Life is getting quicker. We’ve now seen a two-hour marathon, a sub-20-hour 10,200-mile flight, and a nine-minute Amazon delivery. But these impressive feats aren’t just examples of human endurance and outstanding engineering. They demonstrate how speed grabs attention and differentiates the best players, and reminds sellers that you can achieve the same by using fast delivery to help your Shopify store stand out.
Why your Shopify store needs to stand out
There are now an estimated 1,075,875 eCommerce stores in the US, and that’s excluding online marketplace sellers. Never has it been more important for your Shopify or Shopify Plus store to stand out from the crowd to attract, convert, and retain customers. But also, never has it been more difficult.
Online marketplaces such as Walmart, eBay, and Amazon dominate the eCommerce playing field, thanks to their fast shipping programs, low prices, and reputable names. Large retailers flood the top of Google with their big advertising budgets and expert SEO teams. And comparable e-retailers undercut your prices using repricing software to stay one figure ahead.
But to compete has historically meant forgoing your own website, blowing your budget on marketing, or damaging your profits with price wars. Today, delivery speed joins the mix to help sellers protect their bottom line.
Why speed is your differentiator
Speed is exciting. It grabs attention, builds adrenaline, and, as you’ll notice from the introduction, makes headlines. And eCommerce is no different. With online retailers all competing on name, keywords, and price – name, keywords, and price are no longer distinguishing features. Speed, on the other hand, is. The average customer expectations for online delivery is 3 days, and many e-retailers are meeting, but not exceeding that expectation. This creates an unmissable opportunity to stand out from the average by offering fast delivery speeds than your competitors.
Not only can fast shipping help your Shopify store be seen and clicked on, but it can also help to increase your eCommerce conversion rates. It does this by:
- Appealing to risk-averse customers who worry about receiving their items on time
- Creating additional product value without lowering prices
- Driving a sense of urgency that results in fast purchasing decisions
- Offering customers the opportunity to satisfy their need for instant gratification
What is fast delivery
Before we go into detail about how fast shipping can help your Shopify store to stand out, let’s first cover what fast delivery is. Fast delivery means different things to different people, but one thing we can all agree on is that consumer expectations are getting faster, with the average expected delivery time decreasing by 21% in the past two years.
If you want your Shopify store to compete with online marketplace sellers, then your definition of fast delivery must match theirs, which currently stands at 2-days, as per their fast shipping programs. As a Shopify seller, you have two main ways to match the delivery speeds on online marketplaces:
1. In-house fulfilment
If you’re a small Shopify seller or have experience running a large fulfillment operation, then you could achieve fast shipping speeds with the right operations, software, and partners. Specifically, you need:
- Multiple warehouses – additional warehouses enable you to strategically locate stock around the country to reduce shipping distance, speed, and costs.
- Temporary staff – additional warehouse staff during the holidays and sale periods enable you to maintain 2-day delivery speeds while handling an increase in orders.
- A fulfillment lead – making someone accountable for fast shipping means that you have a person focused on optimizing your warehouse layout for speed, finding the right multi-channel inventory software to increase efficiencies, and partnering with the right shipping carriers for reliability.
2. Outsourced fulfillment
Outsourced fulfillment is ideal if you’re a medium- or larger-sized Shopify seller, or you don’t have the cost and resource to achieve 2-day delivery yourself. With an outsourced fulfillment partner, you send your stock to their warehouses, and leave them to fulfill orders to your customers. To find an outsourced fulfillment provider most suited to your shipping needs, it’s essential to consider:
- Capacity – if you sell across the country, then ideally you need a fulfillment provider who has enough warehouse locations to cover at least 95% of the US.
- Integrations – if you’re a multi-channel seller, then you want a provider who can unify your eCommerce fulfillment by directly integrating with your Shopify store and any other sales channels you sell on.
- Fast shipping programs – if you sell on Amazon, Walmart, or eBay, look for a provider who satisfies their program eligibility requirements.
- Fees – outsourced fulfillment shouldn’t be cost-prohibitive, so look for flat-rate pricing structures that include multiple sales channels.
How to make your fast delivery stand out online
But, achieving fast shipping speeds is only half the battle. For fast delivery to help your Shopify store stand out, your fast delivery needs to stand out by itself. You can do this by using the following:
Google and Bing
Prominence on Google and Bing is difficult, with many e-retailers competing for the same keywords and search result placement. However, you can use fast shipping to your SEO-advantage.
- Targeting new and less competitive keywords by incorporating fast shipping terms into your long-tail keyword strategy, for example, “2-day shipped eye cream” or “fast delivery man care”
- Making your search result listings stand out by referencing fast shipping in the meta descriptions for your Shopify store pages
- Running Google Ad campaigns that incorporate fast shipping into the ad copy and targeted keywords
These tactics should help to improve yours click-through rate, which in turn should improve your search result placement, getting your store’s link seen by more potential customers.
Facebook and Instagram
With more than two and a half billion active monthly users, Facebook and Instagram are ideal platforms for communicating your fast shipping benefits to your target audience. Mastering Instagram and Facebook for Shopify is a blog in itself, but some quick tips to get you started include:
- Sharing existing customer content about your delivery standards (such as photos, videos, and stores) to engage existing followers and demonstrate social proof.
- Using fast shipping hashtags to reach new followers and highlight your #2DayDelivery speeds.
- Running targeted ads that reference fast shipping in their copy and link to a landing page with a fast shipping banner.
Amazon and Walmart
Online marketplaces might not strike you as the first, second, or third place to advertise fast shipping on your Shopify store, but they can be extremely effective. Qualifying for fast shipping programs such as Amazon Prime and Walmart TwoDay delivery enables you to benefit from fast shipping tags, boosted search result placement, inclusion in filtered search queries, and buy box eligibility.
Together, these make your marketplace listings stand out and more likely to convert shoppers. Once you have converted a marketplace shopper and demonstrated your ability to ship items quickly, you can use post-purchase communications to drive future purchases directly to your Shopify store. Plus, with your ability to ship quickly via Shopify, it’s likely that you already meet many of the program requirements:
Amazon sellers can qualify for Amazon Prime using Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA), or Seller Fulfilled Prime (SFP). FBA comes with the advantages of automatic Prime qualification and Amazon’s extensive fulfillment experience, but it can be costly for multi-channel sellers. SFP can be more cost-effective for multi-channel sellers because it allows you to qualify for Prime using in-house fulfillment methods or a fulfillment partner. The eligibility requirements for SFP are:
- A 99% on-time shipping rate
- A 98.5% use of Amazon Buy Shipping Services
- A 0.5% or less cancellation rate
- Tracking IDs on 94% of orders
- A 4.5+ feedback rating over a rolling 30 days
- Impeccable delivery and customer service standards.
Walmart TwoDay delivery
Walmart sellers can qualify for Walmart’s fast shipping program by using Deliverr to qualify automatically. Alternatively, if you are a Walmart Marketplace seller of more than 90 days and have fulfilled at least 100 orders in the past month, you apply to qualify through in-house fulfillment. To do this, you must demonstrate:
- A generous returns policy
- On-time shipping rates above 95%
- On-time delivery rates above 95%
- Valid tracking rates above 95%
- Cancellation rates less than 1.5%
Fast and free
It’s not just fast deliveries that grab attention. Free deliveries encourage eight out of ten customers to buy online but that’s not an excuse to slow down your delivery speeds, especially not when Amazon and Walmart offer both. Instead, there are a number of ways to offer customers free and fast deliveries, without it impacting your profits. These include using unbranded packaging, implementing a minimum basket spend for free delivery, incorporating delivery costs into the product price, and using Shopify integrations to automate certain tasks and reduce staffing costs.
Tip: Use a fulfillment calculator to ensure that outsourced fulfillment doesn’t cost you more than doing it in-house.
How to make your fast delivery stand out on-site
Once your shipping speeds have attracted customers to your Shopify store, it’s time to use them to attract those customers to and through the checkout. You can achieve this through:
Fast shipping tags
Fast shipping tags aren’t just reserved for online marketplaces. With the right fulfillment partner, you can earn and display branded 2-day delivery tags and banners throughout your Shopify website. Fast shipping tags work to convert website visitors by making them consciously aware of your delivery options and subconsciously aware of the additional value this adds to your products. They can even work to overcome purchasing barriers that lead to cart abandonment, and increase average basket size.
Displaying a countdown timer of the time left to purchase a product and receive it within 2 days is a powerful way to highlight just how quickly you can deliver items. Not only that, but the sense of urgency created by a forever diminishing number can push customers to the checkout quicker, in fear of missing out on an offer.
Fast shipping guarantees
Nothing stands out more than the offer of free credit. By combining a fast shipping guarantee with the offer of store credit should you fail to deliver in time, you target customers’ love for freebies and the need to avoid risk at the same time. This can drive conversions, especially for last-minute shoppers and new customers.
Tip: If you use Deliverr to fulfill 2-day orders on Shopify, you can provide a $5 credit for any late deliveries, financed by Deliverr.
Next day deliveries
And to really stand out, consider upping your speeds above that of eBay and Walmart. With Amazon now offering 1-day Prime deliveries, it won’t be long before 2-day shipping no longer stands out. Beat your competition and turn customer heads by offering next-day deliveries at no extra cost to customers located near to your, or your fulfillment provider’s, warehouses.
How to make your fast delivery stand out in person
So you’ve used fast shipping to stand out online and on-site – now it’s time to make your fast deliveries stand out in person.
Delivering on time
It’s no good offering fast shipping if you can’t deliver it. Late deliveries lead to unhappy customers, negative reviews, and backlogs, which can affect your other shipments and future conversions. Avoid late deliveries by optimizing your order-to-door warehouse processes for speed. This includes using unbranded boxes to save packing time, rearranging your warehouse stations into a logical flow, and using order management software to ensure that orders are downloaded in real-time.
It’s also important to know the right time to outsource your fulfillment to an external provider. If you leave it too late, then you could fall behind and cause irreparable customer damage.
Offering outstanding customer support
If something does go wrong with a delivery, turn the situation into a positive one by providing exceptional customer support and guidance. This involves:
- Providing customers with multiple methods of getting in touch with you, including Facebook Messenger, email, SMS, and telephone.
- Responding to messages quickly, regardless of what channel your customer uses, and how busy your customer support staff are.
- Having meaningful conversations with your customers by filling your agents in on all of their details, including products purchased, delivery time, and contact information.
- Offering customers compensation for late deliveries and quick replacements for damaged items.
Rinsing and repeating
Fast shipping isn’t a one-time metric to be achieved for new customers only. If you really want to stand out and encourage repeat purchases and lifelong customers, then your delivery standards should remain consistent no matter how busy you are or what time of year it is.
Using fast delivery to play offense instead of defense
Few molds were broken by following the trend. Implementing 2-day delivery is like playing defense. You’re doing it to protect your revenue from competitors and marketplaces, and ensuring shoppers who do visit you get what they want.
Moving to NextDay delivery will move you to offense. Instead of just guarding your existing client base, you switch to growing your market and expanding your buyer base. Instead of shoppers visiting and finding what they want, they visit because you have what they want – speed.
Case studies: Shopify fast shipping in action
To really help you to understand how fast deliveries can make your Shopify store stand out, let’s take a look at some real-life examples.
When the 21-year-old cosmetics brand Vasanti launched on Shopify in early 2019, they needed to stand out and to do it quickly. They chose to implement 2-day shipping on a select number of products, using fast shipping tags and countdown timers to highlight these items on-site. They then launched a marketing strategy around their new speed offering that included social media campaigns, remarketing ads, and newsletters. The result has been a significant increase in sales for 2-day shipping eligible items.
Hip seat company TushBaby was struggling to direct customers away from their Amazon store and directly to their Shopify store. They came to the conclusion that delivery speed was what differentiated their two sales channels, and so they increased their Shopify delivery speeds to match Amazon’s 2-days. But that’s not all. To promote their Shopify store, they reinforced their 2-day delivery promise with fast shipping banners on every page, next-day deliveries for eligible zip codes, and shipping countdown timers next to their products. This resulted in a 30% lift in sales across their website, and a significant increase in return customers.
Chassis wanted an innovative way to reach customers and improve the shopping experience. For them, fast shipping was a no brainer, so they used quick shipping tags, banners, countdown timers, and NextDay delivery options to promote their Shopify website and make buying from them easier. Chassis’ promise of speed for its customers resulted in a double-digit conversion rate increase on Shopify, as well as an improved purchasing flow for its customers.
Fast shipping has become the new eCommerce differentiator, helping your store to stand out online and in the minds of your customers. By implementing 2-day or less delivery times, your Shopify store can compete against the big online marketplaces, step ahead of your competitors, and encourage your website visitors to and through the checkout. And, with the right in-house processes or outsourced fulfillment partner, achieving 2-day delivery is both achievable and affordable – all you need to do is shout about it.
Michael is one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 and the co-founder of Deliverr. Deliverr provides fast and affordable fulfillment for your Shopify, Walmart, Amazon, and eBay stores, helping to boost sales through programs like 2-day delivery.
This article was originally published by our friends at Gorgias.