Shipping & Logistic Considerations in Online Shopping
When purchasing online there are many ways to have your items sent to you, all with different costs as well as length of time for the item to reach you. While some of these methods are cheaper than others, some of them also contain elements of risk for damage or for the items to simply go missing.
Delivery options are very important in the online purchasing industry.
Consumers will generally buy from e-commerce merchants that offer better delivery options. Many consumers will actually abandon their online purchases when they are not able to get the goods delivered within a specific time period or if the cost tends to be too high. Most buyers will also check on the returns policy to be assured that they can return the goods if they are not suitable or not to specification or for any other reason with minimal stress. As e-commerce grows and people use price comparison shopping to look at better pricing on the same goods, most merchants will slowly price their goods in a market related way and prices may become quite similar. The big difference which will determine whether or not someone purchases from them may be found in the logistics side of the business. Merchants that offer shipment consolidation, better shipping times, good pricing and easy returns may end up with the lion’s share of online purchasing.
There are a number of merchants that are already pushing the envelope on this side of things, such as Amazon Prime’s one hour delivery in many countries globally. Other companies are offer same day delivery, Monday to Sunday. People are getting used to instant gratification and are more likely to buy something if they can get it straight away, than if they have to wait weeks for their parcels to arrive.
Once a online customer completes their purchase on a website, the clock starts ticking. Online shopping generally offers customers convenience such as price comparison, a larger range of items, and being able to purchase from home or on the go. If the convenience of this type of shopping comes to a halt in the delivery side of things, many online consumers may end up just going down to the mall to purchase the goods immediately. Online merchants need to ensure that they are partnered with good logistics companies that can offer shipping consolidation and good shipping times in order to offer well priced, faster and more reliable deliveries to their customers. Logistics service providers also need to make sure that they are making a profit, so while they may take the online merchants concerns in to account, there may need to be compromises in order for both parties to reach their goals. Costs of deliveries become higher for logistics providers when they are to out lying areas and often there are only once or twice weekly runs to these areas to make it worthwhile to the logistics companies, whereas the larger metropolitan areas may even have multiple deliveries on a daily basis. In cases such as this, logistics companies may look at offering alternative pick up and drop off points that can be used by the online consumers to get their goods on a more regular basis.
There are many options out there that can be looked in to, to improve delivery times and faster, more reliable options for the online consumer, which will probably see an even larger improvement in e-commerce and online purchasing over all. People may even receive parcels by drone? This is an option that has been looked at but to date, this has not been a workable solution due to range and possibilities of drones being hi-jacked and a myriad of other issues.
Try shopping on price comparison websites
You often have a choice of delivery types and the faster the goods are delivered on price comparison sites, if insurance is taken as well as other aspects may result in higher delivery costs. Sending goods through the mail as opposed to a courier or sending via sea-freight as opposed to airfreight can make a large difference to the cost of the delivery. When deciding on your delivery solution, you need to make sure that you are aware of the costs and the length of time your parcel will take to get to you. Look for options such as consolidation of orders, which might be offered by various merchants over a daily, weekly and even monthly basis in order to cut down on delivery costs. Sending a number of items as one shipment saves on packaging and courier costs for both the merchant and the consumer, so check with the merchant if they offer these services if they aren’t listed.
You can also look at using a service to consolidate your purchases via a consolidation vendor. This means that you can purchase goods from a number of vendors in the same country, have it sent to a central point such as Borderlinx and Myus. You use the consolidation company as your delivery address with the vendor and arrange with the consolidation company to ship once all your parcels have arrived. Your items can then be consolidated and sent as one parcel to your destination, saving you on shipping costs, duties, handling and so forth.
E-merchants that offer high delivery charges on their goods will find that unless their pricing on their goods are ridiculously cheap, they will start to lose business to companies that offer more reasonably priced delivery options. As consumers comparison shop more and more, they will also be able to look at the total pricing of the item including extra costs such as delivery, taxes and so forth and in this way decide whether or not to purchase from a specific merchant or even to purchase from a brick and mortar retailer instead. People are becoming smarter online and many price comparison sites are looking at offering services that compare more than just the prices of the items, so it may eventually become simple to price comparison shop taking all the extra charges in to account. Merchants will then need to make sure they offer the best value on the logistics side as well as on the goods.
Returns can cost a merchant a lot of money if they offer credits on the original shipment costs and even on the return costs of the goods, but the consumer may not be prepared to cover these costs if they feel that the error was not of their own making, or they feel they should be able to return goods with no penalties and no questions asked. Merchants that offer the services most consumers are looking for with regards returns on goods may end up gaining a larger e-commerce loyalty than those who count on the customer to carry the full logistics costs under all circumstances.
This is a balancing act for the online merchant, but something that needs to be addressed and dealt with as the online market grows. Partner with the correct logistics firms to help mitigate long term losses and reduce costs, while still ensuring reliable, safe delivery of products to the consumer.
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