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Click-and-collect cracks appear over Christmas

Home delivery and click-and-collect services were plagued by problems over the crucial Christmas trading period, according to the latest figures from YouGov.

Online shopping at Christmas

A survey of around 2,000 consumers revealed that one in three UK shoppers (33%) experienced issues with an online order over Christmas, up from 31% in 2014.

Late or undelivered parcels accounted for 48% of complaints a further 48% claimed to have missed deliveries despite be at home during the allotted time.

Problems also extended to the 41% shoppers who used click-and-collect, up from 39% last year. More than a third cited issues including not having a dedicated area in-store (31%), long wait times due to lack of staff (31%), and staff being unable to or taking a long time to locate items in-store (24%).

Despite the setbacks, nearly one in four (24%) said they would use click-and-collect more next Christmas, to avoid delivery charges (56%) and for convenience (49%).

However, of those who struggled with online orders overall, 77% said they are likely to switch to a different retailer next Christmas.

“While issues with home deliveries are nothing new, more worrying for many retailers is that this Christmas exposed cracks in their click-and-collect operations,” said Jason Shorrock, vice president of retail strategy at retail solutions firm JDA.

“Shoppers are showing a growing preference for click-and-collect as it offers them the convenience they crave and it is vital that retailers get it right. However, without the effective management of staff, stores and inventory, retailers risk damaging customer relationships.”

A total of £3.3bn was spent online between Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30) alone, according to Experian-IMRG.

The survey also highlighted that 12% of online shoppers bought from a retailer’s competitor as a result of their preferred shop not having the item they needed.

It comes after both Next and Marks & Spencer cited poor stock availability as the reason for sluggish sales over the period.

Niklas Hedin, chief executive of logistics firm Centiro said: “Today’s online customer is now demanding shorter order-to-delivery windows and greater choice over where and when goods are delivered. For retailers, this means ensuring they have full visibility over their inventory and their delivery networks.”

Readers' comments (1)

  • A white elephant in the room is the impact to stores. Staff are used as forward handlers and returners, rather than focussing on customers who visit the store impulsively, creating poor experiences for each. Many don't get the sales benefit to their store figures either. Over egging online results as well with a lot of grunt from stores to achieve them. Then there's the returns complexity. More Digital Directors need to work in stores. Visiting a few would be a good start.

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