How Online Stores Can Use Speed to Compete With Marketplaces


When selling on your own eCommerce store on Shopify, you’re not only competing against other Shopify stores and small retailers. You’re competing against huge multinational corporations, with big budgets, huge product selections, and big followings.

However, something as simple as speed can help your online store to compete with marketplaces and win the war for shoppers.

Online marketplaces are dominating the holiday period with flash sales, large marketing campaigns, and incentivizing offers. And it’s working. Walmart, Amazon, and eBay are conquering the industry, together accounting for 52.9% of all eCommerce sales

In response, many Shopify stores are using social media, Google Ads, Shopify SEO, and low prices to keep up. But, with everyone offering the same items and prices, these tactics are chasing existing customers instead of attracting new customers.

In this article, we’ll talk about how to use speed on your own eCommerce store to compete in Q4.

Speed is your secret weapon in eCommerce

Social media, organic ranking, and advertising all makes shoppers aware of your store, but speed gets them excited about it.

Fast shipping is one of the top purchase drivers when buying online because it appeals to the subconscious’ desire for:

  • Instant gratification – receiving purchases as quickly as possible. 
  • Safety – ensuring orders arrive in time for the purpose they were bought. 
  • Security – securing a product before it is sold out. 

And while many Shopify sellers are slowly responding to the increasing expectations surrounding delivery speeds, online marketplaces are already there.

Amazon Prime, Walmart 2-day delivery, and eBay Fast N’ Free are all examples of marketplaces using speed as their secret weapon. And, with the secret out, there’s no reason individual sellers can’t use speed in their online stores to compete. 

5 Ways to infuse speed to improve your buyers’ experience

There are many ways to inject speed into your online store, from your website itself to delivery speeds. 

1. Website ranking

While Shopify SEO is a long-term game, there are some tactics for ranking your store high on Google quickly.

  • Target long-tail keywords and use them in content across your website. 
  • Use a theme optimized for SEO, including clear navigation and product pages. 
  • Register your website on Google.
  • Activate an SSL certificate. 
  • Increase clicks using Google Ads.

2. Desktop speed

40% of your store’s visitors will leave if your website takes longer than three seconds to load. For your Shopify store to compete with marketplaces, you need your website to load in two seconds or less.

Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to find out the current speed of your website and to identify and solve any website problems that are impacting this number.

3. Mobile speed

PracticalEcommerce predicts mobile sales will outpace desktop sales this Christmas. But, with more than half of mobile shoppers abandoning a website that takes longer than three seconds to load, speed becomes even more critical.

Boost the loading speed of your mobile store by using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) to strip down the HTML elements, increase your speed, and rank you higher on Google’s mobile search results.

4. Fast shipping

With 1- and 2-day delivery available on online marketplaces, you might think your Shopify store can’t compete. However, there are five simple methods for meeting and even exceeding the speed offered by Amazon, Walmart, and eBay. 

Free 2-day delivery

Amazon might claim to offer free, fast shipping, but with a requirement to spend $25 or $12.99 per month on Prime membership, it’s not really free.

By optimizing your fulfillment operation by outsourcing, sellers of any size can achieve 2-day delivery on Shopify. And, by using the following tactics, you can offer this benefit for free:

  • Use multiple warehouse locations to get items near demand
  • Use a fulfillment calculator to calculate the cheapest fulfillment method for your online store

Fast shipping tags

Online shoppers often associate free deliveries with online marketplaces and expensive shipping fees with smaller retailers.

Overcome this misconception by proudly displaying branded free 2-day delivery badges through the entire customer journey. This alerts customers of your fast shipping speeds, while also appealing to those subconscious desires we mentioned earlier on.

For example, check out the fast shipping banner on TushBaby’s website and the results it got.

Screen Shot 2019-12-08 at 7.37.43 PM

Countdown timers

Sometimes, fast shipping doesn’t feel that fast because customers miss the cut-off time to order. Avoid this with a 2-day delivery countdown timer on your product page.

Take a look at this example from Vasanti and how it helped boost their Shopify sales.

Screen Shot 2019-12-08 at 7.37.49 PM

This clearly displays how long a shopper has left to benefit from your 2-day delivery, while also creating a sense of urgency that can encourage a sale.

Guaranteed deliveries

While online marketplaces offer compensation for late deliveries, this isn’t widely advertised. You can stand out from the crowd by clearly and proudly offering a store credit guarantee for any orders that don’t arrive within 2-days.

Screen Shot 2019-12-08 at 7.37.53 PM

Tip: Deliverr merchants can offer a $5 credit to buyers if orders arrive late, financed by Deliverr.

Not only is this a talking point, but the compensation offered acts to reassure new customers and decrease the risk of buying from a different online seller. 

NextDay delivery

Finally, NextDay brings you from defense (having the same offer as marketplaces) to offense (providing an even faster service, consistently).

Amazon is the leader in speed, with 1-day deliveries for Prime members in some locations. You should be working to offer the same or better on your own website by using multiple warehouses of your own, or a fulfillment partner with warehouse locations across the US, so you can offer NextDay delivery in certain areas.

5. Customer service

Finally, to really compete against the big three, implement speed into your customer service operations to quickly solve issues, build trust, and secure loyal customers.

You can achieve this by using a Shopify Facebook messenger bot to answer questions promptly, sending timely tracking information, so customers know their order is on its way, and automating post-purchase emails to say thank you.

Final thoughts

In the busy world of eCommerce, it seems that speed is forever getting faster. But, to compete against other sellers and marketplaces, speed is a necessity for your Shopify store. Try implementing the above tactics to achieve speed and have a record-breaking holiday period.  

This is a guest post from Michael Krakaris. 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 for Shopify, Walmart 2-day delivery, Seller Fulfilled Prime, and eBay Fast n’ Free.

Deliverr’s FBA-like multi-channel fulfillment comes with clear pricing, easy on-boarding and a hassle free experience so you can focus on growing your eCommerce business.

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This article was originally published by our friends at OctaneAI.

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