How Fast Shipping Gives Your Ecommerce Store a Competitive Edge

/ ecommerce / 4 min read
Rachel Go

With news that Amazon had another record-breaking holiday season, selling billions of items worldwide, you might be questioning how your eCommerce store can ever compete.

However, you don’t need big budgets, global dominance, or even your own courier service to compete. Amazon Prime has transformed the marketplace, and we’re here to tell you how fast shipping can give your eCommerce store a competitive edge, too.

The Importance Of Being Competitive

Often participation is the most important thing, but when it comes to the eCommerce industry, competition is crucial. It’s estimated that there are more than 4 million eCommerce stores in the United States, and more than 10 million across the entire internet.

Merely “taking part” isn’t going to make your eCommerce store stand out, get clicks, or achieve profitability. But how do you compete in such a saturated market?

Why & How Fast Shipping Gives Your Store A Competitive Edge

A few years back, price became the differentiator used by many online stores. However, the popularity of this approach soon resulted in price wars, profit damage, and a strategy that was no longer distinguishing. Fast shipping is different.

While price appeals to the shopper’s love of value, it can negatively impact average basket size, customer loyalty, and brand image. Fast shipping, on the other hand, appeals to the shopper’s subconscious need for urgency, risk aversion, and instant gratification, while also increasing customer basket size, loyalty, and conversions. How? Let’s take a look.

1. Urgency

The psychological principle of loss aversion explains how humans naturally seek to avoid losing out on something, which is why many shoppers feel a sense of urgency when buying and waiting for items online.

By implementing 2-day shipping on your Shopify store, you not only satisfy this need to receive items quickly before missing out, but you can also help customers to find their items faster too.

This is because fast shipping results in more website clicks and conversions (more on that later). These clicks and conversions are picked up on by Google and can result in increased SERP above your competition.

2. Risk aversion

The subconscious mind is also significantly opposed to risk and, accordingly, will seek out options to reduce even everyday risk as much as possible.

By offering customers a 2-day shipping guarantee on your eCommerce store, you can appeal to this need to avoid risk. Customers are provided with the peace of mind that their items will arrive in time for that birthday, anniversary, or Friday night, which makes your eCommerce store stand out from the stores offering but not promising fast delivery.

3. Instant gratification

According to Narayan Janakiraman, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Texas: “our expectation of ‘instant’ has become faster, and as a result, our patience is thinner,” giving a new meaning to instant gratification.

While many stores are meeting this need by offering 2-day deliveries, you can stand out by providing customers located close to your warehouse, next-day delivery.

You can also boost the number of customers eligible for this service by using multiple warehouses, or an outsourced fulfilment partner.

4. Value

Fast shipping, especially when it’s free, represents something of value to the customer and keeps customer satisfaction high. This can trigger the act of reciprocation - an inherent feeling that the customer must give you something back in return for this generosity. How does this give you a competitive edge?

When customers reciprocate by way of conversion or increasing their basket size, this increases your profits and gives you more budget to invest in stand-out marketing, advertising, or web store enhancements.

When customers reciprocate by remaining loyal to your brand and returning to buy more, this can result in positive customer reviews, recommendations, and social media mentions - all of which help your brand to stand out.

How To Implement Fast Shipping

So how can you achieve competitive shipping speeds for your eCommerce store? There are two main ways to offer 2-day shipping on Shopify and other eCommerce platforms.

1. In-House fulfilment

If you’re a small store or have an existing in-house fulfilment operation that can easily expand, then by using the right software, carriers, and management, you can fulfill 2-day orders in-house. When using in-house fulfilment, it’s important that you:

  • Have dispersed warehouse locations to increase the number of customers you can offer fast shipping to, and reduce your carrier costs
  • Have access to temporary staff during peak periods, especially the holiday season
  • Invest in the necessary inventory software and product management tools to streamline your processes and minimize idle time

2. Outsourced fulfilment

If you don’t have the operations or expertise to fulfil 2-day orders in-house, then an outsourced eCommerce fulfilment partner is a cost-effective alternative. When researching outsourced providers, it’s important that you look for:

  • Country-wide coverage through a network of warehouse locations across the country
  • Flat-rate price structures so you can control your costs and keep pricing competitive
  • Integration with Shopify, your chosen eCommerce platform, or multi-channel management software
  • Integration with any online marketplaces you sell on, including qualification for their fast shipping programs

If you’re struggling to decide whether in-house or outsourced fulfilment is best for your eCommerce business, why not try both? You can continue your in-house operation while sending a sample selection of fast-moving items to a third-party provider.

By keeping a log of how much both options cost (in money and time) and how quickly both methods deliver, you can compare the results and accurately identify the most competitive option for your store.

Fast shipping can be your secret weapon in the competitive world of eCommerce, you just need to know how to do it. By implementing 2-day shipping, fast shipping tags, and next-day deliveries, you can compete not only against other sellers but against Amazon too.

About the author
Rachel Go

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