Editor’s Note: Today’s Blog is by Carl Turn, a freelance writer in the distribution field, who is showing us how next-day delivery is changing the face of eCommerce.
It’s no secret that the internet has reshaped our lives in many ways, and especially how we shop. Gone are the days of calling or visiting brick-and-mortar stores to find the products you need. These days, a simple click of a button is all it takes to have virtually anything delivered to your front door.
One of the major drawbacks of online shopping is the waiting times. A mere 3-5 days can feel like an eternity, but paying for same-day or overnight shopping just doesn’t make sense financially – until recently. Call it the Amazon Prime effect if you want, but it’s become clear that today’s shoppers are getting tired of paying high fees for fast deliveries.
Is Amazon Prime Enough for Today’s Shoppers?
According to The Wall Street Journal, tens of millions of people pay a monthly or yearly subscription fee for Amazon Prime, with one of the major benefits being free two-day shipping on a huge variety of products. Additionally, members in certain areas have access to same-day and next-day deliveries. While Amazon is undoubtedly a corporate giant with a vast selection of products, are shoppers satisfied limiting their business strictly to Amazon?
Weighing the Benefits and the Drawbacks
While many independent online retailers are struggling to offer next-day delivery at a reasonable cost, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Offering a unique, niche product that’s not available on Amazon is an easy way to retain business in spite of the growing demand for faster shipping. After all, most customers are willing to wait an extra day or two for the right product.
Let’s say you run an online fashion store or a boutique that sells antiques and handcrafted items. You’re probably not going to have a major overlap of customers with Amazon because your customers simply won’t find similar products available on the main retailers’ websites that offer free next-day delivery.
At the same time, being able to provide next-day delivery at a reasonable rate is an excellent way to attract new customers who might otherwise choose your competitors. After all, next-day shipping hasn’t become the new standard just yet, and offering it – at least on expensive purchases – can be an excellent way to stay ahead of the curve.
Today’s small and medium-sized online businesses need to start weighing the pros and cons of offering cheap or free next-day delivery. Profitability may suffer at first, as shipping expenses may have to be covered out of pocket, but the marketing advantages could easily lead to an expanded customer base and increased profitability.
According to Forbes, at least 90% of today’s online retailers offer a next-day delivery option, but it’s rarely cheap. When providing affordable or free next-day delivery isn’t feasible, online stores may need to reconsider their approach.
Companies that also have online and brick-and-mortar stores in addition to their e-commerce stores may be able to offer in-store same-day pickup. Businesses may also want to look into opening new distribution centers so that fulfillment can occur faster.
Now Is the Time to Update Shipping Practices
We’re at a point in time when people are still willing to wait a few days to receive their order, but those days are fading fast. As companies like Amazon continue to push the envelope, people are naturally going to become, well, spoiled. Running with the herd is not always cheap, but it may be the best long-term strategy for today’s expanding online businesses.
Author Bio: Carl Turner is a freelance writer and has had experience in the wholesale distribution field. Carl’s fascination with logistics has driven his career choices, and it even follows him home when he’s planning outings and celebrations with his family.