The fastest growing trend in online commerce is consumer patience, according to a recent report by The Wall Street Journal. Many online shoppers are starting to shy away from the push to get their orders to them as quickly as possible. Julia Belkin, a content marketer in Massachusetts, explains that waiting for a package can be exciting, especially when the arrival time is unknown.
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted households to order goods online, sparking a boom in the e-commerce industry. The competition to deliver products as quickly as possible led to new technological advancements such as drone delivery. However, consumers are now becoming more reluctant to pay for speedy delivery of basic household items. Instead, they are showing more willingness to wait for their items to arrive.
Amazon helped set the standard for online delivery speeds when it introduced its Prime membership in 2005, which promised free delivery within two days. Since then, Amazon has continued to speed up shipping by offering same-day delivery on some items. Other retailers are working to catch up with Amazon by investing in next-day delivery options. For example, Target is investing $100 million in next-day delivery options, while Sam’s Club is adding more fulfillment centers to its network.
Delivery providers, FedEx and UPS, have also introduced accelerated shipping options, including Sunday deliveries and same-day options. Despite this, a recent survey conducted by Popout Inc. showed that fewer e-commerce shoppers preferred same- or next-day delivery than a year ago. Shippo, an e-commerce shipping services provider, co-founder, and CEO Laura Behrens Wu, explained that consumers are becoming more anxious about product shortages and supply chain disruptions during the pandemic, making them less likely to expect speedy delivery.
Shipping companies are facing increasing costs due to delivering packages to homes rather than businesses, and in response, they are raising their prices. Some small businesses are becoming more transparent with customers about the costs of speedy delivery and are more willing to pass these costs on to consumers.
As the broader boom in online shopping has pulled back, growth trends are now tracking closer to pre-pandemic levels. According to the US Census Bureau, e-commerce sales surged from 11.9% of all US retail sales in Q1 2020 to 16.4% in Q2 of that year. By Q4 of 2022, the share was back down to 14.7%.
Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix Inc., believes that retailers need to realize that customers do not need speed but instead need certainty about when a package will arrive. Jindel’s survey shows that people don’t open and use 85% of what they order online for several days. He explained that many people choose membership services that offer fast shipping simply to know when a package will arrive, rather than caring about how quickly it comes.
In conclusion, the e-commerce industry is no longer solely focused on speedy delivery. Consumers are becoming more patient, and retailers are beginning to understand that customers value certainty over speed. As shipping prices rise, businesses are becoming more transparent about the costs of speedy delivery and are more willing to pass these costs on to consumers.