Pressure From Amazon May Be Forcing Retailers to Offer More Shipping Options, Says New Survey

Half of the nearly 3,000 consumers surveyed said they avoid retailers that do not offer free shipping, and 84% said they've specifically made a purchase because shipping was free.

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Amazon is putting pressure on retailers, and failure to provide competitive shipping options is costing online them business, according to a new survey of merchants and consumers conducted by e-commerce platform BigCommerce.

Half of the nearly 3,000 consumers surveyed said they avoid retailers that do not offer free shipping, and 84% said they’ve specifically made a purchase because shipping was free.

From the merchant’s side of the equation, shipping costs are a huge concern. Only 13% of stores offer free shipping on every purchase, and 68% say Amazon’s shipping practices put unfair pressure on independent retailers.

These are just a few of the interesting results of the survey, covering a wide range of ecommerce topics, including shipping, returns, sustainability, Amazon and more.

Matt Crawford, GM of Shipping at BigCommerce, says predictive analytics are key.

“Understanding the customer profile, such as where they are located and what products they are buying from what channels, then marrying it with external data, brings invaluable insights to a merchant,” he says. “ If a shipper can accurately predict what is going to be purchased and where it will be sent, they can materially reduce their costs to fulfill an order by holding less inventory, closer to the customer, shipping it faster and at a lower price point.”

For example, he says, imagine the benefit for a merchant fulfilling out of Los Angeles, who knows their holiday orders will mostly come from the Northeast.

“Instead of shipping everything via Ground at $15 per box (and taking 5 days), they can find space with a 3PL like ShipBob or others, in Pennsylvania, and offer next day arrival for 50% less.”

Just merchants are not required to offer a customer friendly returns policy, merchants will never feel compelled to leverage predictive analytics, allows Crawford.

“But, without predictive analytics and a singular view of customer data across all different channels, they’d be playing at a notable disadvantage,” he says “Shippers should be getting into the predictive game, if they haven’t already.”

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About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson

Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor specializing in international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He is based in San Francisco, where he provides a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. He may be reached at his downtown office: [email protected].

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