What Happened to Amazon Prime’s Two-day Shipping?
Over the last few months, many people have noticed that the signature benefit of Amazon in the beginning, two-day shipping options, is no longer an option when purchasing an item. The two-day shipping option has slowly morphed into sometimes even five-to-six-day shipping, and even up to a week delay.
The reason? Amazon now clarifies that “two-day shipping guarantee” as the time it takes to get your order processed and in the possession of a carrier. Essentially, after the product gets to the carrier, the two-day shipping promise no longer applies to the actual arrival of that item. And with the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s uncertain if the two-day delivery idea will ever return to Amazon at all.
What Is Two-day Shipping?
Two-day shipping technically starts when the carrier (FedEx, UPS, etc.) holds the inventory of the purchase. Air and ground shipping are the two most common delivery methods for the majority of companies that offer two-day shipping.
Air shipping is self-explanatory: Airplanes and cargo-planes fly inventory from all over the world to a destination. This form of shipping is usually much more expensive than ground shipping but can be the only guaranteed shipping option when shipping overseas.
Trucks and other cargo vehicles carry packages in ground shipping. Due to ground shipping usually encompassing a much shorter distance, it tends to be cheaper overall than air shipping. The majority of sellers will utilize fulfillment centers or warehouses to better meet their promise of two-day shipping times.
Benefits Of Two-day Shipping
1. Meeting Customers’ Expectations
When Amazon introduced two-day shipping, many other ecommerce and commercial businesses followed suit in order to keep up with the demands of the modern customer. Ever since this point, two-day shipping has become the standard of any ecommerce purchase from the majority of businesses across the country and even the world. Two-day shipping is now the baseline.
Customers seeing wait times as long as four to five days are now choosing to shop elsewhere in order to avoid these shipping delays. Ensuring two-day shipping of your ecommerce products demonstrates you understand and are meeting what the customer is expecting, and the benefits of meeting and exceeding expectations can help a company in many ways.
2. Building Customer Loyalty
If a customer knows their product will arrive on time from a certain company, they’re more likely to return to that company with the expectation that they will meet all the needs shipping-wise. Consistency in shipping times is key to building trust with the customer that their order will be arriving on their doorstep the same time and day that was stated to them when it was purchased.
Establishing customer loyalty through consistent and reliable two-day shipping times will help establish a customer base that comes back time after time.
3. Reducing Cart Abandonment
When people go buy something from an ecommerce shop or company, their intention is to buy the item and have it arrive as soon as possible for use. With two-day shipping, you are reassuring the customer that the item they are thinking about purchasing will arrive when they need it and not later on.
Two-day shipping creates a sense of urgency with the customer on the product’s arrival. If the customer knows the product will be delivered quickly and consistently, they will be more confident in clicking the checkout button and actually completing the transaction.
Should All Sellers Offer Two-day Shipping?
When possible, all ecommerce sellers should offer two-day shipping to all of their customers. Customers have been shown to completely cancel their orders if shipping times are not up to their speed standards, which means offering two-day shipping creates extra sales.
How To Keep Two-day Shipping Costs Low
Utilize Fulfillment Centers With Ground Shipping
Reduce shipping costs by keeping the right amount of inventory and having fulfillment centers strategically placed in your market. Fulfillment centers allow companies to strategically store their products to make two-day shipping logistically efficient and cheap, versus having one centered storage location serving a wider geographic area.
The shorter a package has to travel, the less costly it will be to ship.
Offer Two-day Shipping to Certain Zip Codes
If you have only one fulfillment center or are otherwise restricted on inventory storage and fulfillment locations, offering two-day shipping to certain geographic areas or zip codes can help manage expectations.
If your fulfillment center is in New York, for instance, shipping to nearby counties and zip codes will be cheaper and less costly than fulfilling two-day shipping to Los Angeles. Be sure to have your website dynamically change the shipping options depending upon the potential customer’s location.
Fulfill Orders From Multiple Warehouses
Only having one warehouse location limits the ability of a company to provide two-day shipping options to more than a single region. Extending two-day shipping to multiple regions of the country via having multiple storage locations can open up more sales opportunities in those other regions of the country.
Having multiple fulfillment locations can also reduce the need of air shipping options to reach certain geographic areas; distributing inventory and fulfillment operations allows a company to cover more ground with two-day shipping as well as reduces overall shipping costs.
Examples Of Two-day Shipping
There are three primary methods of providing two-day shipping.
1. Do-It-Yourself: Physically Going To The Carrier/Post Office
For smaller ecommerce businesses, making frequent trips to the post office or UPS to fulfill two-day shipping for orders is extremely commonplace. When a company reaches adequate size, it will make sense to have the carrier come to the fulfillment center to pick up the orders.
2. Outsourcing Shipping With A 3PL
Utilizing the services of a 3PL or logistics provider is common for handling two-day shipping on orders. For many companies, a 3PL actually enables them to offer two-day express shipping when they otherwise would not be able to, allowing the partner to handle the logistics involved with order fulfillment.
Partnering with a 3PL also allows companies to take advantage of having multiple fulfillment locations, which can reduce shipping costs and help ensure predictable, consistent shipping times.
3. Being In Compliance With The Online Marketplace
If you sell products on an external online marketplace such as Amazon or Walmart, the ability to fulfill orders for two-day shipping may be a requirement of entry. Some marketplaces actually provide fulfillment services for the seller instead.
Dealing with the requirements of a marketplace and customers’ expectations can be a difficult process for some businesses.
Two-day Shipping FAQs
Is “Two-day Shipping” Really Two Days?
Two-day shipping and two-day delivery can be hard to distinguish based off how they are depicted by the seller. As described previously, Amazon has now changed the meaning of two-day shipping to the time it takes to get in transit for delivery.
In some cases, two-day shipping really means within two business days, which eliminates delivery on Saturday or Sunday, extending the actual shipping time to three to four days instead of over a weekend. If you are sending a package from the Post Office or UPS, two-day shipping services means two days from when the package is dropped off.
No matter where shipping something or dealing with product fulfillment, read the exact details of what “two-day shipping” means for that individual company or marketplace. It can range wildly, so doing the proper digging on what each carrier or location’s definition is will be very eye-opening.
What’s “The Amazon Prime Effect?”
“The Amazon Prime Effect” refers to the industry-wide change in standards regarding shipping. When Amazon began offering two-day shipping for online purchases, this standard spread throughout ecommerce to become the norm.
Consumers now view two-day shipping as the baseline for ecommerce fulfillment; no more estimations of shipping times or delays.
Is Two-day Shipping Actually Guaranteed?
No. Two-day shipping isn’t always guaranteed and depends on different factors including the carrier, the level of service with that carrier, and their days of operation. Different platforms and marketplaces offer shipping estimates versus actual delivery or money-back guarantees.
What Impacts Two-day Shipping Costs?
Two-day shipping can have wildly different rates depending on:
- Fulfillment area zip code
- Destination zip code
- Weight and size of package
- Date/time of shipping
- Types of products being shipped
Should Free Two-day Shipping Be Offered?
It’s no doubt that free shipping is a significant draw for potential customers, but with this draw comes the added expense of the company handling shipping costs.
For more expensive products, the sale price of that product will usually include built-in shipping costs in the price tag. If free shipping doesn’t line up with the financial goals or margins of the company or product, they won’t offer free shipping.
Product Fulfillment Solutions
Product Fulfillment Solutions offers two-day shipping fulfillment services for your ecommerce business!
Quick, accurate, and intact. These are no longer aspirational goals for online product fulfillment. Consumers expect orders to be delivered quickly, exactly as requested, and without any issues.
Product Fulfillment Solutions can facilitate your e-commerce fulfillment, deliver to most locations within 48 hours (2-day shipping), maintain a 99.96% order accuracy rate or better, and consistently avoid shipping-related issues with orders.
Want a personalized consultation to discover what 3PL solutions can do for your business? Contact PFS today!