For some shoppers the hustle and bustle of the high street is now more welcome, given the restrictions of the past few years. However, the evidence shows that for many, the lockdown galvanised the trend for online shopping. A massive 86.7% of UK buyers are forecast to shop online in 2022!
In particular, the ease of shopping for gifts online proved to be a game changer. Total UK online retail sales hit £17.618 billion over Christmas 2021, 36.1% higher than in 2019. Within the UK’s gift industry, online searches for personalised Valentines gifts and gifts for ‘fussy’ mums grew a whopping 170% and 168% respectively. No wonder then that the online gift industry is booming.
Naturally, an array of gifting brands have emerged to service the demand. For these brands, who place huge emphasis on creating memorable customer experiences, shipping can have added complications. So what are the challenges, and why are they unique to the online gift industry?
Coping with seasonal demand
Gifting is based around seasonal holidays. The biggest spikes in demand for orders are year-round occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Mother’s Day. For those occasions, the product has to arrive on time.
For any online retail business, failed or late deliveries mean frustrated customers, urgent support queries, negative reviews, and even lost business. When it comes to the online gift industry, those issues are compounded by the emotions attached to the experience.
Learn how Scurri helped gift brand Biscuiteers optimise delivery performance, and offer seamless customer service, even through their busiest period here.
Need for delivery on a selected date
Many gifting brands promise to deliver goods in time for special occasions, and growing numbers offer nominated delivery on a specific day. That way customers can buy something now and choose a dispatch date several months later. However, if the gift does not arrive on the day it is needed, then the core proposition goes up in smoke. For example, if a gift must be delivered on Sunday, the chosen carrier service must offer delivery on a Sunday.
Brands must also be able to differentiate between what is shipping now, and what is being shipped in a few weeks’ or months’ time. This becomes harder to manage and scale as a business grows.
Expanding across borders
Growing internationally means having the flexibility and control to fulfil orders to any location at any time. Therefore, entering new markets requires local fulfilment centres and multiple new carriers for each location.
For the most part, gifting products are unusual, with completely different dynamics to everyday consumer products. Therein lies the challenge of finding and connecting to carriers tailored to your specific business needs. In the gifting industry the delivery promise must be kept by the carrier, regardless of the location.
Customer experience factors
The gifting experience brings unique expectations from customers. As most of what is sent out does not go to the person who is ordering it, there is a stronger emotional connection around delivery. Usually the gifter has chosen a particular day for a reason. Thus, the ability to offer tracking and visibility is absolutely key.
Heightened anxiety around gift delivery means that any delay, or issue with tracking, can result in more WISMO (where is my order) queries. Given that tracking usually sits with the carrier, and not the retailer, this disconnect can negatively impact customer experience.
How Scurri works with gifting brands
Biscuiteers was founded in 2007 by Harriet Hastings and Stevie Congdon. Thier mission to offer a more unique, stylish and personalised gifting solution. The objective of working with Scurri was to access a shipping solution that worked with existing warehouse systems, and would scale as the business grows.
Biscuiteers wanted a smooth running delivery service, particularly through peak periods. The company also wanted to move to a reliable seven-day-a-week delivery proposition.