In 2005, Amazon announced the creation of Amazon Prime, which would provide subscribers with free two-day shipping on select items.
This was a turning point for the ecommerce industry.
After the release of Prime, customers came to expect their packages to arrive faster than ever before. Online stores were forced to figure out how to offer two-day shipping themselves, or else they’d lose customers to Amazon and any of their other competitors that were able to offer faster shipping.
For many orders, Amazon Prime now even offers free same-day shipping.
Introducing Same-Day Shipping to Your Store
Making same-day shipping an option on your store will help you stay one step ahead of the competition. And it doesn’t even need to be for free — a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that 41% of consumers were willing to pay an extra fee for same-day shipping.
Same-day shipping is especially important if your customer base is disproportionately young, as 54% of consumers under 25 reported that it’s their number one purchase driver. For this age group, same-day shipping is even more attractive than free shipping.
Below, we’ll go over your options for making same-day shipping available to your customers.
Using a Carrier for Same-Day Shipping
Major shipping carriers such as UPS and FedEx now offer same-day shipping services. Let’s review what they have to offer:
UPS provides the following same-day delivery options:
- Air: Next-flight-out service is available within North America and between major cities worldwide.
- Surface: Ground transportation is available within the U.S. and into Canada and Mexico.
- Charter: Air charter service is available worldwide.
- Hand Carry: A courier will pick up your shipment and deliver it directly to the customer — this service is available within the U.S. and in many international locations.
- Secure: Additional security can be provided for your shipment as needed.
- Inside Precision: White glove services are available for particularly valuable items.
- Value Added Services: Specialized equipment and handling can be provided for your shipment as needed.
You’ll need to fill out the UPS Express Critical Quick Quote form in order to place a same-day shipping order.
Fedex also offers multiple options for same-day shipping:
- SameDay Direct: Packages will be delivered directly to the customer without any stops. This service is available 24/7 in select metro areas.
- SameDay City Priority: Arrival times for packages range from two hours (0-15 miles) to seven hours (60+ miles). As with SameDay Direct, this service is available 24/7 in select metro areas.
- SameDay City Standard: Packages will be delivered within four hours of pickup. This service is only available Monday to Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for deliveries within 45 miles in select metro areas. Also, shipments must be ready for pickup by 4 p.m.
- SameDay City Economy: For shipments to a business, packages will be delivered by 5 p.m. if they’re ready for pickup by 12 p.m. For shipments to a residence, packages will be delivered by 8 p.m. if they’re ready by 3 p.m. This service is only available Monday to Friday (7 a.m. to 5 p.m. for deliveries to businesses, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. for deliveries to residences) for deliveries within 45 miles in select metro areas.
- SameDay City Route: After working out a contract with FedEx, shipments will be picked up and delivered on a regularly scheduled route. This service is available 24/7 in select metro areas.
- SameDay: Depending on availability, packages will be delivered within hours of being picked up. This service is available 24/7 in all of the United States.
- SameDay Freight: The FedEx delivery services listed above all have a weight limit for shipments between 150 pounds to 250 pounds. For shipments that weigh more than 150 pounds, you can use SameDay Freight — as with SameDay, this service is available 24/7 in all of the United States, and packages will be delivered within hours of being picked up depending on availability.
Using an Order Fulfillment Service for Same-Day Shipping
The problem with working directly with a carrier for same-day delivery is that this approach can be quite expensive.
For this reason, small and medium-sized businesses should look to using an order fulfillment service for their same-day shipping needs. These services ship a high number of products on behalf of all their clients, which allows them to negotiate lower rates with shipping carriers. Also, they have extensive networks of warehouses that help them facilitate quick deliveries across a wide service area.
Order fulfillment services can handle tasks such as storage, picking, packaging, labeling and kitting as well. This will provide you with much more time to focus on other areas of your business.
The following order fulfillment companies stand out as your best options for same-day fulfillment:
With Shipwire same-day shipping, orders submitted before 5:30 a.m. local warehouse time (LWT) are guaranteed to be shipped out the same day.
Even if you don’t make the 5:30 a.m. cutoff, you are still often able to get same-day shipping with this service. Shipwire will attempt to make a same-day delivery for orders submitted before 10:30 a.m. LWT for an extra $1 fee, and they’ll attempt to fulfill orders submitted before 1:30 p.m. LWT for an extra $2.50 fee. If they’re not able to make the shipment in these post-5:30 a.m. cases, the fee will be refunded and the shipment is guaranteed to go out the next day.
Also, keep in mind that your items must be in-stock at your order fulfillment company’s warehouse for them to process same-day shipments. You’ll need to look at your sales trends and anticipate demand in order to ensure that the warehouses are appropriately stocked and same-day delivery is an available option for your customers.
Red Stag Fulfillment
Red Stag Fulfillment’s same-day delivery service is particularly impressive, as its cut-off time extends all the way to 5 p.m. And you don’t need to just take the company’s word for it — this service level is backed up by its order fulfillment guarantees.
Printful offers same-day shipping for orders that are placed before 12 p.m.
With facilities in both the United States and Europe, Printful is an excellent order fulfillment option for stores that regularly make international sales. Its fees for same-day delivery are as follows (note that orders fulfilled in Europe may be subject to an additional value-added tax):
- Fulfillment: $2 per package in the U.S., €1.75 per item in Europe
- Picking: $0.95 per item in the U.S., €0.80 per item in Europe
Receiving, processing and barcoding are provided for free, and packaging materials are provided at cost.
Weighing the Costs and Benefits
While using an order fulfillment company for same-day shipping should save you money compared to directly using a carrier, it can still add up to a substantial cost for your business.
But all you need to do is take a step back and look at the big picture to understand the value of same-day shipping. Even if you offer this service for free, the number of new customers and sales it generates should make up for its cost and then some.
Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.