Retailers pull forward last order dates

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One in three retailers is bringing forward last order dates this Christmas, according to research from Manhattan Associates, which warns that customers who leave their shopping till later could be in for a surprise this year.

Fifty-seven per cent of shoppers surveyed said they would be more confident in pushing their Christmas shopping to later this winter. This contrasts with feedback from retailers, where 34 per cent of retailers have less confidence in their delivery capabilities this year and are bringing forward their last order dates. Only 17 per cent of retailers are planning to extend their last order date.

Retail supply chains are continuously being pushed to the limit especially during the festive season, said Manhattan chief Craig Sears-Black. Shoppers that cant receive their goods when they want them simply wont shop with that retailer any longer. The battle for customer loyalty is no longer won on the variety or quality of products, but on the speed of delivery and number of fulfilment options.

The research also found that 56 per cent of retailers were struggling to offer more delivery options because they lacked accurate visibility of all their stock.

The surge of online orders around Christmas forces retailers to either set early deadlines for orders, or kill profitability by committing to expensive fulfilment options, said Sears-Black. Many retailers are limiting their chance to capitalise on the rush of last minute Christmas orders because they simply dont have the back-end systems in place to deliver on customer demands.

The research by Manhattan Associates questioned 2,000 people and 100 UK retail professionals about their offline and online shopping preferences and preferred fulfilment options and capabilities.

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