Earlier this year, we peered into our crystal ball and predicted that 2014 would be the year of instant gratification for ecommerce shipping. And it certainly looks like our hunch was correct – from grocery delivery to taxi delivery to same-day shipping, this past year was all about how to give customers what they want – as quickly as possible.
Let’s take a look to see whether the other trends we predicted for 2014 came true …
Same-day Shipping will Ramp Up
Earlier this year, we predicted that more companies would join the same-day shipping race in 2014 and would start offering these services in more cities.
And, just as we thought, the same-day race was full-throttle in 2014. Amazon and Google were neck-and-neck in their attempts to compete for a bigger slice of the same-day/local delivery pie in major metro markets. Amazon teased the possibility of delivering packages via shipping drones, Google expanded its express online shopping-and-shipping service to three more cities (Boston, Chicago and Washington, D.C.) and the USPS experimented with same-day and next-day grocery delivery.
Free Shipping Will Take a Backseat
There’s no doubt that consumers love free shipping. But no matter how you slice it, moving things from one place to another costs money. Last year, companies were willing to “take the hit,” covering shipping costs to ensure customers would complete their online purchases. However, in 2014, we predicted that we would see more companies following Amazon’s lead, opting for increased free shipping minimums or cost-effective strategies to entice customers.
And we were right. In addition to Amazon raising its price for Prime, retailers such as Best Buy and Gap began increasing the amount online shoppers are required to spend before qualifying for free shipping. According to StellaService Inc., a customer now has to spend $82 on average in order to qualify for free shipping, based on July data from 113 major retailers—up from $76 the same month a year earlier.
Mobile Will Grow Bigger
Last year, we anticipated seeing tablets and iPhones play a larger role in the ecommerce experience in 2014. We predicted that more companies would make mobile a priority in order to create a more positive buying experience for customers.
With studies like the 2014 Mobile Behavior Report stating that 85 percent of consumers consider the smartphone to be a central part of their lives, more and more businesses began taking mobile seriously in 2014. Big box retailers like Macy’s came out with mobile apps that enable customers to scan QR codes on merchandise when shopping in-store. Seamless browsing, saving and shopping across all platforms became a must for any business looking to grow its customer base this year.
Going Global will be Easier
We also predicted that shippers would find it easier to bring their online business to new markets in 2014, anticipating new international shipping options, improved shipping software and better package tracking.
Sure enough, international barriers were indeed lowered. For instance, earlier this year, Endicia integrated with Canada Post, which allows for easy returns from Canada to the U.S. Online retailers in the U.S. now have the ability to create Canada Post return shipping labels directly from their online accounts – which is good news for them and their Canadian customers!
All in all, it looks like we came pretty close to hitting the nail on the head with each of our 2014 predictions. And now that this year is coming to a close, it’s already time to start making some new ecommerce shipping predictions for 2015. Stay tuned for an upcoming post on what we’re expecting to see in the New Year!
For more insight, check out our ecommerce tips and trends page.