Physical retail stores regardless of location experienced a huge hit as a result of COVID-19. Their online counterparts, however, greatly benefited as a result of lockdown restrictions. The pandemic has turned online shopping into the most safe and convenient way for customers to have access to the products they need. This extends past just typical retailing stores within the industry. Even grocery stores and supermarkets adjusted accordingly and were able to offer ways to service their customers online as well. These changes have shifted customers’ preferences in regards to how they shop, largely toward the online option. Namely as a result of the capabilities that customers have online. Comparing an entire retailer’s stock of products based on price, customer reviews, unique features and more is much more effective than shopping in store.
One of the largest contributors to this change has been Amazon. Largely in part due to the fact that without Amazon, who knows where the online retailing space would be today. They completely revolutionized what online shopping entailed. Today, Amazon offers nearly 12 million different products on their platform. Which may seem like overkill, until you realize they are servicing nearly 200 million people per month. While this is great for Amazon, and arguably the industry, the smaller retailers hoping to keep up have a very hard time. While the products these retailers offer may trump Amazon’s in quality, it’s nearly impossible to meet the shipping expectations of regular Amazon customers.
This is largely the fault of Amazon, as nearly 88% of online shoppers indicated that their experiences with Amazon have made them expect faster shipping times out of other online retailers they shop with. The difficulty for these online retailers to keep up is immense. It’s particularly unreasonable to expect newer business entering the industry to be able to provide the same shipment and delivery options that Amazon does. However, attempting to keep up with Amazon is really their only choice. This doesn’t necessarily mean uprooting their current shipping procedures though. Improving the customer experience can be done without adjusting shipping costs and delivery times. One way to improve the customer experience is through a branded tracking page that will display real time shipping updates for a customer’s purchase. While the shipment may not come as quickly as Amazon’s, customers will still appreciate the fact they can rigorously track their package down to its delivery.
That’s not to say that ignoring shipping costs and speed is a sound strategy though. In fact, if smaller retailers find opportunities to reduce their shipping costs they should pursue them. Because if there’s one thing a customer hates more than waiting long for their packages, it’s the costs associated with delivery. Believe it or not, most customers would prefer to wait a few extra days for a package if it meant not having to pay any shipping cost. For smaller online retailers, this can be a chance to gain a leg up over other retailers in the industry. One of the most sound ways or reducing shipping costs is through an automated storage and retrieval system for warehousing and transportation efforts. These solutions help ensure the cheapest and most efficient shipping processes for any retailers’ customers.
For more information regarding strategies smaller online retailers can use to improve their customers’ experience, take some time to review the infographic accompanying this post.