The need for speed: how delivery times are getting shorter
Years ago, people made their purchases by visiting a brick and mortar store. As online shopping became more popular, people were willing to wait a few days for their parcel delivery in exchange for the convenience of buying online. They might even have been happy to pay more, if it meant that they didn’t have to walk to the shop.
It seems like almost everything has changed. Many consumers now rank ‘free delivery’ as one of their highest priorities when they’re looking to buy online. They’re also not willing to wait like they used to, and they expect to find that online prices are lower than those in store. Online shop owners, along with eBay and Amazon sellers, are finding that customers want more for less. Buyers expect to be able to pay less than they would in a brick and mortar shop, whilst having their purchases delivered to their door.
How long will people wait?
A customer’s opinion of a company’s delivery service starts decreasing after one day. You can offer next day delivery as an option for an additional charge, but if you only provide one choice then you’ll need to be prepared to be fast. Amazon and eBay sellers look particularly bad if consumers have ordered two products at about the same time and have found that one is delivered before the other.
Services like Amazon Prime, offering guaranteed next day delivery, make it even harder to compete. Consumers are used to being able to go online, order an item and have it in their hand the next day. Amazon Prime Now takes it one step further, offering one hour delivery and showing that companies are really putting their efforts into providing the fastest service possible.
How can you speed up your shipping process?
Leave everything as late as possible each day, so that more of your customers can make a purchase before you send out the day’s orders. If you’re based overseas then outsourcing your order fulfilment can also reduce your delivery times, as you can simply send your stock over to a UK warehouse where someone else can distribute your products. Using mail order fulfilment, you can effectively deliver items from the US to the UK within 24 hours, as far as your customers are concerned.
Be prepared to offer next day delivery wherever possible, and remember that customers don’t want to pay for the service. To keep things simple, consider absorbing your delivery costs in slightly higher product prices.