Most Shippers Not Prepared for Holiday Season Challenges

Most retailers are not well prepared to handle several shipping issues this holiday season, according to a new survey from shipping and fulfillment software company Temando.

The October survey polled over 200 micro, small, mid-sized and enterprise retailers about a range of shipping-related challenges they face.

When asked if providing multiple shipping options (same day, express, standard, collect from store, etc.) will meet customer expectations this holiday season, 68% of respondents said they are not well prepared. Just 24% of micro retailers said they were ready, compared to 29% for small, 36% for mid-sized and 50% for enterprise organizations.

In addition, 76% of retailers said they were not well prepared to handle shipping delays and uncertainty this holiday season. More small and mid-sized retailers (29% and 28%) than enterprise retailers (19%) said they were well prepared to address these issues. Only 15% of micro retailers reported being well prepared.

When asked if their return processes meet customer expectations this holiday season, 71 percent of all retailers indicated they are not well prepared, and 29 percent reported being well prepared. Only 20 percent of micro retailers reported being well prepared compared to small (31 percent), mid-sized (33 percent) and enterprise (31 percent) retailers.

Additional survey findings include:

  • Key shipping difficulties — Retailers cited meeting customer expectations (27% of total respondents), high courier rates (28%) and a lack of automation (19%) as important shipping difficulties they face. Customer expectations consist of various factors, including overall quality of service, shipping options, shipping costs, returns, tracking and notifications (email and SMS).
  • Lack of total automation — All retailers responded that their systems for warehouse management (64%), booking a courier (61%), customer product returns (72%), and delivery tracking/customer communication (58%) are either manual or somewhat automated. 

“Shipping and fulfillment are highly complex and important processes not only for business operations, but for keeping customers happy,” said Carl Hartmann, CEO and co-founder of Temando. “Several factors contribute to retailers’ shipping issues, such as warehouse management, supply chain, organizational complexity, shipping volume and technology to name a few.”

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