The holidays are an eCommerce goldmine, with the average American spending nearly $1,050 on holiday gifts and treats. But Q4 isn’t just your fast-pass ticket to increased sales. Competition from other online stores, marketplaces, and in-store retailers is making it harder to attract shoppers to your website and keep them there through checkout. And this year, amidst an election and a pandemic, fast holiday shipping is even more challenging.
But there’s a solution.
Fast shipping is a powerful tool for attracting and increasing holiday sales on your website. However, in 2020, many merchants are facing new territory and unseen challenges when it comes to fulfillment. Here’s how to ensure seamless fast delivery, even during increased holiday volume and an uncertain economic landscape.
What Is Fast Shipping?
The definition seems obvious, but the idea of fast shipping has changed drastically — in large part because of Amazon and their Prime service.
Fast shipping generally means a delivery made in two days or fewer, and this is the definition adopted by channels including Shopify, eBay, and Wish. However, there are exceptions in both directions.
On one end of the scale, Amazon and Walmart include same-day and next-day deliveries in their fast delivery options; at the other end of the scale, customers don’t expect their orders for 3-4 days, especially if the shipping is free.
At Deliverr, we believe fast shipping means delivering orders in time that matches or exceeds your competitions’ delivery times and your customers’ expectations. Today, that means 2-day and next-day deliveries.
Why Is Fast Shipping So Important for Holiday Sales?
Fast shipping is important throughout the year, bringing benefits such as increased visibility, larger reach, and eligibility for value-added programs. At this time of year, fast shipping comes into its own, delivering the ultimate benefit of them all: sales.
Fast shipping is important for holiday sales for four principal reasons:
1. Securing Holiday Spend
Moving customers from the awareness and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey to the acquisition stage is no mean feat, especially during the holidays.
Cart abandonment skyrockets during the holidays for reasons of extra research, price comparisons, and indecision. Fast shipping reduces cart abandonment and secures holiday conversions by:
- Overcoming the perceived risk of gifts not arriving in time
- Encouraging trust in your brand because you provide a premium service
- Meeting the different delivery needs of early-bird, planner, last-minute, and unexpected-guest holiday shoppers
2. Increasing Holiday Sales
Fast shipping not only secures customer conversions, but it increases the amount they spend too.
More than 4/5 of consumers will spend extra to gain delivery benefits such as expedited and free shipping. It’s a psychological concept where the subconscious attributes significant value to fast shipping, persuading the brain into spending more to receive it.
Once a customer approaches or reaches the minimum-spend threshold for fast shipping, you can encourage them to spend even more on add-ons and complementary products, resulting in bigger baskets.
3. Repeating Holiday Consumer Spend
We envy anyone who completes their holiday shopping in one online visit. Most shoppers buy throughout the season, and fast shipping encourages them to do this with merchants offering the service.
When you deliver orders at speed, you create a solid basis for a long-lasting and ongoing relationship. You’ve proved your trustworthiness and you’ve provided a positive journey that customers want to experience again. Fast shipping is just one of 5 steps to optimize your eCommerce customer experience.
Plus, fast shipping meets the different needs of shoppers as they progress through the season. When you provide the early-bird shopper with their gifts nice and early, they know they can rely on you to deliver quickly when that unexpected guest turns up at the last minute. That’s about building trust and loyalty.
4. Creating a Flywheel Effect
Finally, fast shipping creates an eCommerce flywheel effect wherein 2-day and next-day delivery can be used in marketing materials, across your website, in your ads, and as fast shipping badges on your marketplace listings. All of these contribute to more conversions and higher sales. This in turn creates more reviews, which you can use to boost sales even further. As you generate higher revenues, you can invest this into more advertising, more fast shipping coverage, and more SKUs to test out — all generating a powerful revenue-generating loop.
Tip: It’s not too late to start your flywheel effect. Get nationwide 2-day delivery in time for the holidays when you fulfill with Deliverr. Sign up and mention Exclusive Concepts for expedited onboarding!
Top Tips for Shipping Quickly During the Holiday Season
The conundrum, of course, is that the holiday season is when fast shipping is most difficult and also most critical. Order volumes multiply from October (thanks, Q4 Prime Day this year!) through to the end of December, making it challenging for your fulfillment team and shipping carriers to keep up and deliver on time. But it’s not impossible. Here’s how to make it work.
1. Increase Your Capacity
To handle an increase in order volume during the busiest time of the year, you must increase your capacity to process and ship orders. You have two options:
- Use Temporary Warehouse Space and Seasonal Employees: This is essential for increasing capacity when fulfilling in house, but be aware of increased storage costs and wage premiums for short-term capacity and contracts.
- Partner with a Fast Shipping Fulfillment Service: If you struggle to meet fast shipping speeds in house, use a third-party fulfillment service with scalable space and resources to meet your fast shipping needs and budget. Deliverr provides nationwide 2-day delivery, transparent pricing, and a quick onboarding process so you can hit the ground running this Q4.
2. Advertise Your Shipping Speeds
Communicating your shipping speeds and order cut-off times is holiday shipping 101. When you set out your delivery policy, you set customer expectations, which means you won’t receive an order at 23:59 pm with the expectation of it being delivered the next day.
3. Distribute Stock
You can invest in strategic warehouse locations and spread your stock to reduce the distance to buyers. This also has the advantages of cheaper shipping costs for your business and customers. Use a network of warehouses to balance your stock across the country based on historical demand. If you don’t have the resources or budget to do this yourself, pick an outsourced fulfillment service like Deliverr, which intelligently distributes stock across their network for you.
4. Qualify for Fast Shipping Programs
Sometimes your definition of fast shipping isn’t fast enough. By qualifying for fast shipping programs such as Walmart 2-day delivery, you not only increase holiday sales further, but you have set KPIs that you must adhere to. These fast shipping metrics help you monitor and maintain your fulfillment efficiency, highlighting when quality is dropping and when to consider third-party help.
Wrapping It All Up
The holidays mean eCommerce conversions, but if you’re waiting for customers to fall onto your website and through checkout, you’re missing out on the action. Fast shipping is key to holiday success. It attracts customers to your website, encourages them to spend more, and brings them back. Simply ensure that you’re shipping fast enough and can continue to do so throughout the entire period.
Deliverr’s FBA-like multi-channel fulfillment comes with clear pricing, easy onboarding, and a hassle free experience so you can focus on growing your eCommerce business.
About the Author: This is a guest post courtesy of Michael Krakaris. Michael is one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and the co-founder of Deliverr. Deliverr provides fast and affordable fulfillment for your Shopify, Walmart, Amazon, eBay, and Wish stores, helping to boost sales through programs like 2-day delivery for Shopify, Walmart 2-day delivery, eBay Fast ‘N Free, and Wish 2-day.