Why Amazon is Winning
A few weeks ago I signed up for a triathlon relay in Victoria BC in July. It’s not as hard as it sounds. A tri-relay is a team of 3 where each person takes on a different stage of the race. Luckily I got the biking part which, in my opinion, is the easiest part. My friends Marcie and Brie are taking on the swimming and running.
With my newfound interest in cycling and recognizing the need for some training I looked around for other bike races. I found one in NYC that was perfect. It also included a charity ride where I could raise money for Lymphoma research (if you are interested in donating). A friend of mine, who is an avid cyclist, was recently diagnosed with lymphoma and this was a small thing I could do to help.
I live in Toronto, so now I had to make the decision about whether to take my bike on the plane with me or rent a bike at my destinations. With characteristic optimism I surmised this would be the first of many bike races and that it would be more economical and comfortable to bring my own bike.
I began researching bike traveling cases. I looked online for the various options available starting with a google search. Based on my google search I found the perfect travel case. Not only was it small and compact but it also had a stand that I could use (even when not traveling) for bike maintenance.
I went to my local bike shop (I am a big believer in supporting local businesses) and they did not have any travel cases in stock. Then I went to a well known retailer which acts as a co-op and supplies almost anything you need or desire for outdoor pursuits and they didn’t have the bike case in stock. They offer impeccable customer service and suggested that I call head office and order one to be shipped to my home.
I called their head office and they confirmed that they carried the bike case but could not guarantee a delivery date. The best they could promise was 6 weeks. The problem was that my race was in 4 weeks.
Not only am I an optimistic person but I am also tenacious. I went to the manufacturers website and attempted to purchase the case directly. The gap here was that the site didn’t provide an estimated timeline for shipping. When I called the customer service line no one answered. I got an automated message that referred me back to the website.
At this point I considered giving up on the case and just renting a bike in NYC. But in a light bulb moment I thought of Amazon. I am an Amazon Prime member which means everything gets shipped for free. After a quick search I found the exact bike bag I wanted and ordered it. The estimated time frame was tight (just under 4 weeks) but I also knew that Amazon routinely under promised and over delivered with regards to delivery. I also hedged. If it the bag didn’t arrive on time I could always cancel the order. No harm, no foul, no risk.
The happy ending is that my bike bag arrived safely at my door within 2 weeks of ordering. Amazon did everything right. They were able to deliver when 2 retail shops, a head office and the manufacturer #failed.
Let’s break down what Amazon did right:
It was easy to find the item I wanted to purchase
The shopping cart experience was seamless
As a Prime Member shipping was free
I had previous positive experiences which built trust
The bag was delivered 2 weeks earlier than estimated, reinforcing my trust
The bag was the same price as the manufacturer and other retail locations set
This is why Amazon is #winning.