When your customer needs an order by the next day, you need overnight shipping. Overnight shipping is considerably more expensive than standard shipping. However, it’s a good option to offer in your online store. Customers in a time crunch will be willing to pay extra for overnight shipping.
Here’s what you need to know about overnight shipping services.
Overnight Shipping Choices
Each carrier offers different overnight shipping services. There are pros and cons to each one, depending on what kind of overnight service you need.
FedEx has three levels of overnight services. The difference between the services is the guaranteed arrival time. First Overnight, which arrives by 9:30 am, is substantially more expensive than the other services. Priority Overnight, which is delivered by 10:30 am, is only slightly pricier than Standard Overnight, which arrives by 4:30 pm.
UPS also has three levels of service. Next Day Air Early arrives by 8 am. Regular Next Day Air is delivered by 10 am. Next Day Air Saver is a bit cheaper than regular overnight and arrives by 3 pm.
The US Postal Service has only one overnight delivery option, Priority Mail Express. It has an estimated arrival time of 10:30 am. However, the Post Office does have a flat rate shipping option for overnight envelopes and boxes. That’s a service the other carriers don’t offer.
How to Offer Overnight Shipping
Customers like to have an overnight delivery option. However, you can only offer the option of overnight shipping to your customers if you can send orders quickly. Same-day shipping is an essential order fulfillment service for overnight shipping. If an order goes out even a day late, you’ve lost your chance to get it there overnight.
Overnight and expedited shipping options don’t have to eat into your bottom line. Customers who are in a hurry are often willing to pay a premium. In addition, the high cost of overnight options can make your normal shipping charges seem like a bargain.
The Cost of Overnight Shipping
Overnight shipping can be costly. FedEx’s standard overnight service is also its cheapest. However, that service isn’t available in all ZIP codes. For more rural deliveries, you have to pay the higher price for FedEx Priority Overnight.
There are a few flat rate overnight options available. However, most overnight shipping costs are based on the weight of the package and the shipping zone. For an example, let’s look at the cost ship a 5-pound package from Knoxville, TN, overnight to a residence in Pittsburgh, PA. FedEx Standard Overnight would cost $87.25. FedEx Priority Overnight is $90.94. If your business is B2B, the rates to deliver to a business are lower: $82.34 and $86.04.
Overnight shipping can get you out of a jam. If an order is lost or missed, you might want to ship it overnight to appease an angry customer. Taking a loss on shipping is a small price to pay to avoid a negative review that could cost you future sales.
Unless you’re shipping very high-value products, these costs are prohibitive. However, there are good ways to get your products to your customers quickly without paying for overnight shipping.
Best Ways to Save on Overnight Shipping
Amazon leads the way in all things eCommerce. Overnight shipping is no exception. Amazon was the first to offer two-day shipping, which is now the industry standard. Now Amazon offers one-day and even same-day delivery on certain items. To avoid being left in the dust, your eCommerce business needs to deliver orders quickly.
If you need to get orders delivered overnight, you’ll need to find ways to save on overnight shipping. Here are four strategies to expedite your shipping while reducing your costs.
If you send a lot of orders overnight, you may be able to negotiate lower rates with one or more of the major carriers. Even with negotiated rates, however, overnight shipping will still be pricey. The next two strategies are more cost-effective ways to deliver your products to your customers quickly.
Ship from multiple warehouses
Amazon is able to offer same-day delivery because it has many, many warehouses. The distance from an Amazon warehouse to your house is probably short, especially if you live in a large city.
Most eCommerce businesses can’t emulate the Amazon model, even if they use Fulfillment by Amazon. However, even small eCommerce businesses can take advantage of faster delivery time by storing stock in more than one warehouse.
You don’t have to tie up a lot of money in extra stock to take advantage of this strategy. Red Stag Fulfillment’s two warehouses can ship to 97% of US addresses in two days or less.
There is a cost to split your inventory among multiple warehouses. You’ll have to pay freight costs to ship in bulk to each location. However, freight shipping is cheaper than shipping individual orders. It is much less expensive than shipping overnight. And your freight costs will be more than offset by your savings on shipping costs.
In addition, faster delivery times are an incentive for customers to buy from you. When you consider eCommerce fulfillment options, factor in the convenience and cost savings of shipping from multiple warehouses.
Ship from centrally-located warehouses
Using multiple warehouses is only helpful if those warehouses are in the right locations. Many eCommerce businesses use fulfillment centers near the port where their products reach the US. However, shipping from a port city to customers across the country is slow and expensive.
Red Stag Fulfillment chose to put its warehouses in Knoxville, TN, and Salt Lake City, UT. Packages from these two locations can each reach a large portion of the US without traveling through many shipping zones. This means you can ship more cheaply and more quickly. If you want to offer free shipping, having multiple warehouses in central locations is a must.
Ask for same-day shipping guarantees
Same-day shipping is essential to overnight delivery. If your fulfillment company can’t get your orders out the door the same day they are placed, you can’t ship overnight.
Carrier delivery times are only one factor in keeping customers happy. If your orders get stuck in the warehouse, you won’t be able to meet expectations for fast delivery. Make sure the fulfillment company you choose has a same-day shipping guarantee.
Where Does Overnight Shipping Fit into Your Fulfillment Strategy?
Overnight shipping can be a desirable add-on service to offer your customers. It can be a life-saver when you need to resolve a customer service problem. However, most eCommerce customers don’t want to pay the extra cost to have an order sent overnight.
Choose multiple warehouses in central locations. That way you’ll be able to deliver orders to your customers in one or two days. You can offer free or cheap shipping. Your customers will be happy. And you’ll be able to keep your fulfillment costs under control.