Retailers improving delivery flexibility, says new report

Deadlines for online delivery orders are getting later and retailers are providing more flexible fulfilment options, although some sectors of the industry are proving more adaptable than others.

These are some of the key findings from the Multichannel Retail Delivery Report 2014, which takes an in-depth look at the changing face of retail delivery and was unveiled by retail solutions and software provider Micros in London on Wednesday evening.

Some 18% of the 239 retailers analysed for the research, which was conducted between October and December 2013, offered a delivery order cut-off time later than 6pm, compared to 11% in 2013 and 6% in 2009.

According to the survey, 97% of retailers could deliver to an address other than the billing address, while 56% were able to deliver to a range of countries worldwide. A total of 16% offered gift-wrapping, while 8% provided customers with the facility to cancel an order online.

Almost a quarter (22%) of businesses assessed for the study allowed a customer to add special delivery instructions, although this differed markedly between the sectors. Health & beauty and grocery retailers were most likely to accept delivery instructions, but none of the electricals retailers or department stores analysed provided customers with this choice.

Various research was conducted into pricing, click & collect capacity and use of mCommerce, as well as how retailers are connecting their physical store space to their digital offering. For example, 25% of retailers now reportedly offer free in-store Wi-Fi, which is up from 16% last year.

Martin Hawkes, VP of retail at Micros UK, said: "Having surveyed 239 of the UK's leading retailers this annual report truly is a clear indication as to what's really going on in the industry.

"Our research shows that retailers are working hard to offer the services that consumers want, from click & collect through to support for mobile shopping, whether in-store or elsewhere. It's clear that retailers are actively building a better connect between channels for customers, bringing together the store, web, mobile and fulfilment operations for a truly integrated service."

To read the full report, please click here

To understand more about Micros, visit them on stand 550 at RBTE 2014, which takes place between 11-12 March 2014 at London's Earls Court.