Half of fashion retailers offering free delivery to win e-commerce market share

Nearly half of UK fashion retailers are offering free delivery in a bid to win a share of the rapidly growing online shopping market.

A survey of 1,000 retail brands by digital operations platform Brightpearl found that 44 per cent are looking to roll out free delivery by 2021 in bid to attract new online shoppers, while a third (34 per cent) plan to offer free returns by the end of the year.

The study also found that a quarter have plans to launch a Click and Collect service, marking a sharp rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Two-thirds of retailers (65 per cent) now offer Click and Collect.

With more than 3,700 UK firms declaring insolvency since lockdown began, more than half of the UK’s retailers (56 per cent) plan to switch their retail focus to online over the next 12 months, the survey found.

Four out of ten (39 per cent) said their online sales were higher than they had been pre-crisis, as shoppers switched to the safety of digital channels.

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

The study also found that 61 per cent 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.

Derek O’Carroll, chief executive of Brightpearl, said: “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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