Amazon Prime Keeps Getting Better, Pushing Services Like Shop Runner Into Obscurity
On my lazier days, I will order from Dominos Pizza. Ordering online is a breeze but you’re always hit with taxes and the dreaded delivery fee, wich is especially painful for me because the Dominos I order from is two blocks away. When checking out, users are prompted to signup for Shop Runner, a service that alleviates delivery fees and promises free two day shipping from many popular retailers like PetsMart, Shoes.com, Sears and more. Because I’m not living under a rock and order online frequently I have an Amazon Prime membership. I was weary about becoming a Shop Runner member because of the price ($79/year) and the fact that I’ve never heard of it. The value I saw in using Shop Runner is that I could order food from my favorite restaurants who don’t typically have delivery services. I quickly learned though, that it simply covers delivery fees of restaurants that already offer those services. Alright I thought, this may still be worth it.
Shop Runner’s Website is Abysmal to Navigate
Sorry Shop Runner, I’m not interested in getting free delivery from PetsSmart or Sears, I want to find out what restaurants in Atlanta, GA you have signed up for your services.
“Restaurants Atlanta” returns no results. OK, let’s try entering in “pizza” and see if we get a faceted search with geographic locations for all of the “pizza” restaurants signed up with Shop Runner.
Bad Search Results = Bad User Experience
How disappointing. They only have Dominos signed up for pizza restaurants? And I can’t sort geographically what deals are available in the Atlanta, GA area? A huge letdown from a concept that has so much promise. Shop Runner isn’t a product, it’s an attachment service that piggy backs on large online retailers.
Shop Runner Vs. Amazon Prime
There’s no comparison. One thing to note is that the Shop Runner website simply aggregates products from their partners’ catalogues so when you click on an item you’re brought to another website to order, unlike Amazon Prime which keeps you on the website for a seamless experience. The catalogue for Amazon Prime also dwarfs Shop Runners. Most importantly though, the user experience on Amazon is simply amazing. They’re the poster child for eCommerce and for good reason. Site search is blazing fast (thanks to A9′s CloudSearch capabilities), giving you relevant results in what seems like split seconds. The faceted search options are convenient and easy to use. The product catalogue is expansive and ever growing. Shop Runner simply cannot compete if they’re using the “free, 2 day shipping policy” as a selling point. Another feature of Amazon Prime is that you get access to Amazon Prime Video which includes thousands of titles ranging from television to movies.
What Shop Runner Should Be
For a service like Shop Runner to differentiate itself from a juggernaut like Amazon Prime it needs to carve out a niche using localization as the driving force. Even the name “Shop Runner” would suggest that couriers are going to “shops” that normally wouldn’t deliver. Think of grocery stores, restaurants, repair shops, etc. – businesses that require a physical presence to complete transactions. Shop Runner should be a local product valet service instead of a discount shipping program that caters to a limited number of vendors. The idea is there, it just lacks execution. It’s a problem that many startups face, especially in the eCommerce space.