Amazon has wrecked it for all the other online stores.
What they do is completely amazing.
It’s still hard to believe they offer free 2-day shipping when you have a Amazon Prime membership. I just ordered an HDMI cable for $6 and it’ll be here Monday – shipped for free.
But amazing doesn’t last forever.
While I do a majority of my online shopping through Amazon, often times when I’m shopping on another site I’ll find myself debating whether or not I really want the product when I see the shipping charges. About half of the time my mouse heads for the X in the right hand corner. It isn’t completely rational. I realize that shipping costs have to be paid and if I bought the item in a store I’d be paying for gas and time, but once you’ve bitten the hook of free shipping, it’s hard to let go of.
What is Amazing today will be expected tomorrow. What is expected soon becomes ordinary. What is ordinary becomes average.
The black and white TV was amazing. The first cell phone was amazing. Flying across the country in an airplane was amazing. Then it became ordinary.
Other companies have joined in with free shipping offers when you spend $75 or $50. The emails touting “FREE SHIPPING” seem to be coming a little bit more frequently over the past few months (especially from Threadless). Sure not everyone will be able to do 2-day free shipping (especially some of the smaller places), but I wouldn’t be surprised if more people at least worked out ways to offer free shipping.
The goal for businesses should be to not always play catch up.
For any business to survive, you’ll have to do things that are amazing. The aspiration is to do them when they’re still amazing and not when they have become ordinary and expected.
Connect with me on Twitter: @BenNesvig