|Sun Feb 15 2015 14:15:52|
Do Online Shoppers Have Realistic Delivery Expectations?
By: Ina Steiner
Consumer expectations have changed a lot in the 20 years since Amazon first began mailing books and videos to online shoppers. Back in the 1990s, it was common to see infomercial and mail-order ads promising long delivery times. "Please Allow 4 to 6 Weeks," the ads would state, while at the same time charging high Shipping & Handling costs.
Shoppers' expectations have changed since then - in a play on B2C (business to consumer), the organizers of the PostalVision 20/20 conference (Ursa Major) coined the term "B2Me," stating:
There is still one missing link that consumers don't quite yet control. It's how they actually get possession of their goods. Shoppers don't yet get to choose which carrier they would prefer to deliver their package to their door - Or to another location of their choice - And/or maybe at an odd time of day. But new accommodations are coming. In fact, to meet the growing demands of digitally empowered consumers, new delivery and "hand-off" tools are "e-rupting" everywhere.
This year, the PostalVision 20/20 conference will devote time exploring ecommerce delivery issues, Ursa Major's John Callan told me. Two sessions feature a lineup of speakers from companies grappling with these issues.
"E-Commerce Logistics Drivers/ The Future of Delivery" features Amine Khechfe (Endicia), Gary Reblin (USPS) and others.
And "E-Commerce Delivery Innovation" features Callan; Walter Gritzner (Keba); Neel Murthy (Swapbox); Ole Nordhoff (DHL Germany); Ramesh Ratan (Bell and Howell).
They'll explore issues such as "getting the goods in the customer's hands" and "innovations in time of delivery, lockers, drones, packaging, 3D printing."
Amazon, eBay, and large retailers are promoting the idea of fast, free delivery to customers, and certainly there have been improvements in logistics and innovative solutions. (How long will it take drones be a realistic option for delivering online orders?)
But while "4-6 weeks" delivery may not be acceptable these days, do online shoppers really expect to receive online orders as fast as same-day with no shipping and handling costs? It will be interesting to see what comes out of the industry conference and if there will be any takeaways for smaller merchants.