to the report, customers took on average 4.2 days to begin the returns process, which presents an issue for retailers whose stock depreciates rapidly.

“The research paints a picture of a modern-day consumer who considers fast, flexible delivery a must-have in a society driven by convenience.

“Yet too often convenient delivery – and returns – are being considered a ‘nice to have’, not a necessity, by high street brands,” said Mr Saenz.

“Online shoppers, however, view delivery as the linchpin when it comes to their brand loyalty. In five years’ time, instantaneous delivery and returns will be mainstream. The retailers who invest in this now will not only be winning the race for consumer loyalty, but will also reap the financial rewards that come with it.”

Commenting on the report, Rupal Karia, managing director of retail and hospitality at Fujitsu UK and Ireland, said: “The new findings that the high street is missing out on £4.9 billion by not offering the right delivery options are astonishing. The research really underlines the fact that retailers must provide their customers with more options, making use of digital tools to support on-demand delivery and the supply chain, or else they will lose them along the journey with severe financial repercussions.

“Convenience is now king and the retailers that aren’t savvy to that fact are clearly missing out on a wealth of potential. Not only do consumers want more options such as same-day delivery, but they are willing to pay for them. This means retailers have the opportunity to grow their customer base and loyalty by widening the delivery options they offer.”

John Beechen, head of managed services at global digital consultancy Salmon, added: “Retailers have known for some time that they must offer consumers convenience, but this new research shows just how important convenient delivery options are to customers.

“Consumers want to fully realise the convenience that online shopping brings, from the purchase right through to the receipt of goods.

“Now retailers are at risk of losing out if they fail to provide comparable delivery times as customers will always seek the path of least resistance to their satisfaction. High-street retailers should identify the ranges that would suit quick delivery times and put in place the logistical back end systems needed.

“By integrating slick delivery and return services, high-street retailers can attract more purchases from their existing customers and even attract new ones. This is a particularly important consideration as we approach Black Friday and the Christmas period, when same-day and next- day deliveries are most in demand.”

Infographic by Stuart