Abingdon, Oxfordshire -- 01 February 2008 -- Martin Newenham, director of professional services at retail systems experts PMC (Paul Mason Consulting) asks why so many on-line retailers still fail to control the ‘last mile’ and allow poor on-line delivery to consistently damage their brand.

Despite continued consumer complaint, too many retailers still fail to recognise the importance of on time delivery. They are failing the ‘last mile’. For many customers it remains the key point of breakdown in the on-line experience.

Newenham states: “On-line retailers recognise the problem but complain that it’s expensive and difficult to correct on-line delivery issues. They also argue that how the ‘last mile’ completes is out of their control. That is not acceptable.”

Reports state that it is unfair for consumers to only blame retailers for delivery problems with the on-line experience. Many argue that doorstep delivery, which the retailer has probably outsourced, is beyond their control.

Newenham disagrees: “That’s a get-out clause. In my view, poor delivery is the retailer’s problem and within their control. An on-line retailer who decides to outsource a critical part of their customer experience should still have considerable influence over how it’s managed.”

Some retailers also state that consumers don't understand the complexity of delivering an effective on-line presence and should recognise that the hold up in the ‘last mile’ is down to the delivery company. Newenham argues that this is a fundamentally flawed approach. “These retailers are approaching the problem from the wrong position. It’s wrong to expect customers to adapt to your on-line operation you should adapt to them. If your delivery system is failing – fix it.”

Newenham states: “The problem is the concept of ‘last mile’ thinking it is not good enough. On-line retailers must recognise that it’s the ‘last metre’ that’s key. If the goods ordered on-line don’t make it to the customer, and they’re still a mile away when the customer expects them on the doorstep you have a big problem.”

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About PMC
Retail systems experts, PMC (Paul Mason Consulting) offers its clients combined retail and IT experience, gained through working at the sharp end of the retail environment. PMC provides business consultancy services covering retail systems strategy, multichannel retailing, system selection, project implementation, support, permanent and contract recruitment and training. The company’s IT implementation services are designed to eliminate implementation concerns and ensure problem free performance. They include project management, configuration, testing, software building, integration and custom enhancements. PMC offers an extensive range of complementary services in conjunction with its business partner network. www.paulmasonconsulting.co.uk

PR contact for PMC
Timothy Diplock
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+44 (0) 1494 463 464
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Email: timothyd@maximlive.co.uk

Published on: 12:00AM on 1st February 2008