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    How Amazon’s Shipment Speeds Have Impacted Smaller Online Retailers

    Long before COVID-19 struck, the popularity of online shopping and online retail was on the rise. Largely in part due to the fact that these mediums have changed the way people shop for the better. Particularly now, while lockdown restrictions remain, safety is of utmost priority to most businesses. Providing a means for customers to shop online gives them all types of options not thought possible in a physical retail location. Online shopping gives consumers the opportunity to research and compare a range of products based on qualities that they value. Believe it or not, online retailing contributed to nearly $3.5 trillion dollars spent globally in 2019, long before any trace of COVID-19 had hit. 

    One of the largest contributors to the success of this industry is Amazon. Amazon has single-handedly transformed the way in which retailers look at the e-commerce space. With Amazon’s marketplace, customers are free to browse over twelve million different products from a wide range of suppliers. There’s no shortage of users for these products, though. Nearly 200 million users visit the platform every month looking for something to purchase. This sort of impact is felt by smaller online retailers at a huge scale. Largely in part due to the expectations that a giant like Amazon sets forth on the rest of the industry. One of the primary expectations that Amazon has given way to for customers is accelerated shipping options. 

    For smaller retailers lacking the logistical prowess of Amazon, this can be a major issue. In order to make up for being unable to ensure two-day shipping on each of their orders, smaller online retailers have had to adapt in every way they know how. One of the major changes these retailers have made is providing robust tracking information for online orders. Customers are able to visit a branded tracking page that will detail each step of the processing and delivery process for their orders. So despite having to wait a bit longer for their packages, customers remain informed. 

    If you’re one of those online retailers hoping to get a leg up on Amazon in any accomplishable manner, it’s probably best to start small. Assess the convenience of the online shopping experience of your customers. How easy is it for first-time customers to make a purchase? Will these customers have to create an account? Or will they be able to purchase your products as a guest? Are there any benefits to creating an account? Prioritizing convenience is key when trying to match up to Amazon. 

    Most importantly, however, you’re going to need to take a good hard look at the way your business ships your products to customers. The cost and speed of shipping are highly influential factors on a customer’s willingness to buy from any retailer. Despite preferring their products to arrive quickly, customers don’t actually want to spend any money on shipping. In fact, seven in ten customers would rather wait longer for their product if it meant not having to pay a shipping cost. This would indicate that shipping costs are almost more influential on a customer’s preference than shipping times. One way to decrease both the cost and shipping times of your products is through an automated storage and retrieval system meant to improve warehousing and transportation situations for businesses. For more information on these systems, be sure to review the resource accompanying this post. 

    Author bio: John Hinchey is VP of Sales for Westfalia Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of logistics solutions for plants, warehouses and distribution centers. He has more than 20 years of experience in manufacturing and warehouse automation.


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