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Global supply crunch expected to hit UK harder

Retailers are in a black mood as the global supply crunch constrains stock

A global supply chain crisis threatens to take the shine off this year’s Black Friday sales, with British retailers in particular warning that limited stock will hit customers harder than their counterparts in France, Germany and the US.

Bargain-hunters risk being frustrated in their efforts to procure the latest tech and consumer goods ahead of the annual pre-Christmas retail bonanza, with 39% of UK shoppers complaining that they had placed an order that never turned up – well ahead of the US (18%), France (22%) and Germany (23%).

The dispiriting results were shared by ParcelLab, specialists in streamlining the operational management of global brands such as Ikea, Bose and Nespresso. Via YouGov, it questioned 2,000+ individuals in several European countries. It found that a failure to deliver the goods risks returning to bite retailers, with 35% of British shoppers ready to vote with their wallets over negative experiences – significantly higher than the 21% in France, 23% in the US and 25% in Germany who would do likewise.

Britain has been hardest hit by the global supply chain bottleneck courtesy of the exacerbating factor of Brexit, which has compounded to leave stock rooms unusually empty in the run-up to the holiday sales rush.

Greater trade friction has gummed up the well-oiled ‘just in time’ pre-pandemic economy, with the result that 41% of UK purchasers have not received online packages in time – far more than their immediate continental counterparts in France and Germany, where the comparative figures are 23% and 29%.

In response, brands are encouraged to prioritize communications to manage expectations, with 61% wishing to be notified when their package is shipped and 66% expecting regular postal updates. A further 47% wished to have access to a live map of their parcel’s present location and 65% demand to be immediately informed of any problems or delays.

Tobias Buxhoidt, founder and chief executive officer of ParcelLab, said: “The pandemic has accelerated trends in e-commerce with online shopping becoming the default option for many, and consumers have come to expect an efficient and reliable delivery experience – this is not currently being delivered, especially in the UK.

“The willingness of UK consumers to punish brands that do not prioritize the customer’s experience shows just how important it is to provide proactive assistance and consistent communication after the customer has hit that order button – these will be the businesses that will be remembered most and earn the greatest brand loyalty.”

In anticipation of the ever-extending winter sales rush, The Drum looked at the festive five of Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and Singles’ Day to see which events live up to the hype.

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