Paul Galpin is managing director at P2P Mailing.
For Black Friday 2014 it was estimated that £810 million was spent with predicted sales reaching £1 billion this year. While the potential rewards for fashion retailers are great, the day also comes with a unique set of delivery challenges. In order to avoid a boom and bust Black Friday, British indies should consider the following delivery factors:
Set realistic delivery expectations
Nearly two thirds of consumers cite poor delivery standards as the worst thing about online shopping; our research shows that 23.5 per cent of respondents said that they used social media to complain about retailer services. It is far better to extend the delivery commitment in the period immediately after Black Friday by 24-48 hours for Standard Deliveries than to over promise and under deliver.
Consumers have more ways to receive their goods than ever before. For example, Network Rail recently announced the nationwide roll-out of store pick-up points within stations nationwide. Previously, offering a sole, standard delivery service may have been sufficient but now other options such as trackable and express deliveries are essential to appeal to a wider audience.
A good returns system is something that many companies can forget to implement or implement poorly. If customers find it difficult to return goods, it’s likely that they may look to a competitor next time. Research by Harris Interactive shows that 85 per cent of customers say they will stop buying from a retailer if the returns process is a hassle and, conversely, 95 per cent will return to the same catalogue or internet retailer if the process is convenient.
Identify new buying trends
Social media sites Twitter and Pinterest are introducing new ways to discover and buy products online, with Pinterest starting to roll out a buy button on pins. These advancements will give fashion retailers even greater visibility leading to higher customer engagement therefore driving sales. Increased sales mean more deliveries, which can only be supported by strengthening fulfilment and distribution solutions. By partnering with a third party expert, retailers are better placed to not only keep up to date with the latest innovations but also to judge which ones might fit their business and how the delivery and fulfilment processes will be affected.
Management of multiple purchases
Retailers must be prepared for the prospect of multiple purchases per customer on their sites. By leaving a specific time window after an order is placed and before the fulfilment process starts it gives customers the chance to go back and purchase other items during the day. These can conveniently be incorporated into one package as well as reducing shipping costs.
Customers don’t like delayed or unsuccessful deliveries, and the competitive e-commerce market means customers can easily defect if they are unimpressed with the service they receive. By engaging with a third-party expert with the necessary knowledge contacts and expertise, retailers can truly capitalise on the financial rewards available on Black Friday 2015.