“The retail landscape is significantly challenged today. With supply chain issues impacting on stock levels, increasing volumes of returns and increased customer expectations in relation to online deliveries – local brands will have a hard time in satisfying customers in 2022,” says Raghav Sibal, Manhattan Associates’ managing director for Australia and New Zealand. New systems and approaches that help meet the consumer demand for a seamless and more personalised shopping experience today area a focus.
Due to the ongoing impact of the pandemic, home delivery is now the preferred purchasing option for the majority of Australian online shoppers. However, consumers are not prepared to just accept the convenience of delivery at the cost of the environment, with research showing that 60% of Australian consumers are open to receiving goods at a later date if it meant that it was delivered more sustainably.
Consumer research also shows that over half (60%) of Australians often receive their online order in multiple shipments, and 81% of them said that they think this is an inefficient and unsustainable way of delivering goods.
While e-commerce has served as a lifeline for retailers over the past year, the ever-increasing volume of returns is posing significant challenges, including impacting consumer perceptions of a retail brand. The returns process can regularly make or break the overall brand experience and savvy retailers are increasingly viewing the return process as an opportunity to further engage with customers, providing as it does, an additional touchpoint to enhance the overall customer experience.
The war for talent
Given the extent to which a positive or negative customer service interaction can have on a shopper’s perception of a retail brand, the war for talent and need to retain high performing staff will create additional business pressures in 2022. In such an environment, organisations need to focus on selling themselves as an employer of choice and create and promote initiatives that set their business apart in a competitive hiring field.
“As e-commerce and ‘store to door’ delivery continues to grow, many retailers are struggling to turn a profit from online sales. The challenges of the last two years didn’t just fast-track e-commerce uptake, they also accelerated advances in technology, pushed businesses to revaluate traditional models, and forced many to rethink relationships between retailers, disruptive start-ups and automation; setting the scene for a radical shake up of fulfilment strategies in 2022.”