How lightning-fast shipping will win 2021

2021 is the year of the ox — an animal known for its dependability, strength, and determination. Something also known for its dependability, strength, and determination is lightning fast shipping and consumer expectations of it.

Lightning-fast shipping has the power to set your eCommerce store apart this year and win the race to;

  • Gain new customers
  • Top search engine results
  • Win  the buy box
  • Dominate ad space
  • Get market prominence

In today’s blog, we’ll share how fast delivery is going to be a game-changer in 2021.

What counts as lightning-fast shipping?

Lightning-fast shipping means delivering online orders faster than the industry average of 3-5 business days - i.e., within 2-days, the next day, or the same day. 

The actual duration of time between order placement and doorstep delivery depends on:

  1. The day and time a customer places an order
  2. The distance between the warehouse and delivery address
  3. The shipping service used. 

For example, an order placed at 9 a.m. on a Monday and sent from Los Angeles to San Diego using overnight shipping will be delivered the next day. The same order would arrive if placed at 10 p.m. on the previous Saturday - still, lightning-fast, albeit a little longer. 

Why is lightning-fast shipping crucial for winning 2021?

You’re a business, which means you want to win the race for customers, search engine results, marketplace dominance, and ad space. 

Lightning-fast shipping speeds of 2-day and next-day make this possible in a few different ways.

1. Increasing your visibility 

To win, your products must be seen. Fast shipping speeds increase eCommerce store visibility across:

Marketplaces

2-day and next-day delivery qualify your products for fast shipping programs such as Walmart TwoDay and eBay Fast ‘N Free. These fast shipping programs increase visibility across the marketplace through:

 

  • Better search result placement
  • Higher chances of winning the buy box
  • Inclusion in fast shipping-filtered search results

Search engines

By targeting fast shipping keywords, you can increase organic traffic to your website by ranking for relevant search results.

For example, here you can see that Harry & David’s and Amazon have optimized their webpages for the search term “fast delivery gifts”

Optimizing on-page SEO for search terms

But you could use the same approach to any of your products. For example, “fast delivery wine glasses”

Shopify and BigCommerce

Lightning-fast shipping speeds increase the visibility of products when customers land on your eCommerce site. Fast shipping banners and tags make your products stand out while immediately promoting the benefits of shopping directly with your store. 

2. Differentiating your online store

Once your listings and eCommerce store are more visible, the next step is differentiating them from other high-ranking products and sellers. 

Fast fulfillment speeds help differentiate your online store across:

Online marketplaces

Listings qualifying for fast shipping programs have a “badge of honor” next to them — a bright, fast shipping tag that immediately marks them out as “better” in the search results. 

 

Differentiating your online store

(Source)

Search engine results

Google’s updated Shopping filter makes it easy for people to find and buy products directly via the search engine. 

By adding free and 2-day or next-day shipping tags on your Google Shopping ads, your listings stand out in the crowded search results - offering customers an immediate benefit for clicking your ad.

Google Shopping ads

(Source)

Facebook and Instagram

Likewise, by including dynamic 1-2 day delivery badges (using real-time inventory positioning) on your Facebook and Instagram ads, your ads have an extra sparkle that appeals to customers. 

For example, Hey Dude Shoes saw an 11% decrease in CPA and a 13% decrease in CPC when A/B testing Facebook ads with and without fast shipping tags.

Hey Dude Shoes

(Source)

3. Meeting buyers’ needs

Shoppers have particular needs you must meet before they convert. Buyer needs were once as simple as having the product they wanted at a price they were willing to pay. Today, shoppers are becoming more confident in eCommerce and more savvy about what the best merchants offer.

Lightning-fast fulfillment speeds meet the primary needs of the 2021 shopper, including:

Control

Following an uncontrollable 2020, shoppers crave more control over every aspect of their lives. Fast shipping provides shoppers with control over how quickly they receive their item and when it arrives. 

Convenience

Being able to get items, especially urgent items, as quickly as the same or following day is a game-changer for eCommerce. It places online shopping on par with retail stores when it comes to the speed, immediacy, and convenience of making a purchase.

Trust

Shoppers must trust sellers with their money, their personal information, and their purchase. Fast shipping is a trust signal — it shows customers you care about and invest in their shopping experience. It’s a premium perk that sets apart premium stores. 

4. Providing business resilience

Last year showed the importance of business resilience, especially when Amazon FBA crumbled under the pressure of increased orders and deliveries

2-day and next-day deliveries strengthen your fulfillment operation because they force you to adopt the best and most efficient fulfillment practices possible, which you can apply across different channels to differentiate your brand.

Tip: Build redundancy into your fulfillment solutions. Don’t just use FBA, or one 3PL. Get set up so that you have backups that will kick in, in case something happens to your main fulfillment option.

How to achieve 2-day and next-day shipping

To win with lightning-fast shipping in 2021, you must deliver orders at lightning speeds of 2-day and next-day. 

You have three options; in-house, marketplace, or outsourced fulfillment.

In-house fulfillment

You can optimize your internal fulfillment processes and shipping carriers to deliver orders within 2-days and 1-day. This has the benefits of using your existing teams and equipment and having more hands-on control over fulfillment practices. 

However, meeting 2-day and 1-day delivery in-house requires extreme precision and efficiency, which is challenging to maintain during busy holidays or growth spurts. 

Tip: Get at least 18 warehouse locations to achieve nationwide next-day delivery. For example, Deliverr has a wide network of fulfillment centers so we can strategically place your items closest to demand.

Marketplace fulfillment

You can use marketplace fulfillment services such as Amazon FBA or Walmart Fulfillment Services to fulfill sales channel-specific orders within 3 days or fewer. This benefits from the external resources and expertise needed to meet fast shipping speeds, without investing in staff or a warehouse network. 

However, marketplace fulfillment services are usually limited to a single marketplace, which can get costly and over-complicated when you run a multi-channel business. Look out for hidden fees for long-term storage, bulky items, and stock removal (in case you overestimated demand onone marketplace, and underestimated value on another). 

Outsourced fulfillment

You can use a multi-channel outsourced fulfillment service such as Deliverr to fulfill your orders within 2-day or next-day, across the country. This has the benefit of using a dispersed network of warehouses to distribute your stock and guarantee fast delivery speeds at all-inclusive pricing.

Key message

The key message is simple — any seller not providing or working towards lightning-fast shipping speeds will see their business and customers left behind in 2020. Don’t let it be you.