As of 2021, we can easily say that the ecommerce retail space has come a very long way in recent years. Just a few years ago, delivery expectations were low – customers were expected to wait up to 10 days to have an item delivered. But slowly, expectations started changing. First, standard delivery options shortened to 3-4 days; then, expedited 2-day or next-day shipping raised the bar and are now the norm. Today, online shoppers want fast, cheap (or free) shipping options. This growing demand in customer delivery expectations has increased competition in the ecommerce space as retailers try to find expedited shipping at low cost.
Seriously, remember 10 years ago that if you ordered online you literally had to wait for weeks for the order to be processed and delivered. Nowadays we have things such as Amazon Prime, where you can have the item delivered to you within an hour – incredible.
Amazon is leading the pack with multiple free expedited shipping options for Amazon Prime customers. This has left other retailers with no choice but to look for faster and cost-effective ecommerce shipping solutions to navigate the fierce competition and stay ahead of the curve when it comes to managing customer expectations.
What are these expectations?
Well, first of all, consumer delivery expectations for ecommerce are changing quickly and becoming more demanding by the day. The main reason for this is the increasing competition in the ecommerce retail space. For ecommerce retailers, it’s very important to understand how managing customer expectations can help your business grow.
This is why companies like Amazon continue to push the envelope with competitive faster delivery timelines. As previously mentioned, Amazon offers free same-day delivery, next-day delivery, and 2-day delivery with their Prime membership. Now, customers have come to expect the same from other retailers, who have no choice but to implement similar systems if they want to stay competitive.
Another reason behind the change in consumer delivery expectations is because of the global pandemic known as COVID-19. As more and more people stay home, they tend to shop online a lot more often in order to get what they would normally get in store. In 2020, customers were willing to wait longer for shipment and they were also willing to pay more for express shipment. Again, this was due to the global pandemic. I know I’d rather wait 2-3 days for my order to arrive at my doorstep instead of going out and buying those things myself. During a pandemic.
You have to manage your customers’ expectations
There are several measures that retailers can put in place to manage consumer delivery expectations and give them control over the delivery process.
1) Try to offer multiple shipping options
The best way to manage your consumer delivery expectations is to offer multiple shipping options such as same-day, next-day, two-day, and standard shipping. Just like Amazon. This gives them more control over the delivery speed and price at which they want their packages delivered.
2) If possible, try to offer free shipping
You can manage your consumer delivery expectations by offering free shipping over a certain spend. Your buyers will not expect very speedy deliveries with free shipping; they will likely be willing to wait for an extra day or two to receive their package. Even though this is an expensive way, you can build part of the shipping cost into your selling prices to mitigate it.
What we mean by this is that you have to show the delivery dates, even if they’re just an estimate. For the sake of your customers’ convenience, you should display delivery times and prices at checkout so they can choose the most appropriate shipping option. This will help then know what to expect before they make the purchase.
4) Delivery incentives
Using time and price delivery incentives is another excellent way to manage consumer delivery expectations, especially during the holidays. An example of a time-sensitive incentive might be something like, “Order by the 18th of December in order to receive your package before Christmas.” A popular example of a price incentive is “Free shipping for purchases above 50 pounds.”
5) Have multiple warehouses and shipping locations
When you partner with wholesalers or warehouses in strategic locations, you can ensure that your orders don’t have to travel as far to reach customers around the world. This not only lowers your shipping costs but also guarantees faster delivery times.
6) Cut-off times have to be displayed
We think that displaying cut-off time for each shipping option is an amazing way to manage consumer delivery expectations. Let your buyers know the latest they can make orders to get faster delivery times for same-day, next-day, or overnight shipping.
7) Streamlining your shipping process
Last but not least, you have to keep in mind that a big part of managing consumer delivery expectations involves streamlining your shipping process to avoid delays and ensure faster delivery. Integrating data with your shipping partners, improving your order processing systems, and having active customer support are some of the things you can do to meet your buyers’ expectations.
Try to take at least a few of the steps described above, and we are sure that this will enhance your customer’s delivery expectations. You’ll be able to effectively manage their expectations and keep them happy!
Remember – the customer always come first.