Will same-day shipping make us happier customers?

 
Oct. 30, 2012 | by William Cusick

Both Amazon and Walmart are vying to be your retailer of choice, and one aspect that we are all apparently about to start demanding is same-day delivery of our purchases. But is that really what we all want?

Amazon started testing their "Local Express Delivery" a few weeks ago in several larger markets like Philadelphia and Minneapolis. For just $10, a shopper can opt to have his or her purchase arrive at the doorstep the same day.

Walmart — which, ironically, announced recently it would stop selling the Amazon Kindle in its stores — is about to begin testing its new "To Go" program in San Francisco and San Jose.

Walmart conducted a survey recently indicating most shoppers would "consider" same-day delivery. Electronics and groceries topped the list of customer wants.

What can you buy on impulse? Everything!

I get it. When given the choice, we all would rather have something "now" than "at some point in the future." Forgive me while I mourn the disappearance of one of my favorite emotional states — anticipation. I don't think my children are very familiar with the feeling. It's when you want something, look forward to getting that thing, and then make some sort of effort to acquire it.

For the most part, if we want to eat some Thai food, we call someone and they bring it to our door. If we want to watch a first-run movie, we call it up using the "On-Demand" feature of our cable TV package. If we need groceries, we can order from PeaPod and schedule a delivery.

And now, if I want some bananas and grape jelly and a 60" flat-screen television, and I want it all before the Wheel of Fortune is on at dinner time, why, I can get that too.

I don't think Walmart or Amazon really has a choice in the matter. If one of these retail/e-tail beasts is doing it, the other must follow suit. And if neither is doing it, it's an opportunity for another competitor to wedge its way into the mix.

In the movie "Wall-E," there's a vision of our future, where humans have morphed into adult babies, with every possible need taken care of, without requiring any effort at all. I'm not saying we're heading that way. I'm not saying we aren't.

A few years ago, we went to southern Provence in France. We would walk down to the local market every day to buy some bread, fresh organic chicken, maybe some olive oil and wine. The walk was part of the experience. Of course, that's a romantic notion that doesn't really exist anymore, even for the residents in rural southern France. The future is now.

But it doesn't mean I have to like it.


Topics: Consumer Behavior , Customer Experience , Omnichannel / Multichannel , Online Retailing


William Cusick / Bill Cusick is founder of Customerspectives, a customer/prospect experience firm, and author of "All Customers Are Irrational" (AMACOM). He has helped Fortune 500 companies, as well as small and midsize companies, to improve profitability through better experience and communications.
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