Local ShoppingFast delivery finally extends to oversized items

Fast delivery finally extends to oversized items

One-in-three shoppers expects same-day delivery of the goods they purchase, according to McKinsey. But for companies selling oversized or awkwardly shaped items — think tires, garden rakes or a large painting — same- or next-day delivery has been largely out of reach. Because of the extra packaging and handling required by parcel delivery networks, moving these goods incurs costly surcharges, takes longer and makes it hard to know when items will arrive. 

Failing to meet ultrafast delivery expectations for oversized items can mean disappointing a customer or prospect. However, a growing number of senders have started using crowdsourced delivery channels to offer same- or next-day delivery of harder-to-ship goods directly from their stores or warehouses.

Oversized delivery through crowdsourcing provides speed, little or no need for packaging, tight delivery windows, live tracking and so on for cumbersome items, while also avoiding the extra surcharges and extended timetables typically associated with oversized items. That leads to cascading benefits for the sender, from more closed sales to happier customers. Manufacturers operating in the direct-to-consumer space can even design some products differently, knowing they don’t have to plan for products to fit in a box for parcel or less-than-truckload (LTL) services. 

For end customers, oversized crowdsourced delivery enables them to receive ultrafast delivery without added delays and fees. Those customers also gain control of delivery timing and have the ability to track their shipments every step of the way. These capabilities help to strengthen the relationship between the shopper and the brand.

Why do traditional oversized shipments cost so much?

Traditional order fulfillment methods rely on automation and standardization to move massive volumes of packages. Oversized and awkwardly shaped items don’t comply with the limitations of those systems, so standard couriers, parcel carriers, and LTL providers have to handle them separately. The additional manual steps and processes cause surcharges, delays, early cut-off times and other restrictions. 

During the 2022 holiday season, for example, FedEx and other parcel carriers implemented additional surcharges for oversized items compared with previous peak seasons. Delivery windows for oversized goods tend to be long and subject to change. Because of this expected overhead, sellers often exclude oversized items from ultrafast delivery offers. 

But that comes at a cost — lost sales. Data from Ware2Go shows that about a third of online shoppers expect fast shipping for the things they buy online. McKinsey research found that when online customers discover during checkout that they may need to wait longer for delivery, about 46 percent abandon their shopping carts. 

Most buyers have become conditioned to expect a rapid and transparent delivery experience, and they make no allowances for the challenges inherent in delivering certain products. Additional fees, delays and uncertainty as to when a package will arrive leads to poor delivery experiences and a lost customer.

Non-traditional delivery for non-traditional items

Savvy senders have started bypassing the limitations of traditional oversized logistics through crowdsourcing, ultimately finding that crowdsourced delivery is well-suited for delivering oversized goods. 

This type of delivery taps a ready pool of independent drivers and their personal vehicles to transport goods directly to customers. As a result, oversized orders require little or no packaging. Some platforms will also allow the seller to choose a specific vehicle, like a cargo van or truck, ensuring that orders won’t get rejected by the driver at pickup. Senders can even let drivers know in advance if they will need a dolly, cargo straps, or other specialized equipment.

In addition, crowdsourced delivery typically doesn’t require surcharges or special handling fees based on the dimensional weight of the item. Sellers also maintain full control of order cut-off times for same- or next-day delivery since there is no carrier schedule with which to comply.

Visibility and control are also high priorities for many consumers, with 68 percent expecting to know at all times where their order is, according to data from Soti. Specifying a convenient time frame to receive a delivery can be particularly important for an oversized item, since buyers may want to have help on hand to maneuver the item inside their home or business. Using a crowdsourced delivery provider that offers narrow delivery windows and live tracking lets that customer create their preferred delivery experience. The Soti research also shows that an ultrafast, successful delivery experience can boost loyalty: 61 percent of shoppers continue to shop with brands who can deliver goods the fastest. 

Oversized goods have been largely left out of the push toward next- and same-day delivery, causing missed opportunities for sellers and customers alike. Crowdsourced oversize delivery using platforms like Roadie is proving to be the best-fit solution for ultrafast delivery of oversize and awkwardly shaped items, taking the cost and hassle out of oversize shipping with fast, convenient delivery right to customers’ doorsteps. 

If you want to know more about crowdsourcing and oversized delivery, download Roadie’s guide on the topic.

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