Brand Sauce In The Shipping: Amazon's Zappos Reigns

by , Jan 2, 2014, 6:21 AM
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As retailers continue to pursue the omnichannel strategies that make the most sense for their brand, a new study from Kurt Salmon shows that some are well ahead of the pack, at least in terms of shipping. Amazon’s Zappos was the biggest winner, shipping its CyberMonday orders in one day. Barneys New York and Net-a-Porter came in second and third at three days, followed by Costco at 3.3 days, and Neiman Marcus at 4.4 days.

Three of the five are high-end brands -- a trend worth noting, says Michelle Bogan, a partner at Salmon. “The luxury brands were a little bit slower to move into omnichannel, but there has been a huge recognition of its importance lately. Stores like Barneys and Neiman Marcus have done a tremendous job keeping up with and satisfying customer needs,” she tells Marketing Daily.

The study analyzed shipping times for orders placed on Cyber Monday, when U.S. consumers spent a record-setting $1.74 billion online, from more than 50 retailers. What the winners have in common are speed (retailers in the top five delivered multi-unit orders in an average of 2.9 days, versus 6.2 days achieved by retailers in the analysis); price (more than 70% in the study offered free shipping on CyberMonday), and “exceptional customer experience.” That includes Neiman’s practice of wrapping orders in tissue paper, and Zappos’ handwritten “thank you” notes.

Bogan says the retailers closest to getting it right are those who have worked the hardest at creating a seamless experience, balancing in-store shopping with “online, mobile and tablet experiences. It was especially evident, given the compressed timeline of this holiday, that those portable devices became a very important tool.”

While the survey was conducted well before the negative publicity that surrounded multiple shipping snafus, including missed mailing dates from stores and missed shipping dates by FedEx and UPS, “everyone learned some important lessons. Consumers were disappointed, and retailers were extremely responsive in their efforts to make that right. These logistics and supply chain challenges are all part of learning how to be more nimble -- it’s a tough part of the business but an important one.”

1 comment on "Brand Sauce In The Shipping: Amazon's Zappos Reigns".

  1. Daniel Soschin from Speaker & Blogger
    commented on: January 2, 2014 at 9:16 a.m.
    Most retailers just don't get how shipping impacts the customer experience. It's perhaps one of the easiest needles to move towards improving the positive customer experience, brand perception, and brand recommendations. Amazon (and Zappos) get it; as well as Nordstroms. But many other retailers have much to learn. In my own "cybermonday soschin family tests", I found Amazon to be A+, Steve Madden to be a C; Gap to be a D and Macy's to be a D.

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