Late deliveries test the patience of Prime and other shipping-club members
February 11, 2015 02:06 PM
A third of online consumers belong to e-commerce shipping programs such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime, but many of those memberships are free trials, according to new survey findings from Connexity Inc. And thanks in part to late deliveries, 43% of shipping club members might not renew or pay for full memberships, the report says.
The digital marketing services provider’s Bizrate Insights report is based on some 6,400 responses from online shoppers. 33% of surveyed buyers report belonging to a shipping club, which typically charges a monthly or annual fee in exchange for guaranteed quick delivery on eligible products and—as famously shown by Prime—other sweeteners, such as free music, photo storage or streaming videos. Of that 33%, 28% report they took out free trials.
Amazon Prime, with its two-day shipping on eligible products, proved the most popular e-commerce shipping club, with 28% of respondents belonging to the program, which costs $99 per year. 5% report belonging to the Barnes & Noble shipping club. Respondents were asked in December about their memberships. Other options included in the survey were: Shop Runner (which ships products from multiple retailers); ShipVantage (Sears); Club O (Overstock); Tiger’s Inner Circle (TigerDirect); Google Express; other; and “No, I did not belong to any shipping clubs.”
“Response volume for individual shipping clubs beyond Amazon Prime and Barnes and Noble were too small individually to make any assertions,” says Hayley Silver, vice president of Bizrate Insights.
For shipping club members considering leaving those programs, 23% said it was because of late deliveries, with 77% citing other reasons. “Members of the two biggest shipping clubs—Amazon first, followed by Barnes & Noble—report that 21% and 8% of orders in December 2014 were delivered late, respectively,” the report says.
The report points to another potential problem for Amazon Prime and its smaller peers: 73% of shipping clubs’ free trial members may not renew memberships when the bills come due. As well, 31% of paid members may decline to renew. Of those trial members who may not renew, 24% said the problem was late deliveries, compared with 22% of paid members who said the same thing.