Watch: E-Commerce Shoppers Are More Demanding Than Ever
Pandemic or no pandemic, e-commerce shoppers have upped their expectations of retailers and their logistics partners, with an emphasis on transparency, says Brian Bourke, chief growth officer with Seko Logistics.
When it comes to delivery of products sold online, the last five years have seen a shift in the definitions of “transparency” and “visibility,” Bourke says. For big and bulky items, having a tracking number used to suffice. Not anymore. Buyers today expect to be told where the truck it, when it’s going to arrive and whether there are any last-minute changes in the delivery schedule. “This was pie in the sky five years ago,” says Bourke, “whereas today it’s stakes. It’s such a fast shift that’s been accelerated during the pandemic.”
Retailers and carriers are far from meeting all customer demands for e-commerce delivery, and they tend to vary by region. Ultimately, though, “all consumers are heading in this direction,” Bourke says. “The technology’s out there, carriers are deploying it, brands are buying it and consumers are driving that expectation.”
One might assume that consumers would relax their demands after having experienced the pandemic, when goods were in short supply and might take weeks to reach them. While patience levels did go up during the height of the crisis, buyers today are more demanding than ever about receiving predictable and efficient delivery service. In many cases, even where large items such as furniture are involved, they can select their preferred delivery day right at checkout.
In an attempt to keep delivery costs down, brands are rethinking where they position inventory. They’re also imposing charges for premium service, although they’re far from covering its full cost.
Even as carriers ramp up to provide more reliable service, consumers are demanding that they also focus on sustainability, a concern that has risen to the fore with the fading of the pandemic.