Almost half of UK fashion brands are betting on free delivery to win back shoppers

  • Almost half (44%) of fashion retailers are looking to roll out free delivery by 2021 in bid to attract new online shoppers
  • A THIRD plan to offer free returns and a QUARTER are launching Click & Collect – a service made popular by brands like Argos 
  • Two-thirds of all retailers (65%) are already offering  Click & Collect – a sharp rise since the crisis started
  • Research is from  Brightpearl.com who spoke to 1,000 retailers via a new study into online shopping habits 

Fashion retailers are launching a range of new online services like free delivery as a response to Covid-19 and in a bid to lure shoppers to make more online orders, a new study reveals.

Research from Brightpearl.com reveals that 44% of fashion retailers are looking to offer free delivery by 2021, whilst more than a third (34%) plan to offer free returns before the year is up.

Fashion retailers are also racing to offer Click & Collect for online orders, with a quarter surveyed (25%) planning to launch a new service within six months.

The results come from a new survey of 1,000 retailers by Brightpearl, which provides digital operations solutions for the UK’s biggest retail brands.

“It’s important to address convenience in the last mile of the customer journey”, says Derek O’Carroll, CEO, Brightpearl. “Though absorbing the costs of both delivery and returns is not without risk for retailers, especially those operating on fine margins in the current climate, it could also be an effective way to expand their customer base.”

With more than 3,700 UK firms having  gone bust since lockdown began, half of the UK’s retailers (56%) plan to switch their retail focus to online over the next 12 months.

Four out of ten (39%) said their online sales were higher than pre-crisis.

Brightpearl’s survey found that all retailers are now quickly boosting their online services in response to Covid and to capture more online shoppers.

A third of all retail brands will be offering free delivery as the most popular option, 22% are looking to implement free returns and a further 23% will be offering same-next day delivery – all within the next six months.

Two-thirds of retailers (65%) now offer click and collect in store functionality – a big increase since the crisis started.

“It’s admirable that so many brands are offering new services to benefit customers”,  says O’Carroll, “But one of the most damaging things they can do is promise a service that they don’t have the capability to deliver.”

Brightpearl’s study reveals that 61% of consumers have experienced issues buying from brands online within the past 12 months alone, with the majority of these problems related to issues with delivery and returns.

“Too many online companies offer options they can’t fully support”, adds O’Carroll. “They end up letting down customers who are understandably upset about not receiving items on time, products not being delivered where they should be, or poor communications after their purchase. Before thinking of introducing new services to woo customers, retailers must ensure they have the right infrastructure in place to deliver an optimal shopping experience at all ends of the buying journey.”

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