60 Minute Delivery; Do We Need All eCommerce Products Instantly?

Imagine you are lusting after a new item of clothing, let’s say a comfy sweater.

You scan a variety of online stores. Perhaps you check out Macy’s and Nordstrom, and then visit the websites for another couple of well-known brands, like Anthropology and Uniqlo.

You don’t see anything you really like.

Then you come across an eCommerce store that not only has some great-looking sweaters, but also promises to get your purchase to you within the same day, or even better, the same hour.

Would you buy from them?

A San Francisco-based retailer, Everlane, is experimenting with 60 minute local delivery in conjunction with Postmates, in the hope that your answer to that question is “yes” (at least if you live in San Francisco).

Everlane Luxe Sweater

Is 60 Minute Delivery Really Necessary?

The advantage of same-day or even faster delivery for groceries—and even more so, takeaway foods—makes a lot of sense. After all, most of us eat several times every day.

But do we really need to have clothing items delivered within 60 minutes?

As we’ve written before, the “last mile” in eCommerce is the moment that matters for the customer. After all, that’s when they actually get to see, touch and own the product.

And while there can be some excitement and anticipation in waiting for things, many of us are becoming increasingly used to instant gratification.

One of the key points of resistance for people who still do their clothes shopping in-store, is the inability to try items on and receive them instantly. Anyone who has bought an item of clothing online and had to return or exchange it knows that the process is significantly slower. Depending on where you bought the product and the shipping options that are available, this can take weeks. But same-day, 60 minute delivery helps mitigate this disadvantage.

So while some may question Everlane’s experiment, wondering if 60 minute delivery is really necessary for items of clothing, I think it’s smart.

Customers will remember their experience of getting a beautiful sweater within one hour. Along with some of their other brand differentiators—such as full transparency about sourcing and markups—Everlane are working to create a unique experience for the customer. That special experience will engender customer loyalty, and help Everlane get (their equivalent of) “1,000 true fans” (if they don’t already have them).

But I Can’t Possibly Offer Same-Day Delivery!

Not all eCommerce stores are based in San Francisco (or China), with access to innovative logistics startups that they can partner with.

But Everlane’s example is worth keeping in mind.

Because Everlane are doing a number of things to be different. They:

  • offer simple, high quality basics.
  • tell customers where their products are coming from.
  • are totally open about the product markups.
  • experiment with 60 minute delivery.
  • offer excellent customer support (speaking from personal experience).

In other words, Everlane are thinking ahead and investing in special experiences that engender customer loyalty now.

What are you doing with your eCommerce store to offer a memorable experience to your customers? Even if it’s not possible for you to offer 60 minute delivery, I bet there are unique things you could do to excite your customers.

Those unique things might be in the form of a partnership with another startup, particularly if that partnership involves an eCommerce enabler (logistics, payments, online marketing etc).

You might decide to be being totally transparent with people about how much you are making (like Everlane is with each product, or like our friends over at WP Curve, who publish monthly business reports).

Everlane’s Transparent Pricing

Or you might simply focus all of your efforts on selling something special and unique that makes your customers feel good (like socially responsible toothbrushes from Smiles for the People).

Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that your customers will remember—and that is worth talking (or blogging) about.

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