Realities in Oversized E-Commerce Delivery in the Amazon Era

uShip’s 2018 Consumer Insights Report for Larger-than-Parcel Online Sellers

Thanks to the Amazon Effect, online buyers’ expectations of how quickly and cheaply e-commerce purchases should arrive in their mailbox have been completely reset. Fast and free are the new normal, forcing all other online sellers to keep up.
 
Parcel delivery pressure is indeed real. However, there’s one area of e-commerce where online sellers can still compete logistically with Amazon and big box players: delivery of oversized, larger-than-parcel items such as furniture, sofas, armoires, mattresses, treadmills and more.
 
Whether you’re an online furniture reseller, an estate sale marketplace, an Etsy shop owner, a brick-and-mortar shop selling online, or a big box brand, there is tremendous opportunity ahead, especially in furniture — one of the fastest growing segments of e-retail.
 
But with every opportunity, there are certain hurdles.

Our report — Realities in Oversized E-Commerce Delivery in the Amazon Era — looks at the experiences of consumers who have made an oversized online purchase in the last 12 months. The findings shed light on consumer frustrations and mindset when buying large items online, as well as ways retailers can proactively begin to address these pain points.
 
As the old saying goes, “Good, fast or cheap. Pick two.” Today, consumers unabashedly want all three, and they’ll keep looking online until they get them.
 
Our hope is that this report provides insights that help you deliver all three aspects for customers buying larger-than-parcel items on your site.
 
Kind regards,
Mike Williams, CEO, uShip

“In a hyper-competitive market, negative reviews about shipping can torpedo online sales, even if a seller isn't at fault.” - Van Leigh, SVP, Digital Marketing, uShip

OVERSIZED E-COMMERCE ON THE RISE

The $19.2 billion online furniture and home furnishings market is one of the fastest growing segments of online retail. eMarketer predicts it will reach $42 billion by 2019.
 
Ultimately, buyers – particularly millennials – are now more comfortable than ever making large online purchases sight unseen.

OVERSIZED E-COMMERCE ON THE RISE

The $19.2 billion online furniture and home furnishings market is one of the fastest growing segments of online retail. eMarketer predicts it will reach $42 billion by 2019.
 
Ultimately, buyers – particularly millennials – are now more comfortable than ever making large online purchases sight unseen.

BUYERS’ DELIVERY PAIN POINTS

Large-item logistics remain a black hole for most online sellers. There’s simply way more to consider when shipping a 250-lb couch cross country compared to cosmetics or cross trainers. Pickup and delivery schedules, insurance, assembly, and bottom-line transport cost are all friction-causing factors.
 
When consumers have a poor delivery experience, it reflects negatively on a seller’s brand, regardless if fault lies with the carrier. At a time when parcels can be delivered in a matter of hours, too many buyers of large, bulky items are experiencing damages during delivery. Some shipments don’t arrive at all.

BUYERS’ DELIVERY PAIN POINTS

Large-item logistics remain a black hole for most online sellers. There’s simply way more to consider when shipping a 250-lb couch cross country compared to cosmetics or cross trainers. Pickup and delivery schedules, insurance, assembly, and bottom-line transport cost are all friction-causing factors.
 
When consumers have a poor delivery experience, it reflects negatively on a seller’s brand, regardless if fault lies with the carrier. At a time when parcels can be delivered in a matter of hours, too many buyers of large, bulky items are experiencing damages during delivery. Some shipments don’t arrive at all.

uShip found that customer frustration primarily stems from a poor shipping experience that upends their daily routine.

15% MISSED WORK WAITING FOR A DELIVERY
11% Wasted a day tracking a purchase
11% 'FOUGHT' WITH CUSTOMER SERVICE

On marketplaces like eBay or Craigslist, out-of-area buyers typically need to sort their own logistics, often preventing the sale from happening.

BUYERS' DELIVERY PAIN POINTS

Nearly one in six (16%) had to immediately figure out how to transport an oversized item themselves after making the purchase
 

“There’s no such thing as ‘free shipping.’ It’s just a matter of who pays.”
– Mike Williams, CEO, uShip

BUYERS' DELIVERY PAIN POINTS

Nearly one in six (16%) had to immediately figure out how to transport an oversized item themselves after making the purchase
 

“There’s no such thing as ‘free shipping.’ It’s just a matter of who pays.”
– Mike Williams, CEO, uShip

BUYERS’ CONCERNS WHILE SHOPPING

The ‘last mile’ is a critical point in every customer’s lifecycle. When it comes to delivery, e-retailers can’t afford to skimp on innovation (at best) or ignore it entirely (at worst). It’s as much of a selling point as the product itself. Many turn to less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping options, concerned that “white glove service” will be more expensive — which is typically not the case.
 
Without a turnkey, low-cost delivery option in place, there’s a strong chance that the money spent acquiring customers will be for naught.

BUYERS’ CONCERNS WHILE SHOPPING

The ‘last mile’ is a critical point in every customer’s lifecycle. When it comes to delivery, e-retailers can’t afford to skimp on innovation (at best) or ignore it entirely (at worst). It’s as much of a selling point as the product itself. Many turn to less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping options, concerned that “white glove service” will be more expensive — which is typically not the case.
 
Without a turnkey, low-cost delivery option in place, there’s a strong chance that the money spent acquiring customers will be for naught.

Over one in four (28%) are hesitant to purchase an oversized item because of shipping concerns.

 

One in eight (13%) kept an item they didn’t want because the return process was complicated.

 

“Online sellers who can figure out big and bulky e-commerce delivery can take advantage of a huge market opportunity.” - Van Leigh, SVP, Digital Marketing, uShip

28% Want Proactive Updates
18% Want White Glove Service
24% Want Delivery Company Choice

BUYERS’ DESIRES FROM ONLINE SELLERS

What do consumers want to see improved? Proactive updates, white glove service, choice in deliver company, and more control over the delivery time slots; these are all fixable moments in the online sellers delivery supply chain that can be resolved with the right partners and technology.

BUYERS’ DESIRES FROM ONLINE SELLERS

What do consumers want to see improved? Proactive updates, white glove service, choice in deliver company, and more control over the delivery time slots; these are all fixable moments in the online sellers delivery supply chain that can be resolved with the right partners and technology.

19% Want In-home Delivery
27% Want Delivery TIme Slots

“Until Amazon figures it out, online sellers of oversized goods can out Amazon Amazon.” - Van Leigh, SVP, Digital Marketing, uShip

Research Methodology

uShip commissioned YouGov PLC — a third party, professional research and consulting organization — to poll the views of 1,070 adults, of which 228 have purchased an oversized item online in the past year. Unless otherwise stated, all figures shown are among the 228 adults who have purchased an oversized item in the past year. Fieldwork was undertaken between June 21-22, 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures from the total sample (1,070 adults) have been weighted and are representative of all US adults (aged 18+).

About uShip

uShip makes it quick, easy, and affordable to ship large or bulky items. From cars to cranes and furniture to freight, our straightforward and transparent platform helps people, businesses, e-commerce sellers, and multinational logistics companies ship with greater speed and efficiency. Launched in 2004, uShip is based in Austin, Texas. Find out more at uship.com, facebook.com/uship or on Twitter at @uship.

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