A majority of U.S. retailers, at 68%, say they are not well prepared to take on multiple shipping options such as same-day, express and standard deliveries this holiday season, according to a survey released Thursday. Waiting for a product to arrive remains one of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to ordering online.
The best paid-search campaigns and product listing ads may succeed in converting consumers to customers, but the lack of shipping options and backend processing methods could derail the entire sales process. Getting the product in a timely manner into the hands of consumers -- not just during the holidays, but every time -- can shatter loyalty, and force consumers to abandon merchandise in online shopping carts and close the browser.
Yet it's not always about getting the product into the hands of the consumer on the same or the next day -- but often a matter of the product being delivered when it's most convenient for the customer.
Google's "micro-moment" -- the ability for brands and retailers to connect online with consumers at the moment they show intent -- continues to change consumer behavior and expectations, admits Carl Hartmann, CEO at Temando. Customer expectations rise each year. "We're moving to an on-demand economy," he says. "Consumers are getting conditioned to press a button and have something happen." He says consumers expect deliveries to happen with more certainty, and with a greater degree of transparency with orders.
Smaller retailers report being less prepared than larger retailers to fulfill multiple shipping options. Only 24% of "micro" or very small retailers report being well-prepared to offer multiple options, compared with 29% of small, 36% of medium-sized retailers, and 50% of enterprise retailers, according to a survey from Temando, which offers a shipping and fulfillment software platform for commerce.
The survey polled more than 200 companies in October 2015 about a range of shipping related challenges including the returns process and found that 71% of the retailers admit they are not well-prepared to handle returns. Only 20% of very small retailers report being well prepared, compared with 31% of small retailers, 33% of medium-sized retailers, and 31% of enterprise companies.
Similar to programmatic processes of bidding and serving online advertisements, retailers require automation on the backend to expedite deliveries and provide consumers choices. Some 75% of retailers participating in the survey say they are not well prepared to support backend logistics. A quarter of enterprise, 26% of medium-sized retailers, 29% of small retailers, and 20% of very small retailers admit they are well-prepared.