Consumers want their deliveries to be free and fast
Consumers are becoming ever more demanding when it comes to getting their purchases delivered, with growing numbers demanding a service that is both free and fast.
According to a AlixPartners survey, the maximum delivery time the average shopper will accept has fallen to 4.5 days, down from 5.5 in 2012.
The finding underscores how strongly market leaders such as Amazon and Walmart influence shopper expectations, said the company.
AlixPartners said that to satisfy them, retailers are scrambling to expand their networks of warehouses and distribution centres with a focus on those near large population centres to facilitate rapid order fulfilment and delivery, relying on third-party carriers to handle the last leg of the delivery route.
In addition, the survey revealed that free shipping can make or break a retailer, with 96% of survey respondents saying that the availability of free shipping impacts their purchase decision, and 73% said that it has a great impact on their decision.
More than 70% of shoppers decide their shipping preference before checkout, and nearly 60% of shoppers browse for products based on their preferred shipping options.
About a quarter of shoppers (26%) will buy from a retailer that offers free shipping, even if they would pay a bit less to buy the same item from another retailer that imposes shipping charges.
AlixPartners said these findings strongly support the conclusion that delivery options, and specifically the availability of free shipping, drive online purchase behaviour.
But shoppers also expect their deliveries to be fast; figures show that the average consumer expects delivery within 4.5 days, and Amazon Prime members are even more demanding.
The 56% of survey respondents who have signed up for Amazon Prime expect their deliveries to arrive within 3.8 days— nearly a day less than non-Prime members will accept.
Demand for same-day delivery is increasing, but at 4.1% of online purchases (up from 2.7% in 2016), goods for same-day delivery still account for only a small share of total purchases.
Gartner: Women in supply chain at five-year high
Women now represent a greater percentage of the supply chain workforce than at any other point in at least the past five years, according to a recent Gartner survey.
The Women in Supply Chain Survey 2021, conducted by Gartner and Awesome, surveyed 223 supply chain organisations with more than $100m in annual revenue from February through to the end of March 2021.
- Women represent 2% more of supply chain workforce than in 2020
- Women now account for 42% of the workforce
- Number of women in exec-level positions declined by 2%
- Just 15% of top leadership are women (17% in 2020)
- 84% of organisations say COVID-19 did not impact efforts to advance women
It found that women now represent two per cent more of the supply chain workforce than in 2020, accounting for 42%, compared with 39% last year. Dana Stiffler, Vice President Analyst with the Gartner Supply Chain practice, says the impact of COVID-19 on supply chain was significant, though different to other sectors.
"Contrary to other industries, supply chain’s mission-criticality during the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that many sectors did not reduce their workforce, but rather continued to hire and even faced talent shortages, especially in the product supply chains," she said. "This resulted in many women not only standing their ground in supply chain organisations but increasing their representation in organisations. We also recorded a record number of specific commitments and supply chain-led actions and saw existing programs starting to pay off."
Supply chain still lacks women in executive leadership
But the elephant in the boardroom remains. Though the figures present a positive step towards greater diversity and gender equality at all levels, the number of women in executive level positions declined by two per cent in the past year. Women represent just 15% of the upper echelons of supply chain leadership. Gartner did however record a rise in women at all other levels of leadership.
The vast majority (84%) of organisations surveyed said the outbreak had no discernible impact on their ability to retain and advance women. But more than half (54%) admitted that retaining mid-career women was becoming increasingly difficult. A lack of career opportunities was cited as the biggest challenge to this, while other blamed a lack of development opportunities.
Despite these challenges, companies of all sizes are becoming broadly better at gender diversity. Around a third more said they had a targeted initiative focused on attracting women and advancing their careers.
Stiffler said a push towards measurable and formal initiatives is at least pointing in the right direction: “It's encouraging to see that the larger share of this jump was for more formal targets and specific goals on management scorecards. For these respondents, there is greater accountability for results — and we see the correlation with stronger representation and inclusion showing up in pipelines.”