As more retailers ramp up their e-commerce capabilities and invest more in new shopping strategies for the consumer, a recent JDA Software Group Inc. survey revealed that out of 1,000 online U.S. shoppers, of the 35% who opted to buy online and pick up in a store, 50% encountered problems getting their purchases.
According to Wayne Usie, svp/retail at JDA, this is a surprisingly high failure rate of a strategy meant to offset the high costs of conducting e-commerce. It also suggests that retailers may face challenges expanding their e-commerce sales while preserving their profit margins.
Usie suggested that the root of the troubles may be service failures because picking products from storage is easier in a streamlined warehouse than in a retail store, where other customers need to be helped and orders can be misplaced.
“These survey findings speak to the importance of having an omnichannel retail strategy in place, not only during peak shopping seasons such as Black Friday, but also throughout the year. After all, consumers have high expectations on when, where, and how they make and receive their purchases,” said Usie. “In a highly competitive marketplace, it is critical for retailers to intelligently configure their supply chains and how they use their staff, stores and inventory to fulfill consumers’ orders quickly, while also remaining profitable.”
According to the survey, nearly 40% of those shoppers that experienced an issue said it was employee-related; the most commonly stated issues were that store staff took a long time or were unable to find their order in the store or store system. Consumers who identified an issue are also less likely to shop with the offending retailer during a peak time, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the report stated.
“Stores are struggling with managing the task and additional work that’s required without making a difference in their labor expense, and that’s affecting customer service,” Usie said. “It’s indicative of a lot of the challenges these retailers are facing.”