By 2019, the furniture and home furnishings market is predicted to reach $42 billion in online sales. Buyers are 34% more likely to buy large items online these days. With millennials – a particularly sought after demographic – leading the trend, the e-commerce market is charged with the serious challenge of meeting efficient large item shipping demands for these bulky items.
Nearly 50% of online buyers have looked to other retailers for the same item due to the high shipping costs. The lost revenue in these abandonments alone is enough to make any e-commerce director shudder.
More than a fifth of Americans have bought oversized items online in the past year – but almost as many had their order arrive damaged, or for 15% of shoppers, the item never arrived at all.
These logistical issues can’t be blamed totally on any one party – it’s simply more difficult to successfully manage aspects of a shipment that’s larger than traditional carriers can accommodate.
Additionally, retailers often have to ship large items on a one-time-transaction basis, lessening the opportunity to streamline processes, rates and relationships. Nonetheless, for buyers wanting to purchase their large items online, without compromising on shipping, challenges remain.
Obstacle or Blocker?
As much as buyers might prefer to get their large items from online retailers, the decision has more to do with logistics than most retailers would like it to.
So, where do customers draw the line as they make their purchases? What counts as a challenge – worth paying more or waiting longer for – and what counts as a blockage – something that makes it a “no-go?”
It’s got a lot to do with experience. If a customer has had a bad large item shipping experience in the past, they’ve been set up to expect failure. Of course, this is unfair to any retailer who wasn’t involved in the original botched delivery, but to the customer, it’s simply setting expectations and communicating clearly.
What Customers Want
Fast, free shipping, of course! As we know all too well, however, shipping is never really free, but absorbed by one of the parties.
When shipping large items, customers most want proactive updates, in-home service, choices in delivery services, and delivery time slots.
Using traditional parcel shipping companies, you’d get most of these options, however, most services like these would be very cost-inefficient and often won’t carry items as large as furniture.
The next obvious option for some retailers may be shipping these large items via less-than-truckload shipping. While LTL is the more cost-efficient, it lacks the level of service required for a truly satisfying delivery. LTL deliveries also often compromise a smooth final mile delivery, changing hands multiple times during a journey.
As much as retailers would love to mimic Amazon’s logistics performance, it’s simply not realistic for the vast majority. Instead, retailers can sell themselves on the level of service provided by a large item shipping solution that’s both cost-effective, fast, and trackable.
The uShip Solution
Using the uShip solution for e-commerce retailers selling larger than parcel goods, companies of all sizes can benefit from streamlined, in-home delivery from the nation’s largest network of feedback-rated carriers. Carriers can share their location every step of the way, keeping customers informed and satisfied, all while giving retailers a turnkey solution that turns browsers into buyers at exactly the right moment.