Robert.Jervis_43227 Nov 18

Preparing for seasonal surge in the logistics industry

Preparing for seasonal surge in the logistics industry image
"Supporting the retailer both through these seasonal peaks and outside of them"
Retail is an ever-evolving industry constantly under pressure, but it’s not just the bricks and mortar stores that are changing, the way consumers shop is evolving. Today’s consumers are technologically connected and expect fast, seamless delivery. 

With some of the busiest shopping days of the year fast approaching, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas, it means the retail logistics industry has a mandate to make this a reality.

As a result, the pace of multichannel retail is phenomenal, fuelled by new technology, increasing customer sophistication and service expectation, rising mobile adoption, ever-shifting sales spikes and the rapid growth of channels.

With some retailers already cutting prices in a bid to attract shoppers and beat competitors, it means logistics providers are already on the front lines of peak, building up operations for a seasonal peak that won’t let up until the rush of January returns is over.

Tony Mannix, CEO at Clipper Logistics explains:

“Black Friday is a challenge for retailers, with its popularity increasing year on year. As a retail logistics provider, we are seeing the impact the seasonal peak not only has on orders, but returns as well. 

“During this season, there’s still a strong consumer preference for buying online and picking up in store. Home delivery has its own problems: waiting for deliveries, packages left outside, missed deliveries. With 21% (1) of online shoppers let down by logistical errors or delivery delays when it comes to home delivery, it’s unsurprising 72% (2) of UK shoppers use click and collect services, because of the flexibility it offers, combined with the cost when compared with home delivery.

“But the biggest question we find on every retailer’s mind, is how to deal with the flood of returns during this period? Returned goods tie up a huge amount of stock and working capital, and can become a retailer’s biggest single inbound source of supply, presenting significant operational challenges.

“‘Free returns’ are part of the competitive landscape in retail, where the ease with which a returning customer can transact with the retailer has a strong impact on their likelihood to repurchase. Research shows that 64% of customers are likely to repurchase if you offer a ‘free return’. For retailers, this means that speed of return and its conversation to Grade A stock quickly is imperative.

“Consumers expect to be provided with a pre-printed returns label and reusable packaging. They also expect the assurance of timely reimbursement. This is being driven by an ever-increasing percentage of purchases made via mobile devices.

“At Clipper, our processes are designed to support the retailer both through these seasonal peaks and outside of them, by utilising original sales data to match the returned goods to the consumer’s account, quality-check the product and provide data to the parent systems in real time. This technology provides the retailer with the critical information required to allow credit processing. It also provides real-time stock status and visibility information.

“At Clipper, we believe it is imperative to deliver the convenience customers expect when going through the returns process, without adding extra cost and complexity to the supply chain, especially at peak.”
 
(1)      PwC: The Future of Logistics
(2)      InternetRetailing 2016