Tesco is warning online shoppers to expect delays to next-day click-and-collect services, in the run up to the Black Friday and Christmas peak.
Last year, Tesco – like several other retailers – struggled with the influx of orders from bargain-hungry shoppers. Alerting shoppers to possible delays, and promising text alerts in the event delays occur, is an attempt to stave off customers’ ire.
Now, shoppers placing orders on the Tesco Direct website are greeted by this message as they go through the order confirmation process.
Some estimates from 2014 showed a 40% increase in returned items, indicating that for many shoppers, the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend was not about getting discounted Christmas shopping out of the way, but finding bargains for themselves.
Speaking on the likelihood that shoppers will be happy to accept delays to deliveries and collections, Tim Robinson, CEO of Doddle, said: “The assumption is that people will be buying Christmas presents, but the uplift in returns volumes (from last year) doesn’t bear that out; that’s not Christmas shopping – that’s stuff that someone’s tried on, doesn’t like and is sending back.
“If that’s right, if there is a high proportion of consumers shopping for themselves, then the idea everybody is prepared to wait five days because it’s all about Christmas actually starts to fall away.”
Delivery and collection options are widely accepted as being part of shoppers’ decision-making process. Tesco’s decision to be transparent with customers will almost certainly lead to an appropriate adjustment in expectations. But it comes with the inherent risk that it might drive some shoppers to buy from etailers who are not displaying such warnings, whether or not they might be facing the same fulfilment challenges.
Despite issuing warnings of possible collection delays for non-food items, Tesco has also kicked off a trial of same-day click-and-collect for grocery shopping. Believed to be available at around 200 stores, food orders placed before 1pm can be collected, free of charge, after 4pm. Last month, Asda announced it was scaling back it plans to open a greater number of collection points across London.