After over a decade of widespread adoption, many areas of ecommerce have been commoditized to the point where finding opportunities to leverage against the competition is getting harder and harder to come by.
Strong competition along with an industry standard of innovation means most gaps in the market are quickly filled; delighting customers while leaving opportunity seekers scratching their heads.
Spreetail has been an ecommerce player since 2006. After many years of serving customers, listening to brands, and partnering with marketplaces, we have identified what we call ‘the most overlooked opportunity in ecommerce’.
Here is an example that clearly illustrates this opportunity.
Out of the top 100 phone cases selling on Amazon right now, 98 offer Prime 2-day shipping. Compare that to something big-and-bulky like couches. Out of the top 100 couches, only 34 couch sellers offered 2-day shipping.
34....out of 100....starting to see what we see? That ‘gap’ is the opportunity we’re talking about.
If you can ensure fast, reliable shipping on your big-and-bulky items and secure Prime status to the point where you can become one of these 34 sellers, you are automatically beating out most of your competition.
This revelation is no surprise to Bret Naugle, Sr. Director of Operations Excellence & Continuous Improvement, who had this to say about the effects of fast shipping:
“Fast delivery = customer satisfaction = customer loyalty and return purchases
Big and bulky is a tough space to achieve speed. But, where customers can find it, they are going to be quick to purchase and drive profitability back to the brand.
It's a relatively young space for the speed of delivery - if you can be the brand with a big/bulky product that's delivered the fastest you will for sure be beating the competition on conversions and customer satisfaction.”
In this article, we’re going to work our way through understanding the challenges of big-and-bulky shipping while explaining the importance of using these types of items to your advantage to create a clear runway of less competition and more conversions.
The Challenges of Big-and-Bulky Logistics
Storing and shipping a phone case is easy. They are small, light, and fit in a standard box. This is why 98% of top sellers are Prime eligible. If you sell big-and-bulky products, “easy” is not an adjective you often associate with fulfillment logistics. Instead, you hear words like “difficult” and “expensive”. In fact, cost is one of the main reasons why brands struggle to provide more optimal shipping, even if they happen to be utilizing FBA. Let’s go back to the comparison of phone cases and couches as an example.
Using Amazon’s Revenue Calculator, we picked a couch measuring 49.2"D x 79.1"W x 34.2"H that ended up having shipping fees that were 78% of the total cost of the product itself. Compare that to a phone case that was found to only cost $3 to ship or just 25% of the cost of the product.
It’s clear how big an impact cost can make on these bigger items and be prohibitive for some brands, but the variety of challenges that make shipping more difficult don’t stop there as 53% of ecommerce retailers already find the shipping process tough to deal with. No matter how difficult though, implementing a ‘same-day/next-day’ strategy (no matter the size) is a must as choosing NOT to do so can be detrimental to your bottom line and results in increased abandonment and decreased sales.
- 69% of shoppers are less likely to shop with a retailer in the future if an item they purchased is not delivered within two days of the date promised
- 62% of online customers in the US believe fast delivery is the most important aspect of a positive customer experience
- 62% of shoppers expect their orders to arrive in less than 3 business days when choosing free shipping
- 56% of abandoned carts were found to be blamed on concerns relating to deliveries
- 68% of consumers say fast shipping would lead them to place an online order
Big-and-Bulking Shipping Strategies
Its clear that offering fast and reliable shipping helps you stand out and can overall have a positive impact on your sales and customer experience, but how do you make it a reality in a system that seems to work against your needs? Success in this regard comes down to using the resources around you in a more beneficial way.
- Utilizing Fulfillment Centers: Working with fulfillment partners can help reduce shipping costs since you aren’t stuck operating your own warehouse. These partners may also have access to discounted shipping rates or can negotiate better shipping rates due to their volume of shipments. In this case, ensuring that you choose fulfillment centers with an abundance of locations means you get your product to the byer on time whether they live in San Fransisco or rural Montana.
- Improve Packaging: Use packaging that is best fit for the items you are shipping including meeting dimensional requirements. Beyond this, do your best to think outside of the box (figuratively and literally). Consider how to package products better for the person picking the product at their doorstep. At some point, the customer becomes the person handling it. Unlike warehouses and carriers, they don't have teams helping them lift and handle the package itself. Thinking from this perspective allows you to both optimize for better shipping and get on the customers' good side even more.
- Expanding Distribution Networks: Your top OB (outbound) carriers often restrict/limit commitment on delivery speeds up to a certain size/weight - which means you need to establish different carrier partnerships to improve speed to the customer. Work on finding the right carrier for the right product, including land, air, or sea. This point is the most crucial. As you establish these relationships, nurture a partnership where you can refine and expedite delivery excellence.
Finding a Fulfillment Partner
When it comes down to it, establishing a fulfillment process that shortens delivery time and allows you to offer advantages like Amazon Prime isn’t an area most ‘big-and-bulky' brands try to conquer. But, doing so means staying ahead of the competition and creating a clear and easy win toward more conversions and more sales. Even with the know-how it can take years to generate meaningful partnerships and logistic processes to accomplish this feat. Unless, of course, you happen to have one partner that manages to do it all.
That would be a fulfillment partner, like Spreetail.
As an ecommerce accelerator we gladly accept the challenge of taking on items other organizations thoroughly avoid. With a flexible workforce that has experience handling and processing big-and-bulky items, and international warehouses that make it easy to direct products where they’re needed, we’ve spent those many years connecting, networking, and creating an extensive list of reliable carrier partners.
With us you can slip into that gap of opportunity and strike gold, getting the one-up on the competition.