Make Me Feel Good

We bought a washing machine this week. It will replace a lemon of a washing machine which warrants it’s own story and should have been part of the 10% that the company eliminated that year. Buying a washing machine can make you nervous. It is a big enough purchase that you can’t just write it off you don’t buy the right one. Reviews for washing machines aren’t constructive. Usually, they are written by people who have recently made their purchase and are just relieved that they have a way to wash their clothes again.

The biggest frustration with the washing machine is the delivery method. After making a large purchase through which the company probably made 20%-30% profit, we also paid the $50 delivery fee. I have no objection to the delivery fee. The next part of the experience is ready for disruption.

After paying our bill, we are informed by email about the day that the washer will be delivered. It will come sometime between 8 am and 9 pm. And the day before, after 3 pm, we will be given a 3-hour window of time for the delivery. In short, the company is saying: “Thanks for making a major life purchase with us. Now, to receive it you have to be available when we are.” This is a model that doesn’t put the customer first. What I would have loved to hear is, “We’ll deliver it on Thursday, what three-hour window is best for you?” And then find a way to organize the deliveries in a way that fits everyone’s window.

I can hear the admin and technical staff protesting already. “What if we can’t accommodate what everyone wants? It will never work. I’m not sure how we can make that work. It won’t be efficient.” It might not work, and it might not be efficient, but I feel confident that if you committed to it, you would see that your customers would be happy with you. And they would become repeat customers because of your delivery service. They would also tell their friends about it.

Your Next Business Opportunity

Since I feel pretty certain that the big companies don’t see any reason to innovate their delivery process, let me share this business idea with anyone who wants to make a lot of money.

  1. Choose a large metropolitan area.
  2. Advertise that you will deliver for $75/ piece (or 50% higher than your local store’s rate.)
  3. Make your unique selling proposition that you will deliver within the 3-hour window that you designate.
  4. Organize your deliveries in 3-hour blocks. Organize by store and geographic region if you have to.
  5. Deliver people’s furniture and appliances when they want you to.

If you want to make it better, narrow your delivery window to 2 hours.

Will it be easy? No – there is a lot of logistics that you will need to figure out. Will it be profitable: probably. People want control over their new purchase. Being controlled by the seller in the last step of the process makes you feel used.

Deliver on your promise. Deliver appliances on time. Most of all, make me feel good about my purchase. You will win every time.