Thinking smarter about how retailers use their key assets of staff, stores and inventory during peak is key to fulfilment success. 

As the festive shopping period gears up to full speed, who will get the balance right between the drive to grab share of customer wallet and meeting customer expectations from first touch to last mile? While at the same time, all of this needs to be done with profitability in mind.

”Expectations are rising and tolerance is decreasing. Retailers must ensure they have the capability built into their supply chains to meet customers’ expectations”

Jason Shorrock, JDA

It’s never been a trickier balance for retailers to get right, with the lure of headline-grabbing events such as Black Friday, the growing popularity of same-day delivery and click-and-collect, coupled with the sky high expectations of customers of a flawless shopping experience.

It is clear that fulfilment excellence through the festive season is crucial. Increasingly it is influencing where customers shop and how they rate the experience. Furthermore it is dictating whether retailers are able to turn a profit.


Look at some of the evidence – when it goes wrong, it makes headlines – think back to the aftermath of Black Friday last year. Next-day delivery is table stakes, same-day delivery is the new benchmark. New charging models are appearing, as retailers explore how to reduce the margin impact of customer ordering.

The 2015 JDA Customer Pulse Survey showed that around half of UK adults chose a retailer based on the choice and convenience of their fulfilment and returns service and an alarming 71% of UK adults would switch to an alternative retailer as a result of a poor fulfilment experience.

Customer expectations are rising and tolerance is decreasing. As such retailers must ensure they have the capability and flexibility built into their supply chains to meet customers’ expectations.

To carry out online fulfilment profitably, retailers must think hard about the configuration of the supply chain and will need to become much smarter about how they use their key assets of staff, stores and inventory to fulfil customer requests in an intelligent way.

Time will tell which retailers are able to tame this festive roller coaster and which will fall into a tailspin.

Offering a seamless customer delivery experience

To find out more about how to make fulfilment a competitive differentiator, listen to the Retail Week webinar ’Making omnichannel fulfilment issues a thing of the past’, in association with JDA and Centiro. The webinar is available to view on demand here.

  • Jason Shorrock is senior director, retail strategy EMEA, at JDA