UK retailers are trailblazers in fulfillment options throughout Europe, with many offering customers free shipping and free click-and-collect. Most also accept in-store returns to close the loop between stores and e-commerce, driving up footfall and presenting opportunities to upsell.
Marks & Spencer excels in providing a range of fulfillment options for homeware and apparel. However, it lags in respect to food and grocery deliveries, where click-and-collect is the only option. Meanwhile, Tesco and Sainsbury’s have been steadily growing their delivery fleets, offering cheap same-day delivery in and around London.
The UK has the largest share of the online grocery market in Europe at 7.5%, and it is set to grow. To capitalize on the opportunities, M&S is trialing a food delivery service in London, with a one or two-hour window depending on location. The economics of home delivery can be costly, so the test phase will help to identify what works best for their customers and the business before deciding on a format to roll out to its wider customer base.
Brick-and-mortar supermarkets maintain a share of the UK grocery market eight times that of online channels. However, retailers need to be poised to capitalize on the opportunities that e-commerce brings and avoid losing market share to rivals that provide customers with frictionless and convenient shopping options at the touch of a button.