It wasn’t too long ago that shopping online seemed somehow untrustworthy … like the most likely outcome of an online purchase was a compromised credit card number and eventual delivery of a laughably sub-par product. Then along came Amazon. It went from used book reseller to retail giant with a monopoly over most everything we buy (from food to plants to music and movies, clothing and medicine and art and … yeah, still books) as consumers. This year, eMarketer predicts that almost half of U.S. online sales will go to Amazon (for a total of $282.52 billion, says Chain Store Age).
Somewhere along the way, we not only lost our distrust of buying online, we completely shifted our mindset toward shopping and shipping. As a society, the “Amazon Effect” has changed the way we think about how we buy. And as a 3PL, we need to be aware of just how much it has affected the way people think about freight.
Here are four ways the Amazon Effect has changed people’s perceptions in ways they might not even be aware of:
- People have higher expectations around visibility and ease of booking. It used to be expected that you’d need to make a phone call … wait for a phone call back … coordinate calendars and cost centers … and then shake hands (figuratively). The Amazon Effect has made it so it’s easy to understand options and book services completely independently, all without ever talking to a real person. Now, we think that’s what we all want (is it really though? That’s a question for another day.)
- People want to buy in their jobs the way they can in their personal lives. The lines between B2C and B2B purchasing are getting blurrier and blurrier. The advent of two-day and next-day shipping means we’ve become increasingly impatient when the lead time on a product is longer. Due to the size of the product being moved, manufacturing schedules and more, though, it’s just not always possible to deliver B2B goods at the same speed as B2C goods. There’s room for more agility, of course (that’s one of our strong suits at Agforce), but the scale is different.
- People want complete transparency in their shipment tracking and tracing. Amazon made it possible to see when your items were scanned onto a truck, which state they’re in, and when they’re dropped on your doorstep (sometimes with photo evidence) all on mobile, all in real-time. This is one area where B2B transportation absolutely can match B2C, and should. It’s reassuring for customers to know where their freight is within the supply chain, and this type of transparency (backed by technology, but not dependent on it) helps keep logistics providers accountable.
- People want an all-in-one shop. Once it became possible to buy your snacks, your movies, your pajamas and your pillows all in one express checkout, people started looking for that same experience everywhere else. It isn’t always possible in industries like agriculture; food and beverage; beer, wine and spirits or plastics and packaging, but it is possible to better integrate your shipments. When you partner with Agforce, for example, we’ll take care of consolidation, intermodal transport, delivery and more … and you’ll have just one point of contact for all of it.
As you do your holiday shopping this year, and as you work with your logistics provider to move your next load of freight, take a minute to consider just how much the Amazon Effect has increased your expectations. At Agforce, we think about it every day … and we’re honestly kind of grateful for it. When your expectations are higher, we learn to work with more agility, more transparency, and more customer service.
Happy holiday shopping (and shipping!) from your friends at Agforce Transport Services. Looking for a 3PL that delivers the shipping experience you expect year-round? Call Agforce at 877.367.2324 or email us at email@example.com.