The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

e-Commerce Shipping - Online Consumers Demand a New Standard

Online Consumers Demand a New e-Commerce Shipping Standard!
Let's face it, everyone shops online now. If you haven't shopped online for something in the past year, then stop reading this post and repeat the following lines:

* My name is {SayYour Name} and I'm a little afraid of technology
* Per Glenn Gabe's Request, I am going to try and overcome my fears and buy something online this week
* Heck, I'm going to buy something online today and then after I realize how fun and efficient it is, I'm going to thank Glenn from the bottom of my heart and recommend his internet marketing services to every marketing manager I know --sorry, I had to add this last line ;-)

Now I know I'm on the "You Better Believe It" end of the spectrum when it comes to buying online, but heck, my mother even shops online and she's 64!

Did You Say 4-7 Days?
I'll now get to the point of this post... I recently made a few purchases online and I was a little shocked to see that it would take up to a week to receive my items (as the default shipping option.) Could that be right? 4-7 days? Maybe I should have just run out and picked up the items from the store... Here's my point. I love shopping online. Not a surprise, right? That said, e-tailers need to understand that consumers today expect more from their online shopping experience. If I purchase something online, I want it delivered in less than 3 days and without having to pay extra for priority shipping. Am I wrong to think this way? I don't think so. I've worked on enough web marketing surveys, focus groups, and persona development projects to know what consumers expect from e-commerce shipping...and it's not 4-7 days!

Online Shopping is an Immediate Action
Let's break it down. Purchasing online is an immediate action. You log onto a site, select items to purchase, enter your credit card information, and then place your order. This can all be done in less than 5-10 minutes if you know what you need. I've actually purchased books from the Barnes and Noble website in less than 2 minutes...which is my all time record and I have this record time hanging on my office wall. OK, I'm kidding about hanging it on my wall, but I did purchase books in less than 2 minutes this year from And yes, this keeps me coming back to their site. They get it. Functionality, speed, reliability, and getting their products into the hands of consumers as quickly as possible is the way you keep quality customers buying from you (and also get them writing about it on their blogs!)

A New Standard for e-Commerce Shipping
Now I'm not crazy to think that overnight shipping will be a standard (we can all dream, right?) but I truly believe that companies selling on the web need to understand that online buyers want their products as soon as possible. That way, they won't feel the need to just run out to the mall and pick up the items with their own bare hands. I know, they'll have to speak to the teenager in the store who seems like he had a few too many the night before and can't seem to focus, but ultimately, they will find what they need and take it home with them.

Calling All Web Marketing People...
So, if you are reading this post and you are in control of your company's e-commerce site, please remember that your e-commerce shipping standard should match your online buyer expectations. i.e. Don't list 4-7 days as the default in your shipping column or you might find that customers who are ready to click "Submit" will instead be clicking "Close Window" and doing something crazy like getting in their cars and driving to a store. God help us all!


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  • At 1:29 PM, Blogger HighFatContent said…

    You are so right to write about this shipping issue. BN is excellent on all accounts --- but Amazon is too greedy to be gracious about their “free shipping” policy in the U.S. and UK. I no longer shop with them because I dislike their shipping policies. This applies to plenty of other companies too. Shipping is a big, big problem.

    Here in Merry Old England, most retailers don’t bother to tell you when you might expect your product at all. They get away with saying, “We’ll email you when we ship your order.” In most cases, it comes within the long side of a week, but in the case of The Pier (like Pier One, only not as good) it usually takes three weeks --- or more --- for a few placemats and candles.

    The one exception is supermarkets. We are heads and shoulders above the states when it comes to buying food and wine online. I can get everything I need for a lavish dinner party, delivered to the door, in less than 24 hours from Ocado online grocery service. They must be reading your blog, Glenn.

  • At 9:58 AM, Blogger Glenn Gabe said…

    Thanks for the comment Marsha! That's interesting about England and retailers not clearly communicating shipping dates. Maybe I shouldn't complain! Or, maybe they should visit my blog and read about how we are complaining and it's 50 times better than what they are doing!

    Regarding supermarkets, I'm envious. If there was a solid solution here in Princeton, I'd be all over it. Hey, sounds like a great business opportunity... I must check out the company you mention in your comment.

    Thanks again.


  • At 2:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I've gotten to the point where I don't care WHEN the ordered product gets here, I just want it to be shipped at all! The problem?
    I live in a small town without home delivery of US Mail. My address is a PO Box. Since my credit card bills me at that address, many, many companies will only ship to a street address, and their websites are set up to reject addresses that do not match. If I want it shipped UPS or FEDEX, (twice the price, thank you) it is still kicked out because of the address issue. I am at a loss as to how to get these companies to change their policies.

  • At 2:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hey guy's....!! Great saving by shopping at Barnes and Noble Coupon Codes......!!


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