To clarify that headline, it is mostly Amazon Prime that has ruined me for life. I love buying online: it saves time, gas, and money. And I love it when online orders are delivered quickly. That’s what Amazon Prime offers – every order arrives in 2 days (sometimes in even less time!).
How did this ruin me? I want online purchases from other companies to be just as fast. Do other companies offer their own version of Prime? No, it doesn’t look like it. Can’t customers (like me) just wait for packages or pay more for premium shipping? They can, but they don’t want to.
I bring up this point because your direct and indirect competitors might be “teaching” your customers to have new or different expectations. Are you keeping tabs? Could you offer your own version of Amazon Prime (or an idea that is different from the rest of your industry but something customers might/do love)? Perhaps.
Here’s the impact of the expectations set by other companies – even those outside your marketplace or industry. When an Amazon Prime customer orders from other company websites, his experience might look something like this.
1) The customer’s patience about when the order will be shipped and delivered is lower. That was my experience when I ordered a laptop from Costco.com. The laptop was made in China and then shipped from there. It took 20 days from order date until it arrived. That is already a long time and I’m sorry to say that Costco didn’t send any updates at all between my initial order and delivery. (I’m a huge advocate of Costco and they let me down.) Painful! I checked in online every few days to see my order status. That is an experience that says, “Don’t order from us again.” If it wasn’t for their return policy, which gives the customer a grace period three times longer than any other retailer on laptops, I wouldn’t order there again.
Another of my favorite companies has what I perceive as slow delivery – LLBean.com. Even though I know their products are traveling 3,000 miles to reach me, regular delivery arrives about a week later. Even that feels like an eternity when 1-2 day delivery is the norm for Amazon Prime. But I’m a New Englander and LL Bean is in my blood. So I put up with the delay.
2) The customer consciously or subconsciously begins to compare the delivery time of all online purchases to amazon. Amazon’s website has remarkable ease of use / usability, which is something that customers now expect from every site they visit. So if you’re website isn’t easy to you and your shipping is slower than a few days – customers begin to have a negative experience with your company right from the start.
Thanks to Amazon Prime, there are very few other e-commerce companies that I would keep buying from given the shipping delays. Yes, perhaps that seems unreasonable, but customers aren’t always reasonable – you know that!
I hope this blog inspires you to think about something new you can create to help customers fall in love with you. It’s what Jeanne Bliss would call a “Customer Magnet” – what pulls customers to you? (Read her blog on that topic.)
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