In the age of Amazon Prime, 63% of all consumers now expect deliveries within 3 days or less. And if the current trend continues, those expectations will continue to rise.
How is your business meeting your customers’ delivery expectations? Can your customers consistently expect fast delivery?
Even if your company is performing well, there’s always room for improvement. With that in mind, check out these tips to ensure lightning quick deliveries every time.
Automate Your Fulfillment Process
The first thing you need to do is to eliminate manual processes from your shipping process. Manual tasks are usually where errors and inefficiencies occur.
Use shipping automation software like ShippingEasy and ShipStation to easily handle a number of tasks. Some of the best tasks to automate are manually filling out forms for shipping companies, creating bills, printing labels and choosing the right carrier. Automate all of these tasks and more to speed up shipping tasks and lower costs.
Streamline Your Processing
Streamlining your order fulfillment system means minimizing the shipping time frame for order placement to when the order ships.
Focus on two specific areas as you improve the efficiency of your system. First, look at the communication to the order packers. It is essential to notify order packers immediately after order placement. If your packers are also tasked with other duties, use automated SMS, two-way radio or phone calls to notify them.
You can also streamline the packing process by having a clean and organized shipping area equipped with plenty of box sizes, packing materials and tape dispensers on hand to facilitate faster packing.
It’s also important to assess your physical warehouse. Is it big enough to handle all your inventory and equipment?
You may be able to use a forklift to strategically reorganize the space, making your most popular products the most accessible.
Is better inventory control enough for your small business? Or do you need a larger warehouse?
If you’ve outgrown your warehouse, you might consider relocating closer to your customers. Being closer will improve delivery times. Faster deliveries build customer loyalty which leads to more sales.
Use Address Software
Many shipments do not arrive on time (or at all) due to an address error. That’s why your company needs to be double checking your customers’ addresses.
The post office and several delivery services rely on systemized databases. That means any deviation on the address, no matter how small, can slow your delivery time.
You can eliminate most of these issues with an address validation program. These programs bring uniformity to your address labels so postal machines can read them. They can also print barcodes on your packaging.
Another way these programs improve delivery speed is by checking your addresses against postal databases to make sure they are correct. In this way, address validation software eliminates problems and shipping delays before they occur.
Provide Delivery Date and Time of Day Delivery
It makes sense to provide an estimated delivery date when a customer places an order. But surprisingly, many companies still give an estimated time frame, such as three to five days. That’s not acceptable in 2019.
Not only should you give your customers an estimated delivery date, but you should also give them a time of day they can expect the delivery.
Customers don’t want to come home after a long day only to find a delivery notice on their door. This means they won’t receive their delivery for at least one more day. Customers also dislike packages left on their doorstep, leaving them vulnerable to theft.
Many customers prefer knowing a specific time window for the delivery of a package.
The best way to deliver within specified time windows is to use local services that will drive packages to your customers.
Try Drop Shopping
An alternative option is to drop ship your products. Instead of keeping your goods in house and incurring the inventory and overhead costs, you can have the manufacturer ship your goods directly to your customer. Shipping directly from the manufacturer saves you time and money.
Drop shipping is also a great way to increase your cash flow. That’s because you don’t stock the product or pay for it until it’s sold which, by definition, is after you receive payment for it.
You can also test new products easily and add new products to your line without having to order in large quantities and store them. You also don’t inherit the risk that the product may fail after you’ve already spent money on it.
Before switching to drop shipping only, run several test shipments to make sure deliveries are faster and reliable.
Use Multiple Warehouses
Using multiple warehouses to speed up your delivery process may be cost-prohibitive for most small businesses. But you can partner with a fulfillment center that has multiple locations in order to benefit from their capabilities.
If you are shipping a package from a warehouse in San Diego to a customer in Boston, your package will travel through several zones. This will likely push back your delivery time expectation to five days.
But if you have warehouses in San Diego and in New York City, you can speed up your delivery time considerably. Fulfill the order from your New York warehouse, and you should be able to deliver to Boston within two days.
Making a Fast Delivery Even Faster
More than 100 million Amazon shoppers are Amazon Prime members and are enjoying fast delivery times with every purchase. This is leading consumers to increase their expectations about delivery times.
Shoppers may not have a problem with a three-day shipping window, but as Amazon and other companies improve their delivery times, expectations will continue to rise.
So even if your company delivers packages promptly, it’s a good idea to stay ahead of the curve. Automate your system and streamline your shipping process. Use address validating software and assess your warehouse capability. Consider whether partnering with a fulfillment center or drop shipping products are viable options.
Ultimately, we are leading to the point of instant gratification. Check out why your business needs same-day delivery now.