How Retail Davids Are Banding Together to Beat the Amazon Goliath

photo credit: Brian Harkin for The Wall Street Journal

Thanks to Amazon, all retailers are having to up their delivery game.

But that’s easier said than done.

With two-day shipping promises or even two-hour windows in some cases, consumers now expect the products they order to materialize instantaneously—if not sooner. These outsized expectations are putting a strain along the value chain, with small players feeling the pinch most, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Smaller stores can’t command the same volume discounts as retail heavyweights, but consumers don’t know or care about their challenges. They just want their stuff—fast. Oh, and they don’t want to pay extra for it. Citing a Deloitte survey, the paper says 32 percent of shoppers expect same-day shipping to be free.

Into the void comes a new player: fulfillment businesses. Though not really “new,” this sector definitely has a new importance. The paper profiled a few of these companies, including Red Stag and ShipBob, that pool orders from a variety of mid- to small-size retailers to gain the pricing perks the big guys enjoy.

And it’s a relief to shop owners who now don’t have to handle the logistics.

“Ultimately, what [Red Stag] allowed us to do is focus more on selling rather than focus on how do we get something from point A to point B,” Peter Wong told the Journal.

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