Australian Study Reveals Small Retailers Are Unprepared For Shipping Challenges This Festive Season

Australian Study Reveals Small Retailers Are Unprepared For Shipping Challenges This Festive Season

Temando Study Identifies Key Shipping Difficulties for Enterprise, SMB and Micro eCommerce Businesses

Shipping issues could be the Grinch that steals Christmas if retailers are not prepared to deal with the imminent online shopping frenzy according to new research from Temando, a leading shipping and fulfilment software platform for commerce.

The Temando survey of over 200 Australian micro, small, mid-sized and enterprise retailers explored the shipping-related challenges they face and exposed difficulties, particularly with smaller retailers, in relation to high shipping costs and satisfying customers over the peak period. A huge boom in sales and the last minute Christmas rush could result in angry shoppers if gifts are not delivered in time for the 25th.

As part of the research, retailers were asked how well they are prepared with multiple shipping options, including express and same day delivery, for shoppers this holiday season. Overall three quarters (77 per cent) indicated they were not. Only 26 per cent of micro, 15 per cent of small and 25 per cent of mid-size Australian retailers feel well prepared to offer a variety of shipping options. Enterprise retailers fared better with 75 per cent feeling organised with their offering.

In addition, 83 per cent of all retailers are not well prepared to handle shipping delays and uncertainty. A very small proportion (15 per cent of micro, 14 per cent of small and 19 per cent of mid-size retailers) reported being prepared to handle this issue. On the other hand, 75 per cent of enterprise retailers indicated they have planned ahead to handle delays over the holiday period.

Overall 79 percent of all retailers are not well prepared with return procedures to meet customer demand this Christmas. While enterprise retailers are extremely confident their return processes will meet customer expectations (100 per cent), only 15 per cent of micro, 15 per cent of small and 28 per cent of mid-size retailers feel well prepared.

When it comes to back-end logistics, 80 percent of all retailers believe that their systems are not up to scratch to cope with ramped up sales. This includes just 16 per cent of micro and 12 per cent of small retailers, who believe they are well prepared. On the other hand 28 per cent of mid-size and 75 per cent of enterprise retailers feel their logistics are well organised for Christmas trading.

Additional issues in relation to shipping operations reported by retailers include:

  • High carrier rates (combined 37 per cent), with smaller retailers having more difficulties than larger ones – micro (45 per cent), small (38 per cent) and mid-size (31 per cent)
  • Difficulty meeting customer expectations (combined 25 per cent) including overall quality of service, shipping options, cost, returns, tracking and notifications via email and SMS
  • Manual processes and obtaining rates from carriers (18 per cent for each)
  • Lack of consistency between couriers (combined 24 per cent, 32 per cent of micro, 19 per cent of small and 21 per cent of mid-size retailers, 50 per cent of enterprise retailers) is an issue

Carl Hartmann, CEO and co-founder of Temando, said that the findings confirmed many are yet to discover and use the wide range of technology and software solutions available to streamline eCommerce shipping and enable retailers to satisfy their customer’s expectations.

“Shipping and fulfilment are highly complex and important processes not only for business operations, but for keeping customers happy, especially as many online stores hit their peak sales period when customers are prone to be distressed and unsatisfied if gifts arrive late.

“Many outlets still rely on manual or partially automated systems for customer product returns (76 per cent), delivery tracking and customer communication (69 per cent), booking a carrier (68 per cent), and warehouse management (66 per cent).

“Temando enables retailers of all sizes to use shipping and fulfilment to implement cost-effective processes which remove some of the challenges retailers face over the festive season and ultimately help build a stronger business,” he said.