Offering 2-day shipping on your Shopify store is crucial for online success—but how can you match the lightning-fast speeds of Amazon and, more importantly, how can you afford to?
In this article, we’ll look at how your Shopify store can offer 2-day shipping to boost conversions, without breaking the bank.
First, let’s talk about what it really means when we talk about 2-day shipping. While it seems simple to the customer, the logistics to make it happen on your side are a bit more complicated.
What does 2-day shipping mean?
Two-day shipping is a fulfillment standard where the time between someone placing an order and receiving that order is 2 days or less.
There may be some flexibility here depending on how your store communicates the expectation of when the clock starts and what constitutes a “day”.
Depending on your internal processes and order cut-off times, this could be two calendar days or two business days from when a customer places an order on your website.
For example, a store with a 2 p.m. order cut-off time would deliver an order received on Monday morning (before 2 p.m.) the following Wednesday, and an order received on Monday evening (after 2 p.m.) the following Thursday.
Ultimately, it’s down to you when the clock starts ticking.
The quicker it starts, the more competitive your Shopify store and the more outstanding your customers’ post-purchase experience becomes.
How does 2-day shipping work?
Delivering orders in two days requires a slick and efficient fulfillment process.
Here’s a high-level overview of how it all works:
1) Two-day shipping is advertised as a shipping option
First, you advertise 2-day shipping on your website, product pages, and/or checkout page, and a customer selects this option when placing an order.
Customizing your store pages (with Page Builder, for instance) allows you to put this important and alluring information wherever you need across your store, helping you to drive more sales.
Depending on the technology used, you might offer 2-day shipping to all customers or specific locations only.
For example: Huggaroo offers free 2-day shipping depending on the customer’s zip code. They even have a neat countdown widget that tells customers exactly how long they have left to order for 2-day shipping.
2. Order is placed and routed to the correct warehouse and department
A customer places an order on your Shopify store and selects 2-day shipping.
If you use an order management system, the order is automatically registered in real-time and routed based on your configuration.
It could go to your priority fulfillment partner, or a certain warehouse with available stock.
For example: To make 2-day shipping more efficient, Deliverr strategically places inventory as close as possible to predicted demand, based on historic order data. This shortens the distance between our merchants’ inventory and their buyers, speeding up delivery times.
3. Order is picked and packed for shipment
Your warehouse team picks and packs the order using suitable packaging.
A shipping label is then auto-generated from the order details and attached to the parcel, ready for collection by the shipping carrier.
4. Order is collected by the shipping carrier
Your shipping carrier collects your deliveries (or you deliver them to a local sorting office) and the shipping journey begins.
Depending on the amount of time left, and distance to travel, the journey may include overnight shipping, air shipping, or ground shipping.
5. Order received by the customers
The customer receives their order within two days of placing it—none the wiser about the hard work behind the scenes.
As you can see, the two day shipping process leaves you with little time for error.
Therefore, efficiencies, inventory distribution, and fast shipping services are crucial for maximizing the time you have and ensuring orders arrive on time, every time.
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Why is 2-day shipping so important?
It’s a common misconception that 2-day shipping is reserved for fast shipping programs like Amazon Prime and Walmart TwoDay, and that Shopify sellers can ship at the industry standard of 3-5 days.
While there is no requirement to offer 2-day shipping on your Shopify store, there are many commercial benefits of doing so.
1. Match the speeds of online marketplaces
To compete with and attract customers away from online marketplaces, you must match the shipping speeds of Amazon, Walmart, and eBay—which means shipping in two days or fewer.
This enables you to generate direct sales, avoid marketplace fees, and grow a brand independent of online marketplaces.
2. Increase visibility
Getting your ecommerce website seen by customers is one of the hardest yet most important tasks when building your Shopify store.
Two-day delivery increases visibility through:
SEO: Targeting fast-shipping-related keywords, such as “coffee beans fast delivery,” or “next-day delivery shampoo”.
Google Shopping ads: Adding fast shipping tags to your Google Shopping ads, making them stand out from other ads.
Session length: Increasing the time shoppers spend on your website (by eliminating the primary reasons for cart abandonment) and consequently improving your search engine ranking.
3. Enhance the pre-purchase experience
Online shopping is no longer a chore—it’s an experience. The more you invest in that experience, the more competitive you become against other sellers.
Two-day delivery enhances the pre-purchase experience through:
Trust: Nearly half of all shoppers say quick deliveries increase their trust in a brand. Two-day shipping speeds signal that you care about and invest in the customer experience.
Convenience: A combination of different delivery speeds and cost options allows customers to choose the most convenient method. They can arrange to be in for delivery and don’t spend time wondering when (or if) their order will arrive.
Value: Free, fast delivery increases the perceived value of the shopping cart, which makes your prices feel lower.
For example, pregnancy and ovulation test brand Pregmate advertises free 2-day shipping throughout the pre-purchase journey to create these feelings of trust, confidence, and value.
4. Enhance the post-purchase experience
The most important thing to remember about the customer experience is that most of it lies beyond the buy button.
The time spent waiting for, receiving, and using your products can often be even longer than the time spent on your website.
Two-day delivery enhances the post-purchase experience by:
Reducing wait time: There’s less time for customers to become anxious, frustrated, or annoyed while waiting for their delivery.
Increasing certainty: Customers know when their order will arrive, which removes uncertainty and reduces “where is my order?” calls.
Delivering instant gratification: Customers get to use, play with, try on, or taste their order quicker—speeding up the gratification that comes with receiving a gift.
How much does it cost for your store to offer 2-day shipping?
The costs associated with doing your own fulfillment will differ from those that come with third party or outsourced fulfillment options.
The cost of in-house 2-day shipping
The costs involved in providing 2-day deliveries in-house include:
Warehousing costs: storage space, staff, and inventory software.
Packaging costs: packaging, dunnage, printing, and inserts.
Shipping service: 48-hour, 24-hour, or overnight delivery.
Optional extras: tracking, insurance, and branded boxes.
The cost of outsourced 2-day shipping
An all-inclusive fulfillment partner charges two fees for fulfilling 2-day deliveries:
Storage costs: charged per cubic foot per month.
Fulfillment costs: based on weight and dimensions.
These costs include handling, picking, and packing costs.
Other outsourced fulfillment options, such as a 3PL, may charge additional fees, including set-up, account management, returns processing, and unplanned services.
How can your store affordably offer 2-day shipping?
The costs accrued from fast shipping can quickly add up when you’re trying to achieve it in-house. Outsourcing fulfillment can help keep your business lean and efficient.
Here are a few tips to start offering 2-day shipping as quickly and seamlessly as possible:
1. Pick the right fulfillment method for your store’s size
You have a few general options for your Shopify fulfillment: In-house, third party, and marketplace fulfillment providers.
In-house fulfillment is cheaper for small-scale Shopify stores with low order volumes.
Typically, you’ll be fulfilling orders from your home or office, saving on storage costs.
This is a great option if you’re just starting out and learning the ins and outs of your product, customers, and business operations.
Shopify has their own shipping arm called Shopify Shipping, which allows you to connect your account to their carriers.
This can be a good option if you’re focusing on your Shopify store, but don’t do much in the way of multi-channel selling.
Multi-channel FBA is an affordable option for sellers who already have inventory in FBA for their Amazon stores, and do a few additional sales here and there on Shopify, Walmart, and other platforms.
Multi-channel FBA is not the same as FBA, and charges a premium for shipping non-Amazon orders—so this is often used as a temporary measure until Shopify sales gain momentum.
Outsourced fulfillment is more efficient for large or fast-growing Shopify stores, which need space to distribute inventory, resources to keep up with orders, and intelligent shipping software to avoid mistakes.
For example, you’ll want seamless inventory management and strategic stock distribution.
An additional benefit to outsourcing fulfillment, when you use a multi-channel partner, is you only have to send your inventory into one warehouse network and you get coverage (and nationwide 2-day shipping) across all your sales channels.
2. Distribute inventory
The closer your inventory sits to end customers, the less distance it must travel, allowing you to use cheaper shipping services.
Ideally, you want a wide network of warehouses to cover nationwide demand and place your inventory across the country so you can offer 2-day shipping no matter which zipcode your buyers are in.
If you can’t achieve this in-house, look for a fulfillment service with a network of warehouses across the country and intelligent distribution software that places inventory based on historical demand.
Alternatively, you can offer 2-day shipping in select locations—or, if you’re feeling extra competitive, offer next-day delivery to customers closest to your warehouses.
3. Offer realistic shipping speeds
Offering 2-day shipping regardless of buyer location and your warehouse network is a fast way to burn through money—or customer satisfaction with late deliveries.
Instead, you should be using real-time inventory positioning, paired with zip code captures to show realistic shipping speeds on your website and ads.
Based on your buyer’s delivery address, you can highlight how soon they need to order to get 2-day shipping or even next day delivery.
For example, take a look at a Facebook ad from shoe retailer Hey Dude Shoes.
Hey Dude uses dynamic shipping tags to add delivery speeds relevant to their customer’s location. This helps their ads stand out while making sure they never over-promise on delivery speeds.
4. Set minimum spend requirements
We know that fast and free delivery increases conversions.
However, many merchants are concerned about the costs that come with 2-day shipping speeds and giving it away for free.
To remedy this, you can require a minimum spend to unlock free and fast shipping. This helps boost your average order volume to offset offering free shipping.
Another way to approach this is to build your shipping costs into your pricing, or use a fulfillment service that offers a flat-rate 2-day shipping fee for nationwide orders.
5. Offer free shipping as a loyalty reward
Retaining customers with a loyalty program is an excellent way to extend your customer lifetime value and boost your revenue.
Not only is it faster and cheaper to keep a customer than acquire a new one, it’s also much easier to make connections with D2C customers than marketplace shoppers.
Cosmetics retailer Vasanti offers loyal customers free shipping when they accrue 1,000 points via its loyalty scheme.
By doing so, they raise average order value, which helps fund free 2-day shipping.
What Shopify integrations are available for 2-day shipping?
The critical thing to remember is that you’re not alone when it comes to 2-day shipping, with various Shopify shipping apps, tools, and services to help you do it right.
Shopify fulfillment partners integrate directly with your Shopify store to download orders, route them to the correct warehouse (closest to your buyer), and begin the picking process as quickly as possible.
Like Deliverr, who also adds branded fast shipping tags and banners to your Shopify store and dynamic shipping tags to your Facebook, Instagram, and Google Shopping ads.
Label printing services
Label printing services integrate with your Shopify store and shipping carrier to print shipping labels and update order details, so you don’t have to.
Two-day delivery is a standard that’s fast becoming the minimum expectation for DTC consumers.
Online marketplaces promise it, customers want it, and your competitors are already beginning to offer it. So, it’s worth your time to start figuring out how to best make it a reality for your store.
Delivering orders within two days requires an efficient, streamlined fulfillment process. Without it, shipping will quickly get expensive.
Luckily, merchants of any size can offer 2-day shipping with the right fulfillment partner and strategic inventory distribution.
The question isn’t whether you can afford 2-day shipping on your Shopify store, but can you afford not to?
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Rachel is a remote marketing manager with a background in building scalable content engines. She creates content that wins customers for B2B eCommerce companies like MyFBAPrep, Shogun, and more. In the past, she has scaled organic acquisition efforts for companies like Deliverr and Skubana.