3.1m SMEs ‘under-prepared’ for Black Friday

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Up to 3.1 million SMEs run the risk of not being able to meet their delivery promises and may undermine customer satisfaction on Black Friday, according to research from Royal Mail.

It found that nearly two thirds of small business owners are not preparing for the delivery of customer orders despite the fact that they are preparing in other ways.

Some 39 per cent are arranging extra IT capacity, 40 per cent are employing additional staff, and 55 per cent are ordering more stock.

Royal Mail surveyed 250 small business owners and found that while 95 per cent are making preparations of some form. In 2014, the biggest challenges faced by SMEs around Black Friday were: coping with increased website traffic (48 per cent); managing stock (44 per cent); delivering their orders on time or quickly enough (33 per cent) and distributing orders from their warehouse (31 per cent).

Only 38 per cent of SMEs have extended their ‘delivery window’ to allow more time to get deliveries to consumers and just 36 per cent are working with their delivery provider to forecast volumes. Royal Mail calculated that this leaves up to 3.1million UK SMEs running the risk of not being able to meet their delivery promises.

Roger Morris, head of Royal Mail Parcels, said: “SMEs are joining the big brands to claim their share of the retail spend, but our research shows that they may be risking their reputation by not preparing in all areas of their business.”

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