Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 15 2015 14:15:52

Do Online Shoppers Have Realistic Delivery Expectations?

By: Ina Steiner

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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.




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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 15 14:57:58 2015

As long as they can receive their order the day before you ship they are happy.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Feb 15 15:48:59 2015

As long as ebay browbeats sellers into "free" shipping, I andI alone will determine which carrier to use.

If these entitled consumers want an alternative, then they will pay for the shipping.

Ebay is responsible for most of these industry wide unrealistic delivery time expectations because ebay WANTS buyers to have unrealistic expectations in order to elminate discounts.

When you peel away all the stinky, rotting layers of ebay's onion, IT'S ALWAYS ABOUT THEM STEALING AS MUCH MONEY AS POSSIBLE FROM SELLERS BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY.

ALWAYS.

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by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 15 18:32:23 2015

People today don't have the patience to wait for things. They think because they want it now they should have it and we should go to all extremes to make them happy. Of course, ebay thinks the same way.

I ship out the same day and I get perturbed that it is not delivered that day. I can deliver the same day via ''transporter'' but my buyers don't have one to receive the items.
PS, I am selling transporters with a 45 day shipping time. ;-) :-D

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 15 20:08:44 2015

Just had  one dirtbag open an INR complaint for a BOAT part while New England is buried in seven feet of snow.  What does that tell you about how "realistic" buyer expectations are?

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 15 20:21:15 2015

This is why I really like one new format, I have come to greatly appreciate. Ebay trys to get me to sell with their messages. I had 3 accounts with them 10 years ago. I closed 2. 1 open for the reality check.

I like , I can make my own decisions , no limits , building a new client base , as well as, took some of my customers with me. Im linking in everywhere I can think of , & its worth it , every day that passes.

I have no concerns what deadbay , Or amagoon do. I know what im doing , & it does not include them. I no longer need them. They are good for a laugh, now & again.
And the occasional snipe.LOL

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 16 01:53:49 2015

@VOLVO351---

Well the  Lower HUDSON has one channel open to shipping---and we saw a truck load OF boats in shrink wrap forced to pull over into the side of the New York State Thruway today in extreme high winds---

But mostly around the North East unless it is an ICE BOAT part or they have a boat shed (heated and insulated!)---not much is being done repair or build wise.

But yeah---I too have been the "victim"  of items that I ship bang on time and that the buyer feels should not only be free shipping--HA!   Not in MY lifetime---or that should have gotten there before they decided to do a Search FOR the item.

And I have sat around and waited---and waited---for some things to arrive that seemingly should have taken a much shorter period of time.  

And sometimes things surprise even me---I have had things from Europe arrive faster than some things from the US;  but now I am waiting for some lightweight items from Turkey that are taking forever.  And of course--you cannot "track"  them!

Another reason that I just sent some one my home email contact on an overseas shipping cost question.  Would YOU pay more than the COST of the item---around $35---to pay SHIPPING for a 6 OUNCE item--the way ebay DEMANDS we sent it with "Tracking" that does NOT track ---or just pay me via PP and pay perhaps $10 to ship?

Yep I thought so!  

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 16 03:06:20 2015

If you have never sold anything by mail order is your life, you have no ideal of the logistics of shipping or the time it takes to move packages across country or out of country. Unfortunately, many big corporations love ignorance, because it is easy to  control those who don't know better and stick the blame on them if things go wrong.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Feb 16 07:07:20 2015

Is there anything more dreaded than the "when will my item arrive" email received seconds after a buyer places his order?  Then you know that you are really under the gun.

No, buyers don't have realistic expectations. Both eBay, Amazon and USPS are all responsible for this.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Feb 16 07:49:53 2015

It would be interesting to see the age demographics of those who have these instant expectations.  Or is it big business telling us we ''need it now''.  

I mentioned this on the letters thread - Anyone else still seeing USPS out and about on Sundays?  I thought that was only for the holidays but maybe the ''gotta have it now'' theme is more permanent.


Many of us here send personal ''expectations'' emails and fliers that give buyers a bit of reality on shipping expectations.  When USPS holidays like this week occur, I have an additional reminder blurb in my email for those who are completely unaware.

 

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This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Mon Feb 16 08:18:17 2015

Do ANY Online Shoppers Have Realistic Delivery Expectations?

As long as you can deliver by Text or email within 1 minute, plus 2 free tickets to Hawaii, they are able to use the brain and wait 2 minutes.

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 16 09:50:40 2015

When you give the buyer a unrealistic date, then of course they will be upset when it does not arrive by that date.
Then there are those and always will be the ones who want instant delivery and instant perfect gratification.
If ebay and Amazon etc was smart, they would add on an extra day or two and then the buyers (not all but..)would be very happy to get the item(s) one day early.
Go to any USPS clerk and they will tell you 2-3 days for priority or 2-5 days for 1st class but NO guarantees.
It is just a ploy to steal potential customers from other sites. Greed and corruption seems to be what is taught in schools these days.  

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by: Cjaz This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 16 10:17:17 2015

I had my best one yesterday.  Received an email from Ebay stating that they had received an inquiry from a buyer that was concerned that they had not received their item yet, they wanted me to contact the buyer and try to work out the problem.  When I looked up the transaction I saw that it had been purchased on Friday.  They purchased on Friday and were complaining because they hadn't received it by Sunday.  

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Feb 16 10:46:20 2015

I would say many but not all have unrealistic expectations, and some must have money to burn, as noted by the the Priority orders that I got right before this long weekend! My stuff is usually going FCM so about as fast as Priority most of the time anyhow. I can almost understand if it is a rare item that has just been posted, but some of my items have been up for sale for several years and suddenly it is an emergency to get them that fraction faster? But that is just some, but I do hate those emails what want to know when their stuff will come especially since I send a shipping notification via email that outlines the usps website and the what their tracking number is so that they can follow this themselves. But they would rather I check.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Feb 16 13:39:39 2015

Buyers do get to choose the shipping service on many venues. The problem is that they have to pay for it. A lot of site will have free "economy" shipping and various faster upgrades on offer... for additional fees. If the customer pays for it, I have no problem using the shipper they want (provided it's available where I am). However, they don't get to choose if I'm the one footing the bill.

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by: Ecommerce This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Feb 16 21:54:55 2015

There is final a solution to all this: Doorman. http://www.doorman.co/

You can pick your delivery time and get your packages on your schedule. No more wondering when your package will get there.  

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by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 17 03:16:58 2015

On other sites, yes. On eBay, no. But then, retailer sites give realistic delivery dates to buyers. eBay flat out lies to buyers.

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by: sundance This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 22 04:26:56 2015

IMO, sellers have the responsibility to make sure all of their shipping timelines are listed in their ads.  And buyers need to be pro active in finding out shipping timelines before placing an item in the shopping cart.

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by: AC_in_Mich This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 22 16:33:03 2015

@gizmo  - tried to figure out your post - one new format?

LOL @ ecommerce - yeah, doorman sounds good for those of use in rural areas - NOT!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Mon Feb 23 01:05:46 2015

This one takes the cake: Item shipped and was delivered to Buyer's post office box within 72 hours of purchase. TEN DAYS LATER Buyer opens an Item Not Received even though I sent her 2 emails with the USPS tracking number showing that she needed to go to her own PO Box and claim her package. Next day, she did, and now I have a "defect" on my record for USPS not delivering on time, even though the package was in the customer's own USPS retail branch waiting for her. Of course she blamed it on the post office - and she has Feedback of over 2,000. Sheesh!  

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 24 12:27:39 2015

Why in the world would anyone order something mail order if they needed it especially fast?   If you are in a rush go out and buy that item locally!  

If you order something that has to be shipped it makes no sense to be time critical!

That buyers are being coddled by desperate online sellers is the problem here, buyer expectations are that there will be no delay ordering online, but that is just not *always* reasonable. Even with a finely oiled mechanism like Amazon Prime, things happen.  Weather, late trailers, post office errors, you name it.  

If I have a customer tell me they absolutely have to have something at a particular time I tell them that would be FedEx Express.  $65.00 or more.  I charge $25 to expedite my end, order a FedEx pickup and stay around to make sure the item is picked up.  The carrier is expensive. But that's what you get if you are time critical. You should be willing to pay.  

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