Did you have an eCommerce nightmare before Christmas?

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Published on 07/01/2019 by Jason Thickpenny

The Christmas orders have stopped, the last of the chocolates have gone, the sherry has gone back in the cupboard and you are getting back to some sort of normality.

How were your Christmas sales? What did you learn? How is Christmas 2019 going to be better?

eCommerce Christmas orders took two days longer to arrive in 2019, due to the level of demand from online shopping according to Retail Gazette (source). According to the same report, one in three were slower at dispatching than their stated maximum delivery time.

What’s more, a quarter of retailers admitted they had struggled to cope with purchasing demand during peak shopping periods.

The eCommerce world continues to change

Well for a start we in the UK are now matching our American friends in terms of the number of people that buy online. 8 out of every 10 people in the UK now shop online (source). Which means that 44.5 million of us now do our shopping online.

The problem for your bricks and mortar stores is that marketplaces like Amazon and eCommerce retailers such as these, make it so easy that most people can now do there ordering online. Efficiency and speed are the factors which have changed.

Yet the town centres and the shops I believe now have gone the other way and it is becoming a less and less pleasurable experience to visit your local store. 

eCommerce vs shop

If you want to buy an Amazon Echo, you can at a price of £89.99 from Amazon.

So here are the steps to go and buy it…

  1. Search & purchase your Echo within minutes
  2. Pay within seconds
  3. Take delivery in 1 or 2 days

If you want to buy the same item from your local Currys, it costs the same….or does it??

Here are the steps if you want to buy this item from your local store (test from my local store in Grantham Lincolnshire).

  1. Get the children in the car.
  2. Drive 5 miles to the store.
  3. Find a space.
  4. Get a ticket.
  5. Realise you don’t have any change for the machine, so you have to travel to a different store and buy something to get the right change because the machine doesn’t give any.
  6. Display ticket.
  7. Go around a huge store to find what you are looking for.
  8. Take the item to the till.
  9. Get a huge queue with a screaming child.
  10. Pay for the item.
  11. Get back in the car.
  12. Drive home get and stuck in the traffic again going through the centre.

So not only has it cost me an extra £5-6 for the same item (fuel, parking) but the time and the stress it has caused means that I am always going to prefer to order online. But it is not going to get any better for the shops. We have more cars on the road than ever, which means traffic jams are going to only get worse, putting off the shoppers.

In addition, the online platform giants are only going to make their tech even smarter, they are also going to make it even easier and more efficient.

While Mike Ashley believes that the answer is to Tax online sellers more, most retailers just want to give the customers what they want, a really good online experience and a competitive price.

“Our on-going customer commitment includes adopting new technology to enable us to better serve customer needs and meet their expectations for convenience, choice and experience,” said David Hunn, Director IT Delivery, John Lewis.

How to boost your next peak period

If you are in 1 of the 3 online retailers that were struggling to fulfil your orders, maybe now is the time to look at your technology and if it is giving you the best support to help you create that really good experience that they now demand.

Is your Warehouse Manager system robust enough to cope with today’s environment/demands? Can your web platform handle the traffic going through it? Do you not have enough traffic? Do you have tools that give the flexibility to quickly change something online to meet demands?

Regardless of when your trading peaks are, why not make it your new years resolution to see what technology is on the market to help improve your customers’ online experience.

If you would like to look at what Remarkable tech looks like, please get in touch.

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