2-day delivery has been available for a long time, albeit a very expensive option historically. Amazon is probably responsible for popularizing 2-day delivery at a reasonable cost, but it was only a matter of time before somebody provided this service at an affordable price point. Other carriers have been quick to respond, businesses and consumers now find themselves with more options than ever before. This is important because the availability of 2-day shipping can be a make or break decision for online shoppers.
When shopping for common, widely available items, customers will generally pick the lowest cost retailer, who can also get it to them fastest. For most consumers, there is a price point that justifies a longer wait, but that price point varies by consumer and by product. If you can’t sell it cheap, you need to ship it fast. If you can’t do either, ecommerce consumers will avoid you.
But what about specialty items? Items that are not widely available and are often only available to purchase from the manufacturer. The customer has already decided they want that item, and despite their desire to have the item as quickly as possible, slower shipping services are generally not a deal breaker for them. These customers are more likely to pay to upgrade the shipping speed, or to spend more in order to get free or upgraded shipping.
Some conclude that premium items should be shipped via premium services, but does it diminish the customer’s experience if it takes longer than 2 days to receive? Contrary to conventional logic, research suggests that a prolonged anticipation period increases enjoyment of the experience. Despite the fact that nobody would prefer to wait longer than necessary, marinating in that feeling of excitement increases the probability of purchase satisfaction. Conversely, the same waiting period that increases anticipation, will also amplify dissatisfaction if the product fails to meet their expectations.
For many companies, the cost of scratching this 2-day delivery itch is prohibitive. However, if you are in a highly competitive industry, the lost opportunity cost of not having an affordable 2-day option may exceed the actual cost. Partnering with the right 3PL is a great way to reduce your shipping rates by pooling your volume with the combined volumes of all 3PL clients.
Now that you have decided your company is going to offer 2-day shipping, you will want to take some time to thoughtfully consider how to present this to your customers. Carefully detailing the limitations of your shipping program will certainly help you avoid unexpected expenses and angry customers. While most consumers do live in an area where 2-day shipping is readily available, there are consumers that live in areas that make 2-day shipping impossible or cost prohibitive. Claiming “Free 2 Day Shipping” on all orders without disclaiming exceptions exposes you to risks that are beyond your control.
Your strategy for implementing your company’s 2-day shipping program should consider several different variables when determining eligibility:
Partnering with a reputable 3PL, like Enlinx, will give you the tools and guidance you need to design a successful shipping program while also helping mitigate potential risks. From time to time, your program should be reviewed and modified accordingly. When changes need to be made, you should be able
to rely on your 3PL to provide the tools and expertise to assess the impacts and identify any gaps that may exist.