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UK consumers hit hardest by supply chain crisis

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UK consumers hit hardest by supply chain crisis
The UK has been suffering from a lack of lorry drivers which has contributed towards the supply chain crisis. Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA via Getty

UK consumers have been hit hardest by supply chain issues, despite the "global" nature of the supply chain crisis, new research has found.

Shoppers in this country are suffering far worse delivery experiences than those in France, Germany, and the US, according to new data from operations experience management platform parcelLab.

Nearly two fifths (39%) of Brits said they had placed an order that never arrived, compared to just 18% in the US, 22% in France, and 23% in Germany.

Some 41% of UK online shoppers said they had experienced a package failing to arrive in time for when they needed it. This is compared to 23% of French online consumers, 27% in Germany and 29% in the US.

With the UK suffering disproportionately from the supply chain crisis, Brits are more likely to demand more of retailers and penalize them when disappointed, compared to their European and American peers.

More than a third (35%) of UK online consumers who had a negative experience said it made them unwilling to order from that retailer again, compared to 21% in France, 23% in the US, and 25% in Germany.

Brits were also more likely to develop a negative outlook on the both the retailer and delivery service provider following a bad experience.

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Almost half (49%) of UK online shoppers who had experienced delays said they had to contact customer services to find out where their package was.

This has led to UK consumers demanding more in response to poor delivery experiences. A third (66%) of UK consumers said they wanted retailers to provide regular updates on where the package is, while 61% said they wanted to be notified when packages were shipped.

A further 47% wanted to be able to view the location of their package on a map, while 65% said they would like to have immediate updates if there are any issues and delays.

"Consumer expectations are not unreasonable," said Tobias Buxhoidt, Founder and CEO of parcelLab. "The pandemic has accelerated trends in e-commerce with online shopping becoming the default option for many, and consumers have come to expect an efficient and reliable delivery experience — this is not currently being delivered, especially in the UK.

"While some delays may be unavoidable, the key for businesses is to ensure the customer is kept at the heart of everything. Clear and transparent communication is of paramount importance so that expectations can be effectively managed. 

"The willingness of UK consumers to punish brands that do not prioritise the customers experience shows just how important it is to provide proactive assistance and consistent communication after the customer has hit that order button — these will be the businesses that will be remembered most and earn the greatest brand loyalty."

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Both the COVID-19 pandemic and Brexit have contributed towards the supply chain crisis in the UK. Britain has been suffering from a lack of lorry drivers, which has resulted in recent shortages of products for businesses and customers.

The Office for Budget Responsibility reported in October that "supply bottlenecks had been exacerbated by changes in the migration and trading regimes following Brexit".

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