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Ecommerce: Fashion retailers tracked for best delivery service

Very and Next lead the fashion pack on deliveries by offering a next-day service as standard, while the average maximum standard delivery time for fashion retailers is 4.07 days, a survey has found.

Etail consultancy Practicology has launched a Fulfilment Index that tracks delivery prices and times offered by 50 of the UK’s top multichannel and online non-food retailers. The index covers 15 fashion names and five department stores, including H&M, John Lewis, Matalan and Sports Direct.

The research, compiled in August, found Next and Very can deliver items to shoppers the day after they are ordered, but H&M was the slowest of the fashion companies, with standard delivery taking up to six working days.

Practicology head of marketing Joanna Perry warns the longer delivery times offered by some fashion retailers could put shoppers off. “Take H&M for example: in that time shoppers could go in store instead or to a competitor. Younger shoppers are very much used to immediacy in every aspect of their lives, so they will apply the same rules to the services they expect to receive from retailers.”

Fashion retailers are, however, beating non-food outlets more generally, who had an average maximum standard delivery time of 4.12 days last month.

The average free delivery threshold was higher for fashion retailers, at £49.44, compared with £37.63 across non-food companies. River Island, however, was found to have no order threshold for free deliveries and of those that did among the fashion companies, was found to have the lowest at £15, while Sports Direct was the highest at £100.

The cheapest next-day and Saturday delivery services were offered by Very, costing £3.95, and the most expensive was Boden at £8. Of the fashion retailers surveyed, only H&M did not offer next-day or Saturday delivery. The average cost of a next-day service was found to be £5.45 for fashion retailers, rising to £5.60 for Saturdays.

Five of the fashion retailers required customers to pay to return unwanted items by post or couriers, including Boden, Next and Matalan.

The average charge for delivery to a Collect+ location by fashion and department store retailers was £4.29. John Lewis provided the cheapest service at £3, and Sports Direct the most expensive at £5.99. Perry expects Collect+ charges to come down in the future as more retailers offer it.

Fashion retailers often use delivery prices to incentivise sales during crucial periods, she adds, so delivery is likely to get “really competitive in the run-up to Christmas”.

The index will now be published on a monthly basis.

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