E-Commerce Incumbents & Disruptors Uncover New Shipping Models

June 26, 2014 Ben Myers

Shipping Featured Parcels

 

How important is delivery to e-commerce?

 

Many types of companies, from the 150 year-old Canada Post to startup Hurrier know that the faster a customer receives the items that they buy online, the happier they are. As you might expect, North America’s major technology companies – the facilitators of so much advertising and online commerce – want a piece of the shipping pie too.

 

Quick shipping builds loyalty and dependency. Amazon prime ($79 per year) offers free, unlimited two-day shipping. Frank & Oak’s hunt club offers free shipping with a monthly membership fee ($49 per month charged as credit toward purchases).

 

Google, Amazon and eBay all run pilot programs where free or low-cost same-day shipping is offered to customers, but only in high-density cities like San Francisco and New York. Amazon runs a grocery service called Amazon Fresh to deliver groceries the same day you order them. On top of that Amazon (again!) continues to promises to one day deliver packages using flying robots – despite the FAA recently ruling that it was illegal.

 

FedEx Partnerships

 

English: A typical FedEx Ground truck. Photogr...

A typical FedEx Ground truck. Photographed in Mountain View (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those of us not located on the east or west coast of the United States hold out hope for a different kind of saviour. This spring, Fedex partnered with Home Hardware to put shipping kiosks in up to 1,100 of its franchisee-owned stores. FedEx has to pitch the idea to its dealer-operators and they will decide whether to participate, the benefit being an increase in walk-in traffic to their stores.

 

Canada Post’s Delivered Tonight

 

With 6,500 post offices (more than Tim Hortons and McDonalds in Canada combined, they like to say), Canada Post fittingly dominates the conversation when it comes to e-commerce shipping in Canada. During the 2013 holiday season, Canada Post piloted their Delivered Tonight same-day shipping service with select Canadian retailers including Walmart and Best Buy. The service was only available in Toronto, but could be rolled out in major metro areas.

 

The Startups

 

My courier depotToronto’s own Hurrier is a bicycle delivery startup that delivers whatever you need to your door. Their couriers will buy anything on your behalf and then deliver it to your door for a flat rate plus a surcharge on each item. Hurrier won’t go across the country to pick up your new wardrobe, but it can make movie night a lot simpler by delivering from your favourite restaurant. Toronto Life experimented with the service and said that bulk orders are more cost-effective than having just one or two meals delivered.

 

Missing a delivery is one of the largest frustrations of buying online. My Courier Depot promises convenient parcel pickup by working with numerous businesses, including convenience stores – many of which are open late – to allow greater delivery and pickup freedom. They hold the package for up to five days at one of their depots, and you drop by any time to pick it up.

 

Overlooked Aspect Of E-Commerce

 

Shipping is the last thing customers want to think about when placing an order online. Fast, low-cost or free shipping with convenient delivery options will continue to be a crucial and overlooked aspect of e-commerce. Luckily, every type of company is presenting their own type of solution to make sure that e-commerce orders get into customers’ hands

 

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