2023 Omnichannel Competitive Landscape Study

Holiday retail omnichannel trends

The post-purchase services offered to customers during the holiday season could be the key to converting virtual browsing into sales. But how well do retailers stand out during this time of year when the market is flooded with similar products and promotions?

Emerging retail challenges and capabilities

During a time when customers are bombarded with promotional offers and similar products can be bought at a similar price, post purchase services can be the key to making a company stand out.

The challenge for companies is putting their best omnichannel capabilities foot forward at a time when their stores and supply chain networks are handling more than four times the volume they’re accustomed to.

Throughout the Holiday 2023 season, Deloitte monitored and tested three key areas that are critical to the customer journey during the peak shopping season. We used this research to establish benchmarks for leading and lagging performance across the industry and to identify emerging trends in post-purchase capabilities.

Cyber week delivery

Across the industry, standard delivery timeframes quoted at checkout increased by one day during Cyber Week 2023. The median calendar days for a package to deliver once ordered was eight days during this time versus the pre-peak median of seven days.

Peak delivery speed offerings had a very wide span of execution in 2023, with leading companies quoting packages would arrive in less than six days, while others showed it would take 11 days or more.

Test orders we placed on Cyber Tuesday 2023 arrived in half the time quoted at checkout.  This reflects a lack of confidence in fulfillment operations, which prevented companies from committing to a more accurate timeframe.

Holiday cutoff performance

As purchases needed for gift giving approach a holiday date, accurate delivery timing becomes critical to customers. 78% of the companies we researched indicated the last day that they would accept orders to be delivered by Christmas Day 2023.

Once again, we found a very wide span in performance commitments across the retail industry with companies showing that orders for Christmas with standard delivery needed to be placed anywhere between 22 days before Christmas up until Christmas Eve.

Almost 30% of test orders we placed between December 20, 2023, and December 24, 2023, showed they would be delivered by Christmas Day but arrived after the holiday.

Post-holiday return services

Although the speed at which they will receive a refund for a returned gift or personal purchase is just as important to customers as delivery speed, across the industry the median time shown for companies to process refunds during the peak return season this year was 2 weeks after a return package was received.

When it comes to returns, the industry leading and lagging performance span increases even more with a few leading companies offering a conditional credit as soon as a return package was tendered to a carrier, lagging companies showing return processing can take over 30 days and many companies didn’t provide any information on their refund processing times.

The median timeframe for actual refunds to be processed on our return tests was six days— almost 60% faster than companies communicated. Once again showing a lack of confidence in return processing capabilities.

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