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Managing customer expectations within the warehouse

Article by Megan Gee


While online retail sales in the UK have slightly decreased in 2022 from the height of the pandemic, there is still a clear increasing trajectory in the sales generated from online channels.

Value of internet retail sales monthly in the United Kingdom (UK) from January 2016 to January 2022[1]

In November 2006, ‘ecommerce represented a mere 3% of retail sales. By 2013, this grew to around 10% and in 2019 this was at 20%’.[2] ‘In 2021, this was at 29%’.[3]

More than a product

While the 2020 surge in ecommerce popularity can certainly be attributed to the pandemic, accessibility is not the only reason online retailing has soared.

Number of digital buyers worldwide from 2014 to 2021 (in billions)[4]

While the number of ecommerce consumers has increased year on year, the biggest increase was between 2014 and 2015 at 10.6%. This was followed by 9.2% between 2017 and 2018.

For the modern consumer, purchasing online is not just transactional. It’s an entire experience for your consumers.

Winning customers from the warehouse

Customer service is no longer just the responsibility of your customer-facing staff. It needs to be bred and nurtured throughout your entire operation and supply chain.

While warehouses do not deal with customer interactions directly, the warehouse is one of the most crucial places for any business to ensure an optimal customer experience. Especially for online retailers.

Customer expectations around online retail have rocketed alongside demand in recent years.


It was reported this year that 80% of shoppers expect same-day shipping, while 61% want their packages within 1-3 hours of placing an order.

To fulfil orders with such tight deadlines, warehouses must be able to perform with maximum speed and efficiency. However, with increasing ecommerce orders and ongoing staffing issues, warehouses face severe disruptions to their supply chains and logistic operations as well as an increased risk of error.


Warehousing errors causing late despatches, missing items, damaged items or wrong items being delivered, contribute to at least 65% of all returns.

On the other hand, with the increase in ecommerce offerings, buying behaviour has completely evolved. Nowadays, online shoppers purposely over-order intending to return at least part of their purchase.

At least 30% of all products ordered online are returned and a further 8.89% of purchases in a brick-and-mortar store are returned. It’s estimated that 49% of all retailers provide free return shipping in 2022, with 67% of shoppers checking a retailer’s return guidelines before making a purchase.

Returns have become part of a healthy customer experience. Also, it’s proven to help businesses increase profits and customer retention with 92% of consumers ordering from an online retailer again if they found the return’s process easy.

Automation to secure orders

It’s never been so important for warehouses to upscale their operations and automate their processes to achieve a seamless workflow and ultimate productivity.

Goods-to-person, materials handling or production line AMR (autonomous mobile robotic) solutions, can save days’ worth of time in the warehouse by streamlining and automating the movement of goods.

By reducing unnecessarily laborious processes, the workforce is able to focus their efforts on increasing throughput and order fulfilment while minimising any risk of manual error. AMR technology is guaranteed to provide a smoother work environment ensuring the right stock is despatched on time, handled efficiently and delivered to your customer on time.

Discover how automated warehousing robotics has helped manufacturer A. Perry increase picks per hour by 233%, order line processing by 346% and save labour costs by 70% here.

Why not start your automation journey today?

Start your automation journey


[1] retail%3A monthly sales value in the,Kingdom (UK) 2016-2022&text=In January 2022%2C the value,up from the previous month.




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