Why Same-Day Shipping is Vital for Your Small Business

To win the hearts of online shoppers, find ways to get your products in their hands as quickly as possible.
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Stay competitive in an on-demand world by offering same-day shipping to customers. (Photo: Rawpixel/Shutterstock)

With a smartphone in the palm of nearly every American’s hand, the ability to quickly gratify consumer demands is becoming more than a means of differentiation — it’s critical to your small business’ success.

To remain competitive, small business owners must find ways to capitalize on so-called “micro-moments” and provide shoppers with fast — even instant — access to their goods. And for an e-commerce merchant, that means providing options for same-day shipping.

An on-demand world

When searching online, consumers want more than information. They want products, and they want them now.

“We are living in an increasingly on-demand world,” said Daphne Carmeli, founder and CEO of same-day delivery startup Deliv. “With time as one of our most precious commodities, consumers have quickly begun to expect everything to be available when they want it.”

According to Think With Google, mobile searches related to “same-day shipping” have grown over 120 percent since 2015, with queries peaking during morning hours. In fact, McKinsey & Company found that nearly a quarter (23 percent) of consumers are willing to pay a premium to get their purchases quickly, and predicts that same-day and instant delivery will make up a quarter of the package delivery market by 2025.

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According to Think With Google, mobile searches related to “same-day shipping” have grown over 120 percent since 2015, with queries peaking during morning hours. (Photo: Think With Google)

Related: 4 E-Commerce Trends to Dial Into for Black Friday/Cyber Monday

Expedited shipping vs. same-day delivery

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According to Brian Gibbs, founder of Refund Retriever, same-day shipping means that a client’s order will leave the warehouse the same day as checkout, while same-day delivery indicates door-to-door delivery within hours of checkout. (Photo: Brian Gibbs)

It’s important for business owners to understand the difference between same-day shipping and same-day delivery, said Brian Gibbs, founder of Refund Retriever, a service that helps business analyze shipping costs, negotiate contracts and more.

“Same-day shipping means that the client’s order will leave the warehouse the same day as checkout, but there is no guarantee on actual arrival date. The estimated time of arrival for an order depends on the shipping method selected during checkout,” he said. “Same-day delivery indicates door-to-door delivery within hours of checkout.”

While most consumers today still don’t expect to receive their product in the mail the same day as purchase, Gibbs said they do want to know their order will be shipped to them as quickly as possible and when the shipment will arrive at their doorstep. However, with on-demand services like Amazon Prime Now growing in popularity, same-day delivery is becoming the norm in the not-so-distant future, he said.

Related: 7 Ways to Optimize Your E-Commerce Checkout Experience

Remaining competitive in a fast-paced market

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Give customers regular status updates by email, and always include a tracking number and estimated time of delivery. (Photo: mavo/Shutterstock)

With so many options available to online shoppers, it’s easy to find alternative products that can arrive sooner, rather than later. The key to remaining competitive is finding ways to get online orders out the door quickly and providing a stellar customer experience all along the way, said Gibbs.

Once you decide which shipping policies make the most sense for your business and target audience, make sure shoppers are clear on what to expect by making it easy to find on your small business website. Clearly indicate whether your on-demand option includes same-day delivery or only guarantees getting the package to the shipping provider by end of day.

Once the order is complete, give the customer regular status updates, such as an email notification as soon as the package was picked up by the carrier, a tracking number for the package and an estimate on time of delivery.

“If you offer same-day shipping on a package, communicate you complied with this promise by sending an email once that package is in the carrier’s control,” advised Gibbs. “Having an email confirmation that informs me the product is in the distribution network alleviates concerns of any delay on the part of the seller.”

Related: Win More Business with Better Post-Purchase Emails

Remember, regardless of how you choose to implement a swift shipping option, the way to a consumer’s heart is through instant gratification. Whether you offer free expedited shipping or partner with an on-demand delivery courier, look for ways to get your wares in shoppers’ hands as quickly as possible.

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