Many companies were – understandably – put on the back foot when the COVID-19 lockdown forced high streets to pull up the shutters and had to scramble to improve their delivery offering as more and more customers in the UK turned to online shopping.
UK consumers spent an estimated £141.33 billion online in 2020, up a massive 34.7% from 2019.
As a result, shoppers became more demanding and developed high expectations about delivery times, speed, customer service, and a frictionless return procedure.
An analysis from eMarketer forecast this pandemic leap won’t carry over into 2021, And despite the fact there has been a 6.3% decline in UK retail e-commerce sales, numbers are expected to bounce back to 2020’s numbers by 2023.
Panther Managing Director Gary McKelvey said: “E-commerce now accounts for more than a quarter of all retail sales in the UK and will reach nearly one-third of all retail sales by 2024. Furniture and homewares account for 28% of the most popular items, followed by white and brown goods at 18%, and sports equipment at 17%.
“Retailers must therefore look for ways to differentiate their offering from competitors, and a market-leading delivery service is a tried and tested way to enhance service.”
Online buyers will soon seek out competitors if they are not happy with their delivery, but customers who are impressed are more likely to order from the same retailer in the future.
Panther supports retail partners with premium delivery options like weekend delivery, nominated day delivery options, upgrades like wet and dry installation, soft assembly, premium time windows, Saturday and Sunday delivery slots, plug and play, door removal, and customer returns. It also offers recovery of non-operational and obsolete goods with specialist disposal.
Panther invests heavily in its fleet, employee training, depots – it has ten facilities nationwide – and works closely with its customers to plan capacity in line with predicted volumes to ensure peak performance, a flatlining of volumes, and an overall improved first-time delivery rate.
Gary added: “Panther’s range of flexible service offerings appeal to people who are still working from home – an estimated 45% of staff expect to work more flexibly after lockdown restrictions on UK businesses are lifted, according to YouGov.
“And employees returning to work can take advantage of our seven day a week delivery and pre-10am and post-6pm deliveries.”
With its headquarters at Northampton, Panther covers the UK via a network of nine strategically located regional hubs, employs a workforce of over 1000 and offers an end to end e-fulfilment service.