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No Same-Day Delivery? No Big Deal, Shoppers Say

March 29th, 2013 ::

By Rieva Lesonsky

Are you stressing because you know big retailers are increasingly offering same-day delivery, and your small ecommerce site can’t afford to do so? If you’re worried that same-day delivery is a game-changer that will make or break your business, you can breathe a sigh of relief. A new study by the Boston Consulting Group found that customers don’t actually care that much about same-day delivery, despite the emphasis that big ecommerce sites and retailers like Amazon.com and Wal-Mart may put on this service.

The BCG study found that consumers care much more about low prices and free shipping than they do about same-day delivery. Only 9 percent of consumers polled say same-day delivery would improve their online shopping experience. In contrast, 74 percent say free shipping would and 50 percent say lower prices would.

The study notes that lots of dotcom companies touted same-day delivery in the first dotcom boom in the 1990s-2000s, and that the service didn’t prove popular enough to keep those companies afloat.

There is one niche market that could be willing to spend on same-day delivery. Affluent, urban Millennials with incomes of $150,000 or more have shown greater than average interest in this service. If that’s your target market, you may want to consider this option.

However, even so, keep in mind this advice that BCG offers for making same-day delivery work without breaking the bank:

  • Charge additional fees for same-day delivery. The average respondent in the survey was willing to pay $6 for this service; affluent Millennials were willing to pay up to $10.
  • Limit same-day delivery offerings. It’s best to offer same-day shipping only for smaller, lightweight products, like electronics, office supplies or apparel, that can be quickly packed and don’t cost a lot to ship.
  • Focus on high-margin items. Products where you’re making a higher profit make more sense for same-day delivery.
  • Consider your location. If your customers are primarily in upscale, urban areas where delivery is common, such as New York City or Boston, it may make sense to test same-day delivery. If you’re in a rural or suburban area, however, it’s likely not going to be cost-effective.

Keep an eye on what happens with same-day delivery so you don’t get caught behind the eight-ball if the concept takes off—but also keep in mind that currently, BCG found that only 2 percent of online purchases are delivered the same day, meaning demand for this service is far from widespread.

Image by Flickr user Lachlan Hardy (Creative Commons)

The views expressed here are the author's alone and not those of Network Solutions or its partners.

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