Retail delivery standards – Tomorrow is too late

eBay keep telling us that customers want a choice of next day delivery and free delivery. Amazon give free delivery with SuperSaver and unlimited next day deliveries for a one off £49 per year fee with Amazon Prime. The question is are these really retail standards that consumers expect today?

ao-delivery-optionsAn interesting site is ao.com (Appliances Online). You may have seen a TV ad for them as they’re now offering same day delivery on domestic white goods. They actually have four delivery options, Free 2-3 day delivery, £9.99 order by midnight for next day delivery, £29.99 order before midday for same day delivery, and eco delivery where if they’re in your area they’ll offer to deliver early. Not only that, but they also deliver 7 days a week should you prefer a weekend delivery!

The reason they can offer this is that DRL, the company behind ao.com, acquired Manchester-based white goods distribution company Expert Logistics from Iceland in 2009. They’re also a pretty big operation handling fulfilment for Sainsbury’s, Boots, Next, House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Shop Direct Group, Screw Fix, Empire Direct, Argos and B&Q.

It makes a lot of sense to offer a same day delivery service for white goods. Just about every time I’ve wanted to purchase an appliance at bricks & mortar retailers it’s been out of stock and they’ve only got a more expensive model in stock to take away on the day. Buy from ao.com and you can have delivery within hours, with the bonus you’ve not got to have an estate car to get your purchase home.

It’s no wonder eBay and Google are experimenting with same day delivery, whilst today next day delivery is becoming the retail standard it won’t be long until our customers are used to same day delivery. One thing is for sure however, if you’re still only offering a 3 or 5 day service your customers will start to consider you tardy.

It’s not that consumers need everything delivered today, or even tomorrow. It’s just that they’re becoming accustomed to same day or next day delivery being the retail standard. Whilst many marketplace sellers will never have the resources to offer same day delivery themselves, we should at least be looking to offer next day delivery as an option to our customers.