Competing Against Amazon’s Next-Day Shipping
As if there isn’t enough keeping retailers up at night this time of year, the thought of competing against Amazon’s (Walmart too) free next-day shipping is daunting - particularly since there are six fewer shopping days this year due to the late Thanksgiving Day date.
Back in April of this year, Amazon rolled out its plan to change its two-day Prime shipping service to a next-day service. Having spent billions on infrastructure and inventory to get the ball rolling, the move was a smart one and Walmart soon followed.
And as any smart e-retailer will tell you, online shoppers expect nothing less than seamless shipping from cart-to-door with their orders. According to retail strategists Convey.com, 98% of consumers hinge their brand loyalty on great delivery experiences.
While it was big news, and most certainly a major thorn in the side of the rest of the retail world back in the Spring, the reality of dealing with it might really be hitting home now. The notion of actually competing against Amazon and Walmart when it comes to next-day shipping for many smaller retailers is foolhardy. Long time retail consultant Martha Refik, claims retailers not named Amazon and Walmart need to focus on customer experience and should avoid chasing after the two giants.
“It is always about a great customer experience, whether online or in-store,” she began. “If you can’t be faster, you simply focus on being better, play to your strengths.”
Refik added that if the package arrives when the retailer says it will, or perhaps even a bit earlier than that, the customer looks at that favorably. Late deliveries, damaged packages and deliveries to wrong addresses are among the worst case scenarios, particularly this time of year. Keeping your delivery system operating smoothly and efficiently and simply getting the delivery right, can help overcome the next-day mountain you may not be equipped to climb.
Refik also spoke to excelling at the things the big boys don’t do so well - like highly personalized service and content marketing.
“A creatively set up content marketing plan not only drives customers to you, it builds a loyal following of repeat buyers and potential evangelists of your business,” she said. “Whether it’s via personalized emails, a blog that offers information they can’t get anywhere else or simply entertains them, your content gives your location a personality and engages your target audience in a way the Amazon’s of the world simply cannot.”
Refik added that everyone wants be smiling this time of year and time spent thinking about how to put a smile on your customers' faces is time well spent.