Millennials and Shipping: How Your SMB Can Keep Up with Higher Demands

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As proof grows around the high demand for e-commerce, where should small online businesses focus their efforts this year? With more than a trillion dollars in spending coming from millennial consumers alone, the logical choice is to turn their attention to this generation.

If you are an online retailer looking to attract more millennial customers, take the path of least resistance and work with what you already know. One of the areas where millennials have spoken loud and clear is shipping. They want it to be fast, convenient, and affordable (if not entirely free). So how do you plan on implementing more convenient, millennial-friendly shipping options into your business model?

It has been obvious for some time that consumer shipping expectations have grown. The millennial generation has raised that bar much higher, which means that SMBs need to be prepared to address those changing demands. Above all else, this is what millennials want from you:

Convenience: Same-Day Shipping

A survey conducted by Dropoff found that 40 percent of people prefer same-day delivery. For online retailers looking to take advantage of this, there’s good news. A recent study by Deloitte reported that millennials value same-day delivery more so than their non-millennial counterparts. So much so, in fact, that they are willing to pay an average of $5.50 in shipping fees for same-day delivery compared to an average of $3.80 for non-millennials.

According to Accenture, 70 percent of online retailers depend on more than one delivery service provider, and 73 percent of those retailers do it to get the best price. If you are nervous about additional costs for offering same-day delivery, consider revisiting your shipping mix to make sure you’re not paying too much.

Cost-Effectiveness: Free Shipping

Dropoff also found that 77 percent of respondents were more likely to return to an online retailer if they offered free shipping. While this is good news for those who already offer free shipping, what does that mean for the rest? Well, it means that there’s a lot more pressure to offer free shipping, as 33 percent of consumers become annoyed when they run into a related service provider who charges for shipping.

So what is the solution? You could offer free shipping based on spending thresholds, or you could go the way of Amazon and create membership-based rewards that include free shipping. If you cannot offer free shipping, consider offering free, unlimited returns instead (if those turn out to be cheaper to process). At the end of the day, it is about finding creative ways to offset the costs you will incur when trying to meet the millennial audience’s high expectations.

Transparency: Real-Time Insights

Most people associate millennials with their frugality and their gotta-have-it-now expectations. But what many people may be surprised by is their desire for transparency. Millennials grew up in a time where their every thought, action, and feeling was captured on blogs, social media, or live video. They expect the people they interact with—including companies—to be just as open.

Give millennials the peace of mind they crave, and:

  • Clearly outline shipping and returns policies on your website.
  • Send immediate shipping notifications on all orders.
  • Provide real-time delivery tracking.

While it may not be feasible to offer the full range of shipping solutions mentioned above, it is possible to pick and choose the ones that work best for your current business model and then add the rest as you scale.

As always, keep in mind that millennials want you to be real with them above all else. So if you cannot offer free shipping, but you can offer same-day delivery at a premium, let them know. It is all about building your brand’s reputation and connecting with your customers on a personal level. If they know you are listening and doing everything you can to serve their needs, they will respond in kind.

About Endicia

Endicia is a leading provider of internet-based postage services that make it easier and more affordable to ship parcels through the U.S. Postal Service®. We know that shipping can be complex and our goal is to simplify your shipping operations so you can focus on doing what you do best. Visit us at to learn more.

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Sunnyvale, CA 94085-4207



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