The growing number of influential Weibo commentators are increasingly opening their own online shops or promoting products.
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Then there’s the consolidated deferred delivery model. Used in the freight industry with commercial clients, it’s so far little seen in retail but Spieler says it could be a potential win for all. It rewards online shoppers willing to wait up to two weeks for delivery by charging them lower shipping fees. Deferred delivery would let carriers batch deliveries for greater cost efficiency, she argues.
As e-retailers face the need to reduce costs, such charges have become a hot potato. Until best practices emerge from experience, web merchants will continue to juggle various shipping strategies in search of solutions. And as they work toward that goal, they might remember that though free and discounted shipping poses challenges now, on the grand scale it did what it was supposed to do: help create a new industry. “Consumers spent $45 billion online last year-that’s huge,” says Forrester’s Kelley. “You’ve got people hooked on e-commerce.”
the 2001 Internet Retailer