Delivering what matters to consumers in the run up to Christmas

E-Commerce will be fundamental to how customers shop this Christmas. How can retailers ensure that they deliver for customers this holiday season? UPS’s E-Commerce Customer Marketing Manager, Oliver Horne, describes key considerations for retailers over the festive period

Christmas is a pivotal period for retailers. It can be the most demanding and important time to capitalise on seasonal demand. According to PwC, one in four consumers intends to spend more this festive season, with a total spend on presents and celebrations predicted to be around £21 billion.

2021’s Peak season looks promising for retailers. But, there will be challenges too, particularly with current uncertainty around global supply chains. So, how can retailers set themselves up for success during the Christmas season and ensure their logistics run smoothly? Here are three tips for a successful delivery experience:

Collaboration and flexibility is key during peak season

As customers make those last-minute orders for loved ones in the lead up to Christmas, it is important that retailers communicate effectively regarding the importance of shopping and shipping early to avoid disappointment. Clear communications will avoid confusion for customers – as well as describing shipping options and estimated delivery dates.

Shoppers also value outlets that have responsive digital channels available for customer service, which is a critical factor in building customer loyalty and encouraging repeat purchases. As more customers are returning to the workplace and their busy lives outside of the home, it is likewise important that retailers work with delivery partners to offer flexibility, with the option to divert and change delivery times where possible and communicate relevant updates.

Managing returns in the new year

Each year, British shoppers return an estimated £5.2 billion worth of online purchases, with more than 12% admitting they have made purchases with returns in mind, intentionally buying more than they intend to keep, according to figures from Openpay. As more products are purchased, the demand for returns increases too, and the peak holiday season doesn’t end on 24th December. Dealing with a surge in returns is just as important as the original buying experience. Retailers should also partner with a logistics provider that offers an efficient and easy parcel returns service, through solutions such as mobile barcode returns or customer drop-off at alternative delivery locations.

Our Smart E-Commerce Report highlighted the importance of returns and noted that 52% of respondents would like to see retailers offer free returns in the future, highlighting the importance of this as we look at future expectations. Get the returns experience right and your seasonal customers will return to buy again. You’ll make future purchase decisions easier and increase customer lifetime value at the same time.

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