Christmas shopping has changed!

Christmas tree and gift boxes against burning fireplace

The way we shop for presents at Christmas has changed

Preparing for Peak in 2016

Gone are the days of promoting your wares in December and your customers buying up your perfectly packaged products at full price to put under the Christmas tree.

Now we have Black Friday! Black Friday started as a sales day before thanksgiving in the US and has gradually made it into the hearts of UK shoppers in the last few years. First there was chaos on Black Friday 2014 as people pushed and shoved their way into the shops and news reports everywhere- not necessarily in a good way. Continue reading

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Is Anything Really Free?

Image for is anything free DMC blog article

With the continuing rise of internet shopping, currently growing at 12% a year, many companies are offering free returns for unwanted items.  As any business owner knows, there is no such thing as “free” in retail terms, and so it makes you wonder if a proportion of the returns cost has already been built into the price of the item (and every other item in the store). This would mean that anyone who purchases an item from the store is in fact paying a hidden premium to contribute to the cost of someone else having returned an item yet not bought anything.

It might be conceivable that a company could be gambling, say estimating that 60 or 70% of the goods will be kept. Whilst this might be true for high value items, such as washing machines, TVs, Laptops etc., the nature of purchases, such as online clothing, means that the customer may order 2 sizes of the same product and there is also a likelihood that they may just not like it.

Many retailers offer free returns. Could this be, as some online retail forums suggest, that the percentage of returns is lower from online purchases than purchases from bricks and mortar outlet? In a brick store, the showroom effect is more powerful, making the product look different to how it looks at home. Perhaps there really are less returns from online orders and less risk involved in making them ‘free’. We contacted a few of the biggest online retailers to see if they would shine any light on the debate; they declined to comment further than the standard information published on their websites.

Irrespective of company return policies and methods, it still stands that not everybody is going to return items. So why should those who don’t return items pay for those that do? Has the World gone mad or is this just consumer progress?

If you are a retailer and have any thoughts on this we’d love to have your comments below.

If you are in ecommerce and would like to know more about how DMC could help with fulfilment and returns please talktous@dmcdist.co.uk

Downtown Downturn, Online Upturn

Downtown downturn, online upturn

Robert Peston reported on the BBC news recently that the latest unemployment figures had gone down again, that the Bank of England had left interest rates unchanged at 0.5%, that inflation was around 2% and the economy was in recovery generally.

 

Peston was interviewing people on the street in a town in South Wales and asking them if they had personally seen any obvious improvement in their finances/job security and whether they were feeling more positive for the future.  Several respondents pointed to all the empty shops on the high street and said it was as a result of the recession.  But are our economy indicators outdated?

 

Internet shopping has risen exponentially by roughly 12% per year for the last 5 years, and in 2013, 72% of all adults bought goods or services online, up from 53% in 2008*. While younger age groups have traditionally embraced Internet shopping (92% of 25 to 34 year olds), there has been significant growth in the rate of online purchasing by those aged over 65. Over a third of those aged 65 and over bought online (36%) in 2013, more than double the 2008 estimate of 16%.

 

Should we assume that the above has nothing to do with the demise of 60% of the small high street shops?  A shop on the high street has a finite area from which to attract customers and also has to pay exorbitant business rates and staff wages, repairs, renewals etc. If you move a business online, you instantly have the whole of the UK and potentially the whole world as potential customers. Furthermore, if you outsource your fulfilment, you can even manage all your orders from the comfort of your spare room!

 

Using a fulfilment house means you pay only for what you use, in terms of storage space, pick-pack staff, order and inventory management and fork lift trucks. These methods can be very effective for the right product. Clothes were the most popular online purchase in 2013 and bought by 47% of all adults. If you see our blog on Drop Shops, you’ll also see how easy it could be for your customers to return items using warehouse fulfilment.

 

Considering the facts, it’s much more likely that the success of online business rather than the recession that has led to retailers leaving the high street. It’s comparable with the closure of Butchers, Bakers and Grocers shops when the Supermarkets rolled into town in the 50’s and 60’s.

 

We constantly reinvent ourselves and the way we do things with the rise of technology. It could soon be that a UK customer can order an item from a business in Australia and specify a 24 hour delivery  –  and get it. Better get in there first and keep the UK economy going if you ask me.

 

If you want to know more about how you can use warehousing and fulfilment for your UK business in the UK and abroad contact DMC or use the online calculator to see all of the options.

 

 

Drop What?

Image for Drop Shop article express Delivery box

Customer: ‘Petrol number 4 and a lottery ticket please’

Petrol station attendant: ‘No problem, would you like to collect your book/game/TV/camera/pair of jeans with that?’

 

 

 

Delivery decisions

The parcels carrier, DPD, commissioned a survey to determine how online shoppers chose their delivery arrangements and discovered that 30% of those surveyed had their purchases delivered to their workplace rather than their home address. 10% of those surveyed also said their employer had forbidden personal deliveries to the workplace. Easy to understand, when you think about the logistics of a company with 4,000 employees trying to run a post room at Christmas time. No wonder people complain about the internal mail!

All for online shopping

Online shopping makes sense in a lot of ways. Ideally we’d all like the luxury of having the afternoon to swan around the shops, weigh up the options, maybe stop for a pot of tea.. but the reality is, that many of us just don’t have time, or rather, not as much time as we’d like. Add in the benefits of scanning what 500 other people thought about the cotton content of your new T-shirt before you even think of pressing ‘add to basket’ button, plus online discounts , and it’s easy to see why online shopping is currently growing by 12% a year . In fact, the E-commerce retail body, IMRG*, describes the UK e-commerce market as “the most sophisticated in the world”; forecasting that Internet shoppers overseas would push cross-border parcel traffic to as much as 30% of total volumes by 2017.

*Source: http://www.imrg.org

 Knock, knock

Tradition has it that most home deliveries are attempted at 1pm in the afternoon, when you either have been at work for 5 hours , or popped out to the shop for 5 minutes. It’s always the way.

Until now.

DMC, a UK fulfilment and distribution specialist, is finding that increasing customers are specifying carriers that offer a Drop Shop option.

Drop what?

So, say somebody buys a ‘running vest’ from ‘JT Mac’s’,  they can choose to pay a little extra for the carrier to deliver it somewhere near to where they live, e.g. a late shop or petrol station, which, you’ve guessed it, are open past 5pm, so that you can collect it on your way back from work. Magic.

Don’t like it?

Similarly, there is an option to return items via a Drop Shop. If a customer wants to return something, DMC can email them the paperwork, and all they have to do is print it off and take the goods along. The local Drop Shop then scans the details and arranges for collection, which is also a pretty nifty way of making goods traceable for both client and customer.

 The future’s local

Roy Whittle, Business Development Manager, at DMC, is continually looking at new systems to help clients provide the service that customers need. ‘One of our carriers uses Hermes as a partner for returns services which gives customers more flexibility’, says Roy. ‘With the exponential growth of online shopping, I think it’s only a matter of time before some larger employers will be negotiating with our carriers to creating a system to accept employees parcels as part of their employment package – you heard it here first !’

About time?

What do you think about the way that parcels are delivered? Do you think that there should be more Drop Shop sites? Do you already use them? We’d be really interested in your views if you want to ‘leave a reply’ below or email us with any questions about fulfilment and distribution services at talktous@dmcdist.co.uk

 

Colgate Crunch

Colgate Crunch

The DMC team are getting ready to begin another large product mailer for Colgate. DMC specialise in working closely with customers to make sure we are prepared for big deliveries. We deliver Colgate products to dentists and hygienists all over the country, using the latest distribution technology to deliver the latest in dental technology.  This will involve breaking down 257 pallets of incoming items, and repacking the high value products into dedicated shippers ready for parcel courier despatch to 25,000 U.K. addresses.

New Balancing Act

New Balancing Act

We have 2 new clients joining us – a Canadian based  chemicals company who supply specialist products mainly to the electronics industry, MG Chemicals. And, ever had trouble balancing on two wheels? Another Canadian company, EZtrainer,  sell Bicycle training wheels for adults. EZtrainer design training wheels for anyone who needs a bit of extra help with balance or who haven’t cycled before.  We’re looking forward to them settling in and taking sales forward.

A Day in the Life at DMC

Video

We’ve just launched a new video showing a typical day at DMC and it’s well worth a look, especially if you haven’t seen inside a fulfilment warehouse before! The video highlights some of the operations at DMC, explaining how we set up fulfilment for ecommerce businesses and manage everything from integrating order systems, to incoming stock, pick and pack, timed collections and delivery.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTzdvo9M4aI‎ to see all DMC videos