How important is next day delivery for Online Retailers?

In 2022, we expect everything yesterday. Let’s face it, we’ve all been guilty of adding to basket, hitting the checkout, and then immediately checking the tracking link to see where our parcel is up to (and ultimately being disappointed when it’s still being processed).

With some eCommerce brands even offering same-day delivery, it’s no wonder that there’s such an expectation on orders to be delivered at the click of a button - literally. Although next-day delivery can substantially add to logistics costs, from a business perspective, offering this as an option is pretty standard - and actually comes with a multitude of benefits.

Let’s take a look at how and why next-day delivery has become the norm - and whether we’ll see this trend go even further, with same-day delivery.

How does next-day delivery work?

Although it seems pretty self-explanatory, next-day delivery is a process. You need to have the correct warehouse setup and inventory to ensure that products are ready for delivery in a fast turnaround. Without a clear and defined inventory process and warehouse system, next-day delivery can get pretty messy - fast.

For larger companies, with huge amounts of stock, providing next-day delivery, and even same-day delivery, can be achievable. Once the order has been placed on your website, the fulfilment process begins as the order comes through to the warehouse. After the products have been picked and packed, you can use a speedy delivery service from your chosen courier to ensure that orders make their way on time.

Automation and bespoke shipping rules ensure that this process can happen and run smoothly. With Shipster, you can create as many rules as you need to adapt the software to fit around your delivery options. This means that all the relevant documentation, labels, and changes to couriers, can happen seamlessly.

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What are the benefits of next-day delivery for consumers?

Convenience. Consumers lead busy lives - and even with the introduction of remote and hybrid working, it can be tricky to always ensure you’re in when a delivery is due to arrive. With next-day delivery, consumers at least have a 24-hour window when they know their order will arrive - and they’re prepared to pay extra for that convenience. With 3 - 5 business day delivery, this can feel lengthy - and even with the free price tag, it’s not as enticing as it used to be. Especially not when consumers are able to pay a small fee to have their items in their hands by the next day.

Next-day delivery also encourages brand loyalty. If you can offer an annual delivery fee, allowing customers to have as many deliveries as they like, including next day, for a one-off fee, this can encourage them to only utilise your company. One thing to note is that many brands put limits in place on returns and deliveries to limit their impact on the environment. This could be seen as ‘greenwashing’, but many consumers appreciate the gesture. Consumers feel appreciated and like they’re getting something for nothing from paying an annual fee, rather than paying for next-day delivery every single time they order from you.

What are the benefits of next-day delivery for businesses?

Although next-day delivery might seem like an expensive option, it actually garners brand loyalty, ensuring those consumers keep coming back and purchasing from your brand, as opposed to a competitor. Initial outlay might be alarming, but continuing to build that relationship with a consumer can make it worth your while in the long run.

An interesting statistic shows that 79% of consumers would shop online MORE, if shipping was free. Shipping costs can put customers off when they reach checkout, even if they’re spending a small fortune. Affordable next-day delivery - or even free next-day delivery over a certain amount, can potentially keep those consumers coming back for more.

You may also see an increase in conversions once next day or same-day delivery is implemented. Encouraging consumers to spend a certain amount in order to receive free next-day delivery is a simple way to increase how much they’re adding to their baskets. Of course, with this comes the risk that they’ll buy items they don’t actually like or need, leading to an increase in returns.

With technology and innovation coming out of our ears, it’s so important to stay relevant and competitive. Businesses that are unable to offer next-day delivery, even with a cost associated, will find they’ll start to fall into the cracks of the internet. Consumers begin to expect things as the norm - and next-day delivery is definitely one of those things. We imagine in the future, orders will be teleported to customers - but we’re not quite there with the technology yet…

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How soon will same-day delivery become available?

Some companies, such as Argos, Amazon, and ASOS, already offer same-day delivery or same-day pickup. Over the pandemic, and especially during the lockdown periods, it became apparent that consumers were prepared to pay for this service - but like next-day delivery, when will it become the expectation, rather than just a handy option?

We can already get same-day options by simply entering a store and picking what we like. But with less room for inventory, we’re still limited on choice - and we have to leave the comfort of our own home. Same-day delivery can actually alleviate delivery costs for businesses, by taking items from local stores and travelling just a short distance to the recipient’s address. But this can only be achieved with readily available fleets - and not all companies are able to achieve this complex business model.

One way to get to grips with next-day delivery and same-day delivery is to ensure your company is utilising the right tech. Creating your own bespoke shipping rules and being able to easily implement new features to your delivery process can ensure you get there quicker. Time to get on it though - new data suggests that 99% of retailers will offer same-day delivery by 2025.