Change – it’s the one thing we can always count on (besides paying taxes). And the change in the way consumers research and purchase products has changed expectations of how they will receive those products.
It’s called instant-gratification. Back in the days before eCommerce and online retail, you would go into a brick and mortar store and purchase your clothes with cash.
Nowadays, we live in an altogether different time. You don’t go to stores, you don’t pay in cash – you use your credit card and you go through e-commerce. So let’s face it, we’re in an “instant-gratification” age – everybody wants things right now.
This paradigm shift has put the power in the hands of the consumer – they are going to go where they get better prices, better products, and better delivery options. Consumers have more power than ever and it’s pushing companies to offer that kind of service, especially with one demographic in particular – Millennials.
For Millennials, time is the major asset. Being able to get something so quickly, on-demand or the same day has immense value to consumers today. What’s happening today is that people are starting to expect this kind of service – it’s no longer something “special,” it’s a given. They’re going to press a button online and get exactly what they purchased when they want it.
But, there is a backlash to this change, and it comes from the shipping and 3PL companies.
The instant-gratification we are now seeing has already proven itself hugely difficult for shipping companies. A perfect example of this is how Amazon’s shipping partners struggled, and often failed, to deliver items purchased on Amazon in time for Christmas. This was the first indication that eCommerce, and the new expectations of consumers, has made “traditional” supply chain models no longer relevant.
Shipping companies and 3PLs are getting more and more pressure, which requires tighter service level agreements, clearer KPIs with partners in order to meet today’s standards which are changing constantly. Due to the pace of change, these companies need to reassess KPIs and service level agreements every month or quarter to reflect new realities.