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Lowest prices aren’t just the beginning, it’s more about getting the goods you ordered as click-and-collect retail services are overwhelmed by volumes as high as the Christmas peak period.
As Australia Post put a three-day hold on picking up parcels from ecommerce retailers until Tuesday to address the log-jam, scores took to social media to complain about Bunnings’ click-and-collect service.
Rene Whalley and daughter Savannah at Chatswood Bunnings, Sydney on Saturday. Credit:Anna Kucera
One poston the OzBargain website on Friday said: “Finally after waiting 4 days, got an email to collect. You have to click ‘Book pickup time’, I did, then the booking system crashed. Called Bunnings, even without a single word from my end, lady yells, ‘System will be fixed tomorrow, BYE!!!!’. Bunnings clearly weren’t ready.”
Leaving Chatswood Bunnings on Saturday with a Worm Buffet composter, Rene Whalley relayed a similar experience. “We placed an order last weekend to collect on Wednesday,” she said. “Got here then and they had a problem with their system and it wasn’t ready. We rebooked and came back this morning and it still wasn’t ready. We’ve been to Lane Cove to have the COVID shot and we have just come and collected it now. They were very polite and accommodating, it was just frustrating that the system wasn’t working for us.
“We’ve had an even worse situation with Coles online. The problem is that they [the stores] don’t have the systems in place to deal with the problems.”
Bunnings general manager of operations Ryan Baker said that, like many retailers, they were experiencing unprecedented online order volumes coupled with transport constraints in NSW.
“Over the past few weeks, we’ve been careful to make sure we let customers know about the longer order times via our website,” he said. “We have also rostered extra teams in our call centre and we really appreciate customers for being understanding during this time.”
One of Australia Post’s parcel sorting facilities in Melbourne.
Australia Post said on Thursday that, due to the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 in NSW, ACT and Victoria, it was temporarily pausing Parcel Post collections from ecommerce retailers in those states for three days until 7am Tuesday to help manage the record volumes.
“We currently have 500 people in necessary self-isolation and, with August the busiest month in our history, parcel volumes 20 per cent higher than December 2020, our network is under increased pressure,” an Australia Post spokesperson said.
“As we approach our busiest delivery period, we’ll be hiring an extra 4000 team members in both metro and regional areas to help keep things moving throughout the peak and prepare for another busy Christmas. Weekend deliveries have already started in many parts of the country, and will remain in place from now until the end of the year with up to half a million parcels delivered each weekend from now until Christmas.”
Paul Zahra, chief executive of the Australian Retailers Association, said increased online demand was contributing to the stress that supply chains are already under due to state border controls and limited domestic flights. “In addition, some distribution centres and warehouses have been impacted by reduced staffing levels due to COVID-19 cases and this has impacted productivity,” he said.
“The key message for consumers is to be prepared and allow for longer delivery times. It’s an important reminder not to leave your Christmas shopping till the last minute. These issues are likely to be with us for the months ahead, so consumers should consider shopping early to avoid disappointment.”
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