Amazon’s Prime Now service promises eligible customers free two-hour delivery of everything from toilet paper to electronics, with one-hour delivery available for $4.99. But is this quick turnaround necessary for online businesses to win customers? According to a recent survey of consumers, 61 percent of those surveyed want one- to three-hour delivery turnaround on a purchase, with 31 percent willing to pay a premium to get it.
For small online businesses interested in competing with big-box retailers, that sort of rapid turnaround can seem impossible. However, every business can do a few things to speed up delivery time for customers.
One of the best ways to provide top-quality delivery services is to contract with an expert. Services like Fulfillment by Amazon and Shipwire let you ship your products to them, so they can be dispatched directly to customers across the country when an order is placed. Since these companies specialize in fulfillment, you’ll have the benefit of their expertise, which will allow you to concentrate on what you do best. For some businesses, though, the fees that come with these services may cut too deeply into earnings, which may encourage them to seek out DIY options instead.
Ship from Your Store
If you have multiple locations, a separate fulfillment center may not be the best option for you. For example, during the busy holiday season, Target chose to leverage its many locations by shipping Black Friday items directly from their stores. For locally owned stores interested in selling online, setting up a small fulfillment center in the storeroom can provide a big boost to monthly earnings.
Hire Specialized Fulfillment Staff
While major shipping services can deliver packages fast and reliably, if your own staff can’t quickly dispatch items once an order is placed, every order will see significant lag time. Hiring dedicated fulfillment staff and putting processes in place to make sure orders are in transit as quickly as possible can make a big difference. During busy seasons, hire additional staff well in advance and train them on your procedures to make sure you’re ready to meet demand.
Choose the Right Delivery Service
As many businesses learned during the recent holiday season, not all shipping services are equal. Selecting the wrong carrier can lead to a devastating dent in your customer base since many customers will choose to shop elsewhere if you get their items to them late. Closely monitor your shipments to make sure your carrier is getting items to your customers in the promised delivery time and take swift action if you start noticing packages are showing up late.
Speedy package delivery can help a growing business win new customers and compete with much larger companies. By setting up systems that shorten the time it takes to get items from your warehouse or office location to customers’ homes, you’ll show you’re a brand that can be trusted. This is especially important during busy times of the year, when demand for your products is higher.