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Online retailers rely on speed to succeed

04 December 2014 - 12:13 by Graham Miller

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While the rise of shopping online has happened as a result of a combination of low prices and convenience, industry insiders now believe that the real factor which sets e-commerce firms apart from the pack is speed, according to BBC News.

Manhattan Associates spokesperson, Craig Sears-Black, said that companies that sell products online have had to radically alter the way they handle the processing and delivery of orders. Consumers will no longer accept having to wait a few days for their e-commerce purchase to be selected, packed and shipped; in fact, some sites even offer same day delivery in certain areas of the UK.

This poses plenty of challenges for the companies behind the scenes, which has led to the greater use of automated systems and even robotics, especially within major outlets like Amazon, where there is money available to invest in technological overhauls.

Retailers not only need to satisfy customers from day to day, but also plan ahead, to ensure that they have an adequate stock of items to keep them going in the long term and meet demands as they ebb and flow.

Faster deliveries are being facilitated in certain places, with London usually getting access to the latest services of this kind before anywhere else. And there was a big fuss made over the news that Amazon was trialling the use of drones for delivery, even if it may be many years before these are seen in active service.

For many consumers in the UK, shopping online is most convenient when there is a click and collection option to choose, allowing for same day pickup. And as Christmas approaches and the delivery window grows narrower, this could become a necessity rather than a luxury for busy shoppers.