I am a convert. As I have written before, I now buy most of my books (all that are available digitally) on Amazon’s Kindle App for my iPad. I get my protein bars though Amazon. I get my ink for my printer from Amazon. And a whole lot more. And my experience on Amazon has made me a more energetic, frequent on-line shopper from other outlets (stores). And, with my Amazon Prime purchase, I get practically everything in two days.
And it is about to get faster.
I have written before about our growing desire/demand for no hassles! (quoting Frank Luntz): We Really Don’t Like Hassles — So, our Agenda: Create “Hassle Free”. And after I presented Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath, a participant at our First Friday Book Synopsis said to me: “Here’s what that book said. You’ve got to make the change convenient – you’ve got to make everything convenient.”
Well, Amazon is about to really up the bar on the convenience competition for customers.
We first learned this from Netflix. Their business became more convenient (more convenient than the many, many minutes it took to drive to the local Blockbuster, and browse the shelves). Netflix took off when it became highly likely that you could get your DVD in the mail the day after you ordered it. Convenience! – the day after! (Blockbuster is now bankrupt, by the way). And now, of course, on Netflix you can watch your movie or TV show immediately, streamed onto your computer or your iPad or your iPhone or your Apple TV.
Well, today, Slate.com reminds us that Amazon has matched the Netflix convenience model on practically everything. They are on the verge of providing same-day delivery for most of the country. SAME-DAY DELIVERY FOR THE WIN! This truly is the win in the Super Bowl of the convenience league. As usual, it is the Slate writer Farhad Manjoo who makes this so understandable in his article I Want It Today: How Amazon’s ambitious new push for same-day delivery will destroy local retail.
Mr. Manjoo describes how Amazon has quietly been making many of its deliveries, promised to Amazon Prime customers in two days, in just one day. A convenience surprise! Now, it is about to raise the bar even higher. Partly prompted by the loss of their “no sales tax” advantage (we started paying Amazon our sales taxes in Texas this month), Amazon is getting ready to do provide “fulfillment” even faster.
From the article:
If Amazon can send me stuff overnight for free without a distribution center nearby, it’s not hard to guess what it can do once it has lots of warehouses within driving distance of my house. Instead of surprising me by getting something to me the next day, I suspect that, over the next few years, next-day service will become its default shipping method on most of its items. Meanwhile it will offer same-day service as a cheap upgrade. For $5 extra, you can have that laptop waiting for you when you get home from work. Wouldn’t you take that deal?
I bet you would. Physical retailers have long argued that once Amazon plays fairly on taxes, the company wouldn’t look like such a great deal to most consumers. If prices were equal, you’d always go with the “instant gratification” of shopping in the real world. The trouble with that argument is that shopping offline isn’t really “instant”—it takes time to get in the car, go to the store, find what you want, stand in line, and drive back home. Getting something shipped to your house offers gratification that’s even more instant: Order something in the morning and get it later in the day, without doing anything else. Why would you ever shop anywhere else?
So, here is the lesson for your business. Make it easy. Make it fast. Make it insanely convenient. This is the level of customer service that we will all come to expect.
Amazon will force us all to make it easier, make it faster, make it even more insanely convenient. And if we fall too far behind, well… we will be left behind.