One of the most fascinating facets of the eCommerce world, a trait that perhaps was not expected at its inception, is the importance of delivery options. Obviously we all knew this to be an essential part of the industry, but in the last half a decade or so we have seen huge developments in the world of logistics, and this is in large part down to customer insistence upon control. Long gone are the days of having to stay in to sign for a package which you had ordered perhaps weeks ago—now, as an online shopper, you have the power to control nearly every aspect of your order, as well as the ability to track it online. Thanks to the huge advances in the industry, you can craft a near-perfect delivery request that ensures your parcels are delivered to the right place, at the right time, for the right price.
How are SME’s being affected by delivery options
However, not everyone is benefitting from these changes. SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) are finding that, especially in the early years of trading, these advances are putting them even further behind their huge corporate rivals. In order to make enough money to stay afloat, SMEs often have to choose the cheapest possible mode of product delivery, but customers expect better: they are used to the cheap (even free!), fast-paced deliveries which they can monitor from the comfort of their homes, so a weeklong wait for an untraceable and potentially costly delivery is going to deter them. This is a real shame—it is an underhanded way for big businesses to monopolise certain markets, forcing independent retailers out business by sheer dint of their size. The same problem is being realised in the rapidly developing sector if ‘Click&Collect’ orders: huge corporations can afford to use the cheaper “Collect in Store” options because they are likely to have stores in more areas. SMEs, however, may only have a few stores, and therefore have to choose the more expensive option of “Local Area Collections”, and as such are finding that ‘Click&Collect’ services are not viable options. People like control.
Cheaper courier options
So what needs to be done in order to address this imbalance? The simplest answer would be to create industry standards which don’t allow for huge companies to make obscenely cheap deals with couriers so as to edge out the competition. This won’t be easy, but as technology develops and the logistics sector advances, this might not be the case for long—soon we will have the capabilities to offer all services at a standardised rate so that all enterprises can enjoy the same level of freedom at the checkout. This will be a huge step in helping SMEs to compete in the world of eCommerce, allowing for a greater diversity of retailers, and thereby creating the drive to improve and develop the products on sale. The sooner we can reintroduce the idea of fair competition to business, the sooner we will find that our purchases are more satisfactory.