The Secrets To Offering Same-Day Shipping
With e-commerce giants like Amazon and on-demand services like Uber Connect and DoorDash driving consumer expectations for faster-than-ever deliveries, it should come as no surprise that offering same-day shipping and delivery is increasingly a priority for retailers of all sizes.
A growing body of data supports this approach. For instance, ResearchandMarket.com’s Same-Day Delivery Market Report 2021-2025 suggests that day-of deliveries in the US are expected to grow by $9.82B across these four years, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 20.31%.
But wanting to offer same-day deliveries and actually doing so successfully are two different things—even Amazon stumbled in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. To help increase your odds of success, we’ll walk through what it takes to offer same-day shipping and fullfillment, as well as some important steps you can take to protect your customer experience and profit margins throughout the process.
Same-Day Shipping with a Carrier
Often, when retailers begin investigating options for shipping same-day, they start by looking into the specific delivery services available from common carriers. And indeed, many national and international carriers do offer same-day services, including:
- FedEx SameDay Delivery: SameDay Delivery (encompassing SameDay, SameDay City Direct, SameDay City Priority, SameDay City Standard, SameDay City Economy, SameDay City Route, and SameDay Freight)
- UPS Express Critical
- DHL Same Day
The downside, of course, is that these services can be pricey—especially if you’re shipping large items or sending them same-day across long distances. You’ll also need to be aware of pick-up cutoff times. If orders come into your systems too late or take too long to process for shipment, carriers’ same-day services may not be flexible enough to support your needs.
You’ll need to explain this to customers on your site before they purchase to avoid confusion and to manage customer expectations.
Same-Day Shipping And Delivery In-House
As an alternative to working with common carriers, some brands make the decision to facilitate same-day shipping programs on their own, in-house. Amazon Prime’s transition from utilizing USPS shipping to operating its own delivery network is one example of this approach, though it can work on a smaller scale as well.
Fashion retailer Net-a-Porter, for example, offers same-day delivery to customers based near its facilities. In the US, customers residing in New York City, Westchester, NY, Bergen, NJ, Fairfield, CT, Nassau, NY, or Hudson, NJ can elect Premier Daytime or Premier Evening delivery options, which will deliver packages same-day for a $25 fee, if they’re ordered before 10:00 am or 2:00 pm respectively.
Shipping Products Same-Day Through a Fulfillment Partner
One final, often underutilized, option for same-day shipping is working with fulfillment partners who can house your inventory closer to your customers and then coordinate last-mile delivery as orders are placed.
For example, Shippo partners with fulfillment centers and third-party logistics (3PL) providers with locations near major metropolitan areas. Because these vendors have staff dedicated solely to fulfillment, they may be able to pack and ship your deliveries faster than you can—even getting packages out the door on the same day orders are placed.
That said, as you’re evaluating fulfillment partners, it’s important to note that ‘same-day shipping’ is not always the same thing as ‘same-day delivery.’ A product can be shipped the same day the order is processed but that doesn’t mean it will arrive at the customer’s location the same day. You’ll want to make sure this is clarified at the start.
If your intent is for items to be delivered on the same day they’re ordered, make sure every part of your logistics process—from your shopping cart system, to your fulfillment and shipping partners—is aligned to make that happen.
Best Practices for Same-Day Delivery
As you explore different options for accommodating same-day deliveries, keep the following best practices in mind:
- Clearly communicate cut-off times to your customers. No matter which approach you take, same-day shipping services must have a cutoff point that ensures sufficient time for processing and delivery. Once you’ve determined how your cutoff times need to be set, communicate them clearly to customers on your site’s home page, your product description pages (PDPs), your shipping policy page, and at the appropriate points in your checkout process.
- Make sure your operations can support same-day deliveries. It doesn’t make sense to go through the process of setting up same-day shipping options if you can’t get orders processed and packaged in time to meet your carrier or fulfillment partner’s cutoff requirements. If you only sell a handful of items, accelerating your internal processes might be easy. But if you sell thousands of items stored across dozens of locations, you’ll likely need advanced logistics technology to efficiently process, pick, and pack orders for same-day delivery.
- Account for your costs. Unless you have disproportionately large markups on your items, same-day delivery costs will eat into your margins—regardless of the carrier or fulfillment partner you work with. Make sure you understand what your costs actually are, and identify options to pass them on to customers within your e-commerce shopping cart.
All of that said, when it comes to offering same-day shipping and delivery, you don’t have to compete with Amazon from day one. Instead, consider starting with a small pilot project that includes a limited number of items or that serves a limited geographic area. If demand for same-day deliveries and customer satisfaction with the process support it, you can always expand from there at a later point.
For more assistance getting your same-day shipping program up and running, reach out to the team at Shippo. Not only do we offer some of the best rates from the nation’s top carriers, but our experienced product specialists can also help you understand the best ways to offer same-day delivery, based on your business’s unique situation.
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