With the ecommerce industry growing rapidly, many things about the field have seen significant improvement in the past few years. Companies have been working to ensure a better customer experience with improved technology and better shipping options. Quick delivery times with low shipping costs are vital to optimize customer satisfaction levels. But how can you offer faster shipping times without compromising profits?
The topic of faster shipping brings us to expedited shipping and the advantages it offers over standard shipping services. Here’s what ecommerce retailers should know about the workings of expedited shipping.
What is expedited shipping?
Expedited shipping refers to shipments that are faster than the standard option for delivery. The actual term means different things for different carriers and can refer to one-day or two-day delivery options. As such, expedited shipping charges to domestic or international destinations vary with the various delivery services.
How fast is expedited shipping?
Different delivery options with various carriers usually come with their specific strategy for the whole supply chain. Depending on the type of product and the shipping zone distance between the point of origin and destination, the delivery times of expedited shipping can vary with each carrier.
Is expedited shipping worth the added cost?
The expedited service option usually comes with added cost for the lesser delivery times that increase with the shipping zone distance and the parcel’s weight and dimensions. Some businesses hold customer satisfaction in high regard and feel that the expedited shipping option is worth it. Of course, faster delivery times add to the whole charm of the sale for the customer and can increase your company’s revenue.
The differences between expedited and standard shipping
Standard shipping usually costs the least when it comes to different delivery services. The standard service could translate to a two-day shipping time for some companies, while others might offer longer delivery times for their standard shipping. The standard delivery option for one of the most popular carriers in the US, the USPS, consists of ground shipping and usually takes more than two business days for farther shipping zones.
Reasons to offer expedited shipping
Expedited shipping provides a guarantee to your customers that their packages will be shipped in reduced transit times. This reduction in transit time directly increases customer satisfaction, and it is arguably one of the most important reasons businesses opt for this shipping method. However, there are other advantages to expedited shipping as well.
To save time
The primary purpose of expedited shipping is to save on shipping time. Carriers often do this by minimizing the supply chain to the final destination. If your customers are willing to pay more for faster shipping, expedited shipping is the suitable business method for your setup.
Many perishable items like frozen food and baked items require faster shipping so that the products do not expire during the shipping process. For this reason, expedited shipping is the correct answer for your business if you are involved with the food industry.
To win (or retain) customers
If most of your customers opt for faster shipping methods and are willing to pay the extra cost, then you should look into making expedited shipping into your standard shipping option. There is a chance that retailers might lose customers who want faster shipping if they don’t offer expedited shipping.
Save on storage costs
Taking the products from the manufacturers and storing the inventory in warehouses often comes with detailed storage charges. When you offer expedited shipping, the products spend less time in storage, and you can save on inventory storage costs.
Reduce abandoned carts
Unsatisfactory delivery options directly link to cart abandonment among prospective customers. Having various shipping options such as expedited and standard shipping lets the customers choose the shipping option they like. Therefore, it’s wise to offer expedited services to your customers.
Meet customer expectations around ship time
Customers usually look at a couple of retail options before buying something, and they often go with the retailer that provides convenient delivery options. Today, faster shipping methods like Amazon’s next-day delivery options have increased customer expectations, and this is why not having expedited shipping could hurt your sales.
Build customer loyalty
Customer satisfaction is the key to getting repeat customers and building customer loyalty. When the customers get their parcels delivered faster, they are more likely to purchase from your shop again in the future. Offering expedited shipping options could enhance the customer loyalty in your consumer base and possibly secure future sales.
How fast is expedited shipping compared to other fulfillment options?
Different delivery services come with different standard and premium delivery times. Let’s look at some of the popular shipping options and how they fare compared with expedited shipping.
Expedited shipping vs. standard shipping delivery speeds
Standard shipping services are often the cheapest shipping option out there, but they also take many business days to deliver the package, depending on the shipping zone distance. On the other hand, expedited shipping offers reduced shipping times while being more costly. Some companies have two-day delivery as their standard shipping options, while others take longer in their standard delivery service. These options vary from company to company.
Expedited shipping services vs. express shipping delivery speeds
Depending on what carrier service you are looking at, expedited and express delivery can be used interchangeably or mean the same thing. Couriers usually have a variety of standard and premium delivery options, and these terms vary depending on their context of use.
Two-day (or next-day) shipping
For some companies like Amazon Prime, two-day shipping options are standard, while for others, two-day delivery often falls under the umbrella of expedited shipping. Like the other terms, these terms also vary with each courier.
Which shipping carriers offer expedited shipping?
Many carriers offer different expedited shipping services like flat-rate shipping, ground shipping, and next-day air shipping options. Let’s look at some of the most popular carriers in the US and their expedited shipping services.
USPS expedited shipping
USPS is among the most popular courier services in the US for domestic delivery. A popular expedited shipping option by USPS is their Flat Rate Priority Mail Express. This mail service comes with options like overnight and next-day delivery options, and you can track the parcel during shipment.
UPS expedited shipping
UPS is another shipper that offers expedited shipping options for domestic delivery, including same-day, next-day, and two-day shipping guarantees. The UPS Worldwide Expedited service offers faster delivery to international destinations.
FedEx expedited shipping
FedEx also provides several expedited shipping options based on the package’s size and dimensions, destination, and urgency. These shipping options include FedEx Express Saver, and FedEx Expedited Freight, and the FedEx Same Day service.
How to offer expedited delivery
It might seem that expedited delivery is impossible for small businesses to offer and might kill your budget. But there is a way to provide expedited delivery without any extra burden on your budget – and here’s how.
Use distributed fulfillment centers
Having your inventory stored in multiple fulfillment centers means that you can minimize the shipping zone distance from the warehouse to the destination. This way, you can use ground shipping methods from the nearest warehouse for the expedited shipping option.
Require a minimum purchase amount for orders
To cover the shipping costs for expedited shipping, a smart thing to do is set a minimum order purchase threshold. This way, you can cover the marginal shipping cost from the products’ revenue while keeping your customers happy.
Work with an experienced 3PL
Another way to save on shipping costs is to work with an experienced third-party logistics (3PL) company that can get you discounted shipping rates with major carriers. Other than the discounted shipping rates, a 3PL can help cut back on shipping costs by making the process more efficient. Experienced 3PL partners offer shipping options and technology that you might not have been able to manage on your own.
Offer expedited shipping with ShipHero
By now, you understand the importance of expedited delivery and why it pays off to offer your customers multiple shipping options. With ShipHero, you can offer different types of expedited-delivery options like overnight or two-day delivery services, depending on your customers’ needs and your company’s budget.
ShipHero partners up with 3PL companies to offer you discounted shipping rates and distributed fulfillment options so that you can reduce shipping times and shipping rates in one go.
Distributed fulfillment centers
ShipHero lets you distribute your inventory across the nationwide network of fulfillment centers. Having distributed fulfillment centers all over the country means that you can minimize the shipping zone distance to the. What this means is that you can offer faster shipping to your customers with the help of on-ground shipping methods.
Save on shipping costs
ShipHero offers you different courier services to partner up with, and some of them offer discounts on the shipping rates. This way, you can save on shipping costs and choose the carrier that works best for you. As a plus, there are no hidden shipping fees, and users get precisely what they pay for.
Expedited shipping sure has its advantages, but it can also seem like a very costly option. Now that you have looked at how you can realistically offer expedited shipping options to your customers without breaking the bank, it’s time to get things going. ShipHero lets you offer expedited shipping by connecting your ecommerce platform to trusted carriers with various shipping options and discounted rates.
If you’re looking to provide customers with premium shipping options without breaking the bank, then check out ShipHero.