UK consumers covet fast shipping and easy returns. However, recent issues with fuel supply in the UK, plus a general dearth of delivery drivers, have caused delays and illustrate the fragility of the country's fulfillment infrastructure. In an increasingly demanding market, customers might not tolerate these excuses for long.

Online shoppers are no longer focused solely on price in their purchase decisions. Traditionally, their shopping habits were driven by the desire to get the best deal on a product. Now, faster delivery times and free returns are gaining in importance: They were the top two factors after price that UK teens and adults said would persuade them to buy from a brand's website, per the Tug and Censuswide study. Good returns options are also highly sought after.

The strain will be difficult for retailers to cope with, so communication will be key. Retailers can't realistically solve some of the underlying issues that lead to delays, like Brexit or the pandemic. But what they can do is set realistic expectations.



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