Amazon's One-Day Shipping: A Day Late and a Dollar Short?
The demands of consumerism have "upped" everyone's game, and it seems our battle cry for instant gratification has been heard. While retailers struggle to match Amazon.com's pricing and selection, Amazon tries to close the gap on the "availability" offered by brick-and-mortar retailers. One-day shipping certainly gets Amazon closer to the core promise made by retailers, but the company still doesn't provide the expediency (and smiles) that customers get from their local retailers.
In recent years, the consumer mantra "I want what I want, and I want it now!" has driven the playbook for both Amazon and brick-and-mortar stores. Retailers expanded their footprint to become everyone's neighbor, and Amazon's popular fast shipping grew even faster. Then, while Amazon was making promises about new technologies and drones, retailers rolled out the fastest of them all — curbside pickup. Amazon's response: one-day shipping. Sounds great, but does it work and at what cost?
Although Amazon is getting goods to customers’ doorsteps faster, it still fails to solve the consumer's problem of needing it now. Amazon also fails to satisfy the consumer's desire to immediately exercise their senses (especially when it comes to perishables and fashion) to see, hear, feel, smell and, most importantly, try on.
Moreover, it seems there will be some additional costs for this one-day delivery service. The product will have to be routed in advance to different distribution centers or overnighted by third-party carriers to make sure the goods are always within a day's distance from customers.
Who will pay for this? Will this cost be passed on to the consumer, thus diminishing some of Amazon's competitive advantage? Then, of course, if the product is coming from third-party resellers, there may be supply shortages. Promising to deliver in one day and then delivering in two will not be accepted by consumers.
Ultimately, curbside pickup still owns the advantage of the return/exchange process, and face-to-face customer service/assistance. Amazon, of course, is well aware of this and is working to mitigate these issues by forging partnerships with retailers such as Kohl's, which recently committed to accept Amazon returns.
In conclusion, Amazon continues to make strides serving its customers, but until the e-commerce leader has a physical store on every street corner, brick-and-mortar retailers will continue to thrive with their particular brand of customer service.
Adele Harrington is chief development officer at United National Consumer Suppliers (UNCS), a wholesale distribution company.
Related story: Overcoming the One-Day Delivery Blues