COVID-19 saw the fall of physical retail locations and stores, and the rise of online shopping and e-tail. Throughout these pandemic stricken times, online shopping has provided the most safe and convenient way for customers to purchase and receive the products they need. This often goes beyond retailing purchases, as many grocery stores and supermarkets developed ways to service their customers safely online as well. Many customers have grown to prefer shopping online over in-store and for good reason. Every individual offering listed on any online businesses’ website will be able to be compared, price checked, and even reviewed by customers who have previously purchased the product in question. It’s not hard to believe that the total spending associated with this industry in 2019 alone was nearly $3.5 trillion. 

Of the largest players in this industry, the most notable is certainly Amazon. The online shopping experience has evolved as a result of Amazon’s approach. Today, Amazon offers over 12 million different products through their marketplace platform. There’s no shortage of users to buy these products either. Nearly 200 million people visit Amazon’s website each month to browse through these products. Imagine the impact this has on smaller online retailers trying to keep up. Perhaps the hardest aspect for these retailers to keep up with are the expectations that online shoppers have as a result of Amazon, primarily focused around the shipping and delivery capabilities of Amazon. 

With nearly 88% of online shoppers claiming that Amazon has made them expect faster shipping times out of other e-tailers they shop with, it can be difficult for these smaller e-tailers to meet these expectations. Sometimes it’s unreasonable to expect newer businesses to be able to provide the same shipment and delivery options that Amazon can, for good reason. In instances where these smaller e-tailers are tying to keep up with Amazon regardless, there are some other ways to improve the customer experience outside of shipping costs and delivery times. For example, creating a branded tracking page on their website that displays real time tracking information for each of a customer’s purchases. Despite receiving this purchase later than if it were for Amazon, customers can still appreciate the effort from smaller e-tailers to keep them fully notified of the delivery process. 

One way that these smaller e-tailers can get a leg up on each other, however, is through careful consideration of shipping costs. While customers are adamant about receiving this orders at fast rates, they absolutely hate having a cost associated with these shipping times. In fact, these customers would prefer to wait a few extra days for their orders assuming there weren’t any shipping costs they’d have to pay. For smaller online retailers, this can be a focal point of improving their customer experience. One of the easiest ways of reducing shipment costs is through the employment of an automated storage and retrieval system for their products and warehousing and transportation solutions. These systems help create the least expensive and most efficient shipping process for their customers. 

For additional information on how smaller e-tailers can improve their online customer experience and shipment costs, be sure to review the infographic coupled with 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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