It doesn’t matter what you’re selling — customers want it now. The demand for faster shipping can be make-or-break for business owners, which is why you’re going to want to read this.
Thanks to Amazon’s one-day and two-day delivery times, business owners of all sizes are playing catch up to compete with the big guys. It’s not exactly instant gratification, but it’s pretty close. When consumers shop online, they expect rapid fulfillment. That “order now” button on your website might as well say “put it on my doorstep right now.”
As customer expectations grow and grow, it is increasingly important to hit those fast delivery times. Customers want the satisfaction that comes from leaving a brick-and-mortar store with a new item in hand and the convenience of shopping from the couch. According to a recent study, customers want this so bad that 59% of them are inclined to abandon their online shopping carts if they feel dismayed by slow shipping times.
Don’t freak out — you can deliver. It’s possible to accelerate your shipping times and keep your customer base happy with the right strategy and the right work ethic. Whether your business is new, growing or established, these nine tips can help you increase your shipping speed.
1. Communicate with your warehouse
When you promise speedy shipping times, it’s essential to have a solid support system in place. That starts with your warehouse. Know who your point of contact is and communicate expectations often.
2. Communicate with your customers
When a customer orders a product online, they want you to stay in touch (no, that doesn’t mean spamming them with advertisements). Ensure that customers receive instant confirmation that the purchase was completed, another email when the product has shipped and continuous updates along the way. An email confirming that the product was delivered with a survey on the overall shipping experience is a nice touch.
3. Know your carrier
Don’t rely on one carrier alone. It’s all about who can get it there the fastest, and as the supply chain is a complex system, which doesn’t always mean FedEx, USPS, UPS or whoever your preferred carrier is.
Spend some time researching your options based on the geographic regions you frequently ship to. Shipping locally on a regular basis? FedEx offers same-day shipping within your city. UPS offers a number of options as part of its Express Critical Shipping, including next-day, second-day and three-day freight or air shopping. Whichever carriers you use, have a point of contact and a relationship with a representative who you can ask questions and hold accountable.
4. Strategize your shipping hubs
As your customer base expands, you will rely more and more on strategically placed shipping hubs. You can expedite shipping time by having a large number of shipping hubs spread across a wide area. These will keep your shipments moving across the many geographic areas your customers occupy.
5. Understand Customs
Don’t get tripped up when shipping internationally, and don’t think that international shipping is an excuse for slow delivery times. Customers in other countries still expect your product fast, so spend some time understanding customs and identifying anything about your product that may result in a slowdown. You can declare goods online before shipping to expedite international shipping.
6. Rely on your drivers
Your drivers are the ones who make it all possible, so it’s important that your shipper employs a fleet of drivers who are vetted, reliable and knowledgeable. You may not be personally employing your own crew of drivers, but whoever is should make sure that they are experienced and equipped with technological resources to keep them on track. This is especially important when dealing with last-mile delivery.
7. Have a plan for busy seasons
Shipping is crucial during the busy holiday season, especially as consumers are increasingly inclined to do their Christmas shopping online instead of at the mall. Have a plan for delivering on busy times like Christmas as well as any periods of seasonal demand that affect your business.
8. Have a plan for the unexpected
Busy seasons such as Christmas and Cyber Monday can be counted on like clockwork, but what about the unexpected situations that cause shipping delays? Whether its supply-chain disruptions due to global health crises like the current COVID-19 pandemic or more localized disruptions like a sustained period of inclement weather in the Midwest, every savvy business owner should develop a strategy for managing supply-chain risks before these hypothetical scenarios become a reality.
9. Automation is your friend
Embracing technology will improve your delivery times. Automation helps create a seamless fulfillment process, allowing products to be shipped on the same day they are ordered. Automation also helps speed up delivery times by eliminating human error that can slow down shipments and cost you money through lost customers.
Remember, customers are often willing to pay more for speedy delivery. You may consider offering an ultra-fast option for a pricier rate along with a more economical option that doesn’t promise prompt delivery. When navigating these costs as well as other budgetary factors of the shipping process, it helps to have someone on your side who understands the supply chain and can help save you money. 71lbs assists customers via automation, expert service and an easy-to-understand platform that reduces costs. If you’d like to know more contact 71lbs today.