The ecommerce landscape is constantly changing, and it is important for merchants to try and stay ahead of the curve to beat the competition, especially now as we approach the holiday season.
One recent trend that isn’t going away anytime soon is faster shipping.
Customer expectations are higher than ever for their shipments to arrive within a couple of days of ordering online. This is even truer for the holiday season. In fact, 67% of U.S. consumers have abandoned a gift purchase due to slow delivery times in the last year.
Some ecommerce giants have set the bar extremely high with same-day, next-day, and 2-day shipping, but it may seem like a stretch to be able to offer the same delivery speed. ShipStation has put together some recommendations to help you ship your products quickly to keep up with customer expectations.
Align Messaging & Customer Expectations
It’s important to understand the difference between the terms “shipping” and “delivery” when it comes to order fulfillment.
Same-day delivery is usually not achievable unless you are delivering a product in the same town, like pizza. Same-day shipping, however, is very feasible to offer since it means that a customer’s order will leave the warehouse on the same day it was ordered (as long as it is placed by a certain time).
Since these terms are very similar, you will want to make sure your website clearly states what kind of shipping speeds customers can expect so you don’t bamboozle them.
If you offer next-day shipping, make sure you don’t have “next-day delivery” on your website. Being able to offer same-day shipping requires you to create an order cutoff time so you have time to prepare shipments with the allotted window of time. Setting customer expectations upfront, like clarifying wording or having a cutoff time, can cut down on dissatisfaction and customer service inquiries.
Streamline Your Shipping Process
Getting products to your customers within a few days requires you to look at your current fulfillment process and see where you can shave time. Efficiency is the name of this game, and there are multiple ways to streamline your operations.
A great way to save time on the shipping process is batching similar orders together so you can prioritize them to be shipped first.
Staying organized is always a good idea when it comes to fulfillment, but it is even more imperative when you are working on a tight deadline.
As orders come in, separate the ones that need to get shipped first and get them ready to go.
Once divided by priority, you can separate orders by zip code. This will help you determine what kind of delivery time frame, price, and shipping services will work best for each parcel. If you are delivering to customers nearby, you can print postage and ship them out after the rest of the parcels are handled.
USE A THIRD-PARTY SHIPPING SOFTWARE
You don’t need to handle shipping all by yourself or create postage through a carrier’s website.
Instead, utilize a third-party shipping software platform to streamline your processes so you can be faster and more efficient. Most shipping software programs can save hours on your fulfillment each day by providing services like automatically prioritizing orders, consolidating orders, printing multiple labels at once, and sending notifications when orders are generated.
These features, plus many more, can help you compete with ecommerce giants and get your products out the door quickly.
If you are interested in working with a third-party shipping platform, we recommend finding a good one now before the holiday season picks up. You don’t want to be stuck learning a new process or system when you are at your busiest. Plus, many softwares provide a free trial, so you can test them out to find the best fit.
Next-Day Delivery Recommendations
Next-day delivery is a feasible offering, but you will need to ship the products in the same day. There are a few services below that can help you accomplish this:
FedEx Standard Overnight®/UPS Next Day Air Saver®: These options are some of the more economical services for next-day shipping. Products will arrive at some point during the next shipping day.
FedEx Priority Overnight®/UPS Next Day Air®: There is a greater delivery guarantee, so they would be considered middle tier.
FedEx First Overnight®/UPS Next Day Air® Early: This is the most expensive option, but packages will arrive before noon.
2-Day Delivery Recommendations
Offering 2-day delivery is far easier to offer, plus it is much more affordable.
One thing to keep in mind is the shipping guarantee that carriers provide, or lack thereof. Using USPS Priority Mail is usually cost-effective, but they don’t guarantee delivery. This means that you will not be eligible for the same compensation that FedEx and UPS offer if your delivery arrives after two days.
FedEx 2Day®/UPS 2nd Day Air®: Packages will take two shipping days or less, but the timing is not confirmed.
FedEx 2Day® AM/UPS 2nd Day Air AM®: Delivery is guaranteed before noon on the second shipping day.
USPS Priority Mail: Items are typically delivered in 2-3 days, but it is not guaranteed or covered if delivery falls outside that time frame.
USPS Priority Mail Express: Packages usually get delivered in 1-2 days.
Customers have spoken, and fast shipping is now becoming the standard, especially when it comes to ordering gifts. You don’t want to be left in the dust this holiday season with slow shipping, so use these tips to stand out from your competition and give your customers what they want and need!