Global supply chain crisis forcing customers to think and buy local, global SOTI research finds - CILT(UK)
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Global supply chain crisis forcing customers to think and buy local, global SOTI research finds

18 January 2022/Categories: CILT, Industry News, Logistics & Supply Chain, Corporate News


As the global supply chain crisis continues to disrupt the retail industry, consumers are being forced to change their shopping habits and buy local (within their own countries) for speed and availability, new global research from SOTI has found.

Consumers are feeling the effects of supply chain issues firsthand, with over half (57%) of global consumers saying they have recently experienced one or more items not being available, have had to purchase alternatives when preferred products were not available, or have had to go to different retailers to find items in stock.

Worse still, over one third (35%) of shoppers said items they wanted to purchase have not been available at all.

Compounding these supply issues, more than a third (34%) said they feel delivery times have been slower than usual and more than half (53%) said that shipping/delivery time is the most frustrating aspect of ordering online.

Unwilling to compromise on speed and availability, consumers are now paying special attention to the purchase journey.

More than a third (36%) said that if delivery or pick-up of an item takes longer than two days, they will look elsewhere.

Meanwhile, with deliveries from outside their own country now taking longer to arrive, more than half (52%) of global consumers have changed their habits, saying they are now less likely to order an item that requires shipping from overseas than they were a year ago.

As part of the From Clicks to Ships: State of Mobility in Retail 2022 Report, SOTI surveyed 10,000 consumers across the U.S., Canada, Mexico, UK, Germany, Sweden, Australia and France to understand how consumers are responding to the supply chain crisis, as well as their expectations of brands and retailers to cope with it.

Changing Consumer Attitudes and Behaviors Set to Continue

It’s clear from the findings that consumers are unwilling to give retailers any leeway. When asked about their expectations and intentions:

  • Over two thirds (68%) agreed that they now expect to know where their order is throughout the delivery process at all times
  • More than half (61%) agree they are continuing to shop with brands that can deliver goods the fastest
  • More than half (52%) agree they would be more likely to shop from a retailer’s store if multiple return points were offered
  • Over one third (35%) agreed that knowing who a retailer’s delivery partner is has resulted in them not completing an order with that retailer

Evolving in a State of Flux

The onus is now on retailers to adapt to these behaviors and match up with consumer preferences.

Shash Anand, VP of Product Strategy at SOTI explains:

“Brands and retailers are being forced to pause and think again about how they approach customer relationships and go-to-market strategies in response to these issues.

“They need to have insightful data at their fingertips to cater to these consumer preferences and combat consumer impatience, while considering that we’re still very much in a state of fluctuation.

“There is now a premium on the flexibility that allows brands to provide the best possible customer experience, no matter how or where customers shop.”

Looking to the future, when asked if they would consider using any of the following alternative delivery options in 2022, 63% said they would consider in-store delivery/collection (“click and collect”/buy online and pick up in-store) and half (50%) would consider delivery to a designated drop-off point.

Consumers are also open to even more significant changes in the way they receive their goods as technology advances.

Almost half (46%) said they would consider either autonomous vehicles to deliver larger packages to their home or another convenient location, or delivery drones to deliver small packages (43%).

“Mobile technology can help retailers to improve communications and customer experience across all relevant channels and media,” Anand says.

“By ensuring they have mobile-enabled operational intelligence, brands and retailers can diagnose problems quickly and adapt fast to meet developing consumer needs and preferences.

“In this rapidly shifting retail environment, the only certainty is uncertainty. By ensuring consumers have choice and flexibility, brands and retailers, as well as their logistics partners, will be prepared for all eventualities.”

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