Wake up, retailers: Amazon’s seven-day shipping means you need to regroup. Now

Gigaom

Not to be content with creating the showrooming movement, Amazon recently announced it will start making deliveries on Sundays (possibly by drones). While this service will initially be available in just a few cities, it’s just a matter of time before it becomes commonplace across the U.S. But why should this matter to retailers? And, more importantly, what can they do about it?

Amazon has always captured the consumer through experience, price and convenience; with this new offering, the company will now be delivering speed – and enhanced convenience. Amazon has its finger on the pulse of not only today’s shopper, but also tomorrow’s customer. Amazon is slowly chipping away at the frustrations of shopping.

AmazonDrone2

While fear is a natural reaction to Amazon’s business model (and indisputable success), it’s the wrong response from retailers. If retailers want to have a fighting chance, they need to regroup, educate themselves and take…

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eBay And Amazon On This Year’s Marketplace Holiday Shopping Trends

TechCrunch

Each year, e-commerce companies predict the new technology shopping trend for the holiday shopping season. In years past, it’s been the rise of the iPad/mobile shopper, or the expansion of major spending online beyond just Black Friday or Cyber Monday. This year is not different, with eBay and Amazon weighing in on the big trends for the 2013 holiday season.

One thing worth noting is that this year’s holiday season is shorter than years past. This year there are only 27 days for retailers, compared to 33 days of the season last year. While a few days doesn’t seem like much of a difference, these days can mean millions (or even billions) in sales for retailers. Adobe says that online sales are still expected to grow by 12%, but the shorter sea­son will represent a whop­ping $1.5 billion in poten­tial online sales from retail­ers.

As Adobe predicts, the shorter…

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Online retailers who don’t get what online is about

I have recently started renting an apartment down in Melbourne (more about reasons for that later) and decided to try and order everything I needed to furnish the place online. I didn’t really have the time or the transport to do anything else anyway.

Well, what an interesting experience! As a customer, my experience ranged from awesome to really disappointing. One thing that really stood out for me is that there are online retailers that really get what online retail is about and plenty who still have no idea!

shopping-cart

First up the awesome online retailers, who really get it. I bought my bed and mattress from online only specialist OzMattress on a recommendation from a friend who handles their social media. The whole experience with them was fantastic. Starting with their website, which was simple, easy to use and easy to understand their products and the differences between each. They only make 3 types of mattress – so it was a piece of cake to make a decision. Delivery was a breeze, they contacted me with a day and time range (2 hours) then a call from the driver on the morning of delivery and a call when they arrived at my apartment, so I could let them in. They unpacked the bed, set it up carefully and took away the packaging. When the pillows I ordered didn’t arrive with the bed, I got hold of them on online chat and they fixed the problem straight away, couriering a new set to my work that day.

I bought a fridge from Appliances Online, also online only – who really get it. Same level of of great service, they contacted me about delivery, delivered when they said they would, unpacked and set up the fridge, plugged it in and took away all of the packaging.

At the other end of the scale, there are still plenty of online retailers who don’t get online retail. It is not just about setting up a website, getting some product and selling stuff cheaply online. Being online is about the total customer experience from placing the order to getting the product delivered.

I bought a sofa, barstools and TV stand from a nameless online retailer who thought it was just about selling stuff cheaply online. Firstly they were out of stock of the barstools, so that was refunded, well OK that I can accept. They had outsourced delivery to (various) transport companies, who didn’t really care about customer service. So when the sofa was first delivered, I wasn’t there to let them in as no-one had contacted me to arrange delivery. When I contacted them about the attempted delivery they demanded that I organise for two people to help unload the truck, as there was only the truck driver on the truck. It was also impossible to get the driver to phone me when he arrived, so that I could let them in. The other item I had ordered had disappeared.

On following up with the retailer, I discovered the missing piece was dispatched with another transport company, who (after another call) I found had also attempted delivery a week earlier and they had been given the wrong number by the retailer and hadn’t been able to contact me about their attempted delivery. Anyway after about 6 phone calls, 2 weeks and endless frustration I finally got everything that I ordered.

This online retailer thought that outsourcing delivery to various transport companies would no doubt be the most “efficient” and “cost effective” approach. However, they totally failed to understand that the customer experience with them is only complete when the goods have been received by the customer. The poor experience I had, even though it was well after I had placed the order, was still with the retailer in my mind – not the transport company.

Online retailers must understand that that they can’t outsource customer service to transport companies who are just in the business of moving stuff around, service is still their responsibility until the product is finally delivered.

Google Is Building A Same-Day Amazon Prime Competitor, “Google Shopping Express”

TechCrunch

google-checkoutGoogle is stealthily preparing to launch an Amazon Prime competitor called “Google Shopping Express.” According to one source the service will be $10 or $15 cheaper than Amazon Prime, so $69 or $64 a year and offer same-day delivery from brick-and-mortar stores like Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Safeway (though no specifics were mentioned by our sources).

When and if it launches, the product will be a competitor to Amazon Prime, eBay Now, Postmates’ “Get It Now” and even smaller startups like Instacart.

We’re hearing that the project is being run by Tom Fallows, an e-commerce product manager at Google, and is an effort to focus Google’s e-commerce initiatives. Google Wallet and Google Shopping need a focal point, and serving as a “store shelf” to big-name retailers could be that in. Google has been scrambling for a way to capitalize on its advantages in the space — the fact that…

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Amazon Is Not A Commerce Company

Amazon is not a commerce company at all. It’s a big data company that has developed a cloud infrastructure that is profitable and subsidizes its retail operations.

TechCrunch

Same-day shipping became the big retailer craze this holiday season. Why? As the New York Times points out, retailers are living in fear of Amazon.com and trying to match what the online retailer offers.

The fear factor — Wal-Mart once had a trance on retail. Now it’s Amazon.com. But it’s not just retail that has begun to show deeper anxiety about Amazon. It’s the enterprise giants, too, that pay far more attention to the moves Amazon makes. Commerce came first, and now Amazon is prepping to have the same impact on big data and the software markets.

It’s why 2013 will be the big year for the retail and computing giant. It’s all coming together with its growing cloud infrastructure, voluminous data streams and content. It’s what Ray Wang of Constellation Research calls “matrix commerce.”

Wang argues that Amazon is not a commerce company at all. It’s a big data company that…

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