Huw Thomas, Managing Director at PMC, talks about online shopping.

The benefits of shopping online are well documented, the ability to browse merchandise at your leisure any time of the week wherever you are on limitless devices. A great benefit to the consumer who wants on-demand flexible purchasing and a considerable driver of incremental revenues for the retailer.

However, when things don’t quite go to plan the consumer experience is often very unsatisfactory.

At this time of year when online trading is high, the supply chain side of online shopping shows its inadequacies. Many upstream system issues, probably caused through over stressing already stretched systems manifest themselves with incomplete or totally unfulfilled orders.

This is where the consumer meets a scenario they are not familiar with and unequipped to deal with. When things don’t go to plan with an in-store situation you either visit or call customer services and the situation is dealt with, hopefully satisfactorily, with another person.

With many online shopping organisations there is no easy route to get your problems resolved. Many handle these situations via email via your initial order confirmation, with new emails or responses to emails falling to the bottom of a retailer cyclic queue for attention. Consumers can be left isolated and frustrated at the ability to deal immediately, the whole benefit of online shopping, with situations when things go wrong.

With Christmas rapidly approaching and this year a feeling that shoppers are leaving it later to shop, those retailers that fail to deliver right first time, or those that are not set up effectively to deal with online shopping issues may see some serious brand damage come the New Year.

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