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17 July 2014

More delivery choice, more click and collect

Retailers are listening to consumer demand, according to the latest Micros home shopping survey, though their response varies widely

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Retailers are giving home shoppers more delivery options than ever before, according to this year’s Multichannel Retail Report from software house Micros. Eighty-three per cent offered some delivery choice in 2013, compared with 79 per cent last year. The proportion offering delivery text alerts was also up (from 15 to 18 per cent).

The proportion of retailers offering click and collect was up from 32 to 44 per cent, and had more than doubled in two years from 21 per cent. Among major department stores, 72 per cent offered this capability. Micros has also defined a new category, "reserve and collect", which was offered by 7.5 per cent of retailers. Under this arrangement the shopper checks the stock online and reserves it for collection without actually paying in advance.

The survey has started monitoring the use of a specific branded delivery solution, CollectPlus, which was offered by 11 per cent of shoppers. As significant rival systems such as Hermes ParcelShops, ByBox, InPost and Doddle gather momentum, it will be interesting to see how Micros factors these in.

Only 15 per cent of retailers offered free delivery as standard (down 5 per cent from last year), but for electrical retailers the figure was 50 per cent (though the department stores were not among them).

However, another 55 per cent offered free delivery over a given order value. The median average (i.e. mid-point figure) for the threshold was £50, while the mode average (most frequently occurring figure) was £100. The most common delivery charge was between £3 and £3.99.

This year 60 per cent of retailers revealed their delivery charges on their product pages – well above the 2009 figure of 29 per cent, but still a long way short of ideal. Thirteen per cent required shoppers to log in first – a worse figure than last year’s 10 per cent.

Order cut-off times for next-day delivery are getting later, the survey found. Eighteen per cent of retailers had a cut-off time after 6pm – up from 11 per cent last year and 6 per cent in 2009.

When it comes to actual delivery performance, the picture was mixed. Fewer orders arrived next day as standard this time (8 per cent, compared with 10 the year before), but 80 per cent of all orders arrived within three days – up by a substantial 10 per cent. For the first time this year, a sample of five orders were placed with a specific next-day promise, and all of them did arrive next day. The finding was almost the same with five nominated-day orders, except that one was cancelled.

Signing for goods remains a muddled area. Forty-four per cent of retailers required a signature on delivery (down 9 per cent) and made this plain on their web sites, but a further 25 per cent required a signature without having said they would (also down 9 per cent). Conversely, 7 per cent said a signature would be required, yet in fact it wasn’t.

Sixty-seven per cent of retailers had a mobile-optimised web site (up from 56 per cent), and among larger retailers the proportion was 87 per cent.

•The 124-page Multichannel Retail Report is available free from the Micros web site.



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