Same-Day Shipping: Is New Zealand Ready?

By Lance O'Grady

Same-day shipping isn’t a new concept - companies have been doing it for years. But when we look locally, very few New Zealand retailers are offering such a service, and when they do, it’s quite expensive. Before we delve into whether New Zealand is ready, let’s just set some context around why it’s the next step. Shipping has always been the biggest barrier to buying something online. “How much does it cost?”, “How soon do I get my order?”, “What happens if I need to return it?” are a few questions on everyone’s mind when they are shopping online. We as consumers are so terrified that something might go wrong, and because it’s the big bad world wide web, we will never see our money again. In reality, that’s not the case. There is a surprisingly large amount of protection for the online shopper (from banks, Paypal, SSL providers etc), so let’s just shelf that argument and talk same-day shipping. Why would same-day shipping be the way to go?

Security People like feeling comfortable spending money online. Part of it will be the ‘risk’ they feel when they are buying online. Someone has the money, and they don’t have the product. It’s unnerving. It would be like walking into a retail store, giving them all of the money, and leaving without a product. Weird.

Same-day shipping would make people a lot more comfortable. As a customer, I no longer need to wait 1-5 days to know my order is real. I will know later that afternoon. That’s comforting.

Instant Gratification (or near instant) People love instant gratification - do something to be instantly rewarded in some way. Sounds fantastic. Everyone says “Patience is a virtue” but when it comes to shopping, that virtue is out the window. “I want it right now”. You’ve spent the money, it only seems fair to have the reward to match.

Same-day shipping gives us that feeling of instant gratification, with less effort than actually having to go to a shop to purchase something. Imagine being at work, browsing during your lunch break and buying something, only to have it waiting on your doorstep by the time you get home. What a feeling!

So is New Zealand ready? Short answer - No.

We want New Zealand to be ready. Same-day shipping is exciting and would mean retailers can better serve their customers. Knowing that I can get something almost as fast by buying it online, without needing to go anywhere is a good way to persuade me to shop online (we just need to be careful not to turn into those people in Wall-E).

But the reality is, it’s an expensive and new concept down this way. Our courier network isn’t ready to handle it. We have far too many rural areas and our main centres are too broad. I could go on...

Some New Zealand companies are doing it and in their defense, it works. I’ve purchased something at 1pm, and it was waiting for me at 6pm when I got home. But it was costly, and although I saw the value, I wonder how many New Zealanders would be willing to make the $15-$20 upgrade to same-day shipping (assuming you live in the CBD or surrounding suburbs).

What are your thoughts? Would you as a retailer implement it? Would you as a customer spend the extra coin?

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