Same-day Delivery vs. Next-day Delivery
In an era of instant gratification, waiting on products we order online has become a thing of the past. Most of us want what we want, when we want it – or sooner. Whether shopping at our favorite retail store or shopping online, we want our transactions to be quick and easy. One of Amazon’s many accomplishments was successfully embedding in every consumer’s mind that a wide variety of goods should be available online at all times; now consumers are being conditioned to want items as soon as possible, giving rise to the idea of same-day delivery.
Same-day delivery could be considered a saving grace for critical last minute purchases, but the question we should be asking is whether there is a genuine need for same-day delivery, or can most purchases wait another day? Consumers want more choices when it comes to shopping online and more control over when their purchases will be delivered, along with a convenient returns process. But does this mean they need items the same day?
Industry analysts are calling the service “the most expensive type of delivery that shoppers are not willing to pay for.” A 2013 survey of online shoppers conducted by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found that only 9% of the 1,500 U.S. consumers surveyed “cited same-day delivery as a top factor that would improve their online shopping experience, while 74% cited free delivery and 50% cited lower prices.”
Taking a step back, the difference between 8 hours and 24 hours can be the difference between accurate orders and rushed orders. The more that orders are rushed to meet a deadline, the greater the chance for a customer’s experience to be less than ideal.
Regardless, delivery time reduction will put pressure on the supply chains of every company, requiring changes in outbound shipping processes to leverage the existing store replenishment network. Retailers must pick the stores closest to the consumer to meet delivery expectations, which is difficult because the online fulfillment and distribution centers are often in different locations. Work processes must be created to help associates separate merchandise for customer (or delivery service) pickup from items sold in-store.
Moreover, there is no process for anticipating orders from customers. Companies would need to store the most purchased goods closer to population centers in order to cut down on fulfillment and delivery time. It’s one thing to send out orders in four to five days, but fulfilling it the same day could be overwhelming and lead to corners being cut and rushes being made to meet deadlines as well as increases in costs and a higher percentage of errors.
In today’s e-commerce world, where every company sells a variety of goods online – and there are a million competitors and duplicate methods to obtain the goods you want – an inaccurate order or unpleasant customer experience can be all it takes to drive a customer away from your brand. Accuracy, cost and maintaining the brand experience your company is known for is simply more important than delivering goods within a few hours.
Consumers want more options and have higher expectations and it’s up to retailers to meet those demand. Are you willing, however, to gamble with accuracy to deliver that new picnic table today – or could your customer wait a day and have peace of mind knowing your transaction was seamlessly accurate?
Retailers are discovering they need to make significant changes to their supply chain strategies to align merchandise and make inventory visible and available across all channels. It’s imperative that your company get the right products to the right places at the right times. That said, an excellent shopping experience that is efficient, accurate and low cost will trump immediate delivery almost every time.
Stop thinking about how you can architect your supply chain to get goods to consumers immediately – and start thinking about how you can guarantee their brand loyalty by improving the overall shopping and delivery experience.
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