More than a third of click & collect shoppers experienced issues with their orders over Christmas, according to a YouGov online survey.

JDA and Centiro's second annual Christmas Customer Pulse report claimed 36% of Christmas click & collect shoppers had problems with their orders. Those customers cited problems including: not having a dedicated area in-store for click & collect purchases (31%), long waiting times due to lack of staff (31%), and staff unable to locate items in store (24%).

Further problems with online orders caused frustrations for customers, according to the study of over 2000 adults, with 33% of online Christmas shoppers stating they had experienced issues with their purchases – up from 31% last year. Nearly half of those shoppers experienced late deliveries or never even received their goods, while a further 48% suffered from missed deliveries including when they were at home.

More than three-quarters of British shoppers said they would be likely to shop with another retailer next Christmas due to their poor fulfilment experience.

“While online retail continues to see unprecedented growth in the UK, Christmas shoppers continued to be plagued with problems concerning their online orders. While issues with home deliveries are nothing new, more worrying for many retailers is that this Christmas exposed cracks in their click & collect operations,” said Jason Shorrock, vice president of retail strategy at JDA.

“Shoppers are showing a growing preference for click & 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. Ironically, at a time when the online channel continues to grow, the in-store experience is becoming ever more important. As the survey findings show, today’s online customer has no qualms about taking their business elsewhere if retailers don’t meet their expectations.”

But despite the problems with click & collect, the fulfilment channel continues to grow, as 41% used the service this Christmas compared to 39% in 2014. And over half (56%) said they use click & collect to avoid delivery charges, while 49% said it was more convenient than home delivery.  Meanwhile, 25% online Christmas shoppers said they chose to shop specifically with one retailer offering click & collect over another only offering home delivery.  

“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. In the lead up to Christmas, many retailers added much more delivery capacity to deal with spikes in demand, but it is clear customer expectations still aren’t being met. It is also evident that retailers need greater insight into their carrier networks so they can offer more flexible and convenient delivery options,” said Niklas Hedin, CEO of Centiro.