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Retail Supply Chain to Become More Complex This Season

Pitney Bowes announced the results of the 2015 Holiday Shipping Survey, that strongly suggests supply chain managers will be dealing with yet more complexity.

By ·
By ·

Pitney Bowes announced the results of the 2015 Holiday Shipping Survey, that strongly suggests supply chain managers will be dealing with yet more complexity.

According to survey participants, most Americans plan to shop both in-stores (94 percent) and online (92 percent) this holiday season, with 94 percent of consumers planning to shop from a computer and 49 percent making purchases from a mobile device.

The recent findings also support other supply chain industry reports that “Peak Season” may be getting an early start.

Survey results show consumers want options (an array of choices and alternatives consumers may select to address shopping, shipping and returns preferences).

“Options are no longer a privilege during the shopping experience. This holiday season consumers will expect the ability to choose their preference,” says Christoph Stehmann, Chief Operating Officer of Digital Commerce Solutions, Pitney Bowes. “Retailers must focus on offering diverse options—whether for shopping channel, shipping and return methods or even promotional offers—in order to attract consumers throughout their shopping experiences.”

In fact, 93 percent of consumers find shipping options to be an important factor in their overall shopping experience (a 23 percent increase from 2014). Overwhelmingly, 88 percent of those surveyed find free shipping with a 5-7 day delivery to be more attractive than paying a fee for a 1-2 day delivery.

Consumers are willing to do what it takes to meet the free shipping threshold, with three in five respondents stating they have increased their online spending in the past to qualify for free shipping. Alternatively, 68 percent of online shoppers have previously used a promotional code or coupon to receive a shipping discount. Eighty percent say they’d also be more willing to purchase online if they had a promotional code or coupon. Additionally, 60 percent say they have increased their online spending in the past to qualify for free shipping.

The majority of consumers suggest they’re more willing to shop online during a sales event (61 percent), while 39 percent are more willing to shop with retailers who offer a premium membership (a paid-for membership that offers faster and cheaper shipping).

Once a retailer processes an online transaction, nearly all shoppers (98 percent) track their packages for an estimated time of delivery. The majority of shoppers track their orders via email (39 percent) compared to a mobile device (30 percent) or a retailer’s website (28 percent).

When asked about return options, the majority of shoppers prefer to return packages in a nearby store (39 percent). However, 38 percent prefer returning packages via a shipping provider, while only one in five shoppers prefer to have a courier pick up a package from their location. When it comes to gender preferences, survey results show that 45 percent of women are more likely to return a package in a nearby store, whereas 43 percent of men prefer to return a package via a shipping provider.

While survey results suggest consumers will be seeking options when it comes to shopping and shipping, they will also seek opportunities to shop consistently across the holiday season. When asked to select time periods in which consumers planned to do the majority of their shopping, results show that:

¥ 30 percent will shop before Thanksgiving
¥ 41 percent will shop from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday
¥ 26 percent will shop on Thanksgiving and Black Friday
¥ 17 percent will shop on Cyber Monday
¥ 13 percent on the weekend between Black Friday and Cyber Monday
¥ 34 percent will shop during the month of December


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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