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Shipping Tips & Solutions

How to Offer Premium Shipping in 2021

Online shoppers have come to expect fast, affordable shipping. Merchants need to consider premium shipping to stay ahead of the competition. Here's how.
How to Offer Premium Shipping in 2021
Jules

By Jules

 

December 8, 2020

Consumer delivery expectations evolved rapidly the last few years. As more and more shoppers continue to switch to the eCommerce bandwagon, the demand for faster and affordable shipping has increasingly become the new normal in the eCommerce space.

Gone are the days when buyers were willing to wait up to 10 days to receive their online purchases. Even standard shipping options where buyers wait for 3-5 days to receive their items are fading fast!

As consumer expectations change and eCommerce becomes more and more competitive, retailers have to seek new ways to catch up with customer demands and stay ahead of the curve. This has led to a rise in premium delivery options. eCommerce giants like Amazon and Walmart are leading the pack in this regard.

Amazon, for example, has continued to push the envelope hard to set new delivery standards with affordable same-day, next-day, and two-day premium delivery options. This has left other retailers with no option but to figure out how to offer premium shipping for their stores and compete favorably with the big players.

If you are wondering how you can offer premium delivery in your store, Easyship can help. We offer you a network of 3PL providers and 250+ cost-effective shipping couriers. You can use our shipping rates calculator to determine how much you should be charging for premium delivery, and our Rates at Checkout features to show your buyers your premium delivery charges.

What Does Premium Shipping Mean?

Premium shipping is a delivery option that allows eCommerce retailers to offer high-quality, fast, and affordable shipping solutions to customers. It entails fast delivery timelines, quality packaging, and premium tracking.

The goal of premium delivery is to improve customer's post-purchase experience and has become a popular delivery option as eCommerce grows.

Same-day delivery, next-day shipping, and two-day shipping are the top premium shipping options available today, with Amazon dominating the eCommerce shipping space with these industry-leading delivery options.

Amazon Premium Shipping

Amazon premium shipping refers to the fastest shipping options available on Amazon, and it is the main reason why many retailers choose to sell on Amazon. For orders within the US, Amazon premium delivery entails one-day and two-day shipping.

But Amazon premium delivery isn't for everyone selling on Amazon. It is an earned feature preserved for those who demonstrate high delivery performance standards. To be eligible for premium shipping on Amazon must meet the following standards:

  • Must have been selling on Amazon for more than 90 days
  • Must have a valid tracking rate of 99% for 30 days
  • Must have an on-time delivery score rate of 97% or greater for 30 days
  • Must have a seller-initiated cancellation rate of less than 0.5% for 30 days

The big question is: is Amazon premium delivery worth it? Well, Amazon premium shipping has its pros and cons. Let's analyze them here:

Pros of Amazon Premium Shipping

  • Faster package delivery:  Amazon premium delivery is a top reason why many sellers prefer selling on Amazon. It is also the reason why millions of shoppers flock to Amazon daily to shop and have their items delivered faster -quicker than any standard method can deliver.
  • Fulfillment and logistics network:  One thing that cannot be taken away from Amazon is its widespread network of warehouse and logistics network. This gives Amazon a key competitive advantage when it comes to offering premium shipping quickly at an affordable price.

Cons of Amazon Premium shipping

Amazon has set the bar high for other eCommerce merchants with its premium delivery capabilities. But there is some downside to selling on Amazon.

  • You can't use your branding: Custom branding is part of the premium shipping experience. Since Amazon doesn't allow you to use your own branding, it means that your buyers associate your products with Amazon since what they see are Amazon prime boxes and tape. That means you have to surrender your brand identity to benefit from Amazon prime delivery.
  • Requirements and changes without notice: This was evident during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic with the pause of Amazon FBA for non-essential categories. This occasioned losses and delays to customers and merchants alike. Merchants who solely relied on Amazon FBA saw their sales plunge due to their inability to fulfill orders. Others had to change the Fulfilled By Merchant(FBM) program to keep their businesses afloat.
  • Fees are subject to change: Amazon can also make changes to its premium delivery eligibility requirements on the fly. Selling and shipping fees associated with selling on Amazon and shipping from their fulfillment centers may also be altered without clear communication to sellers.
  • Premium shipping may be revoked: once you become eligible for premium delivery options, Amazon monitors your delivery performance to determine your ongoing eligibility. A slight dip in performance will result in your premium shipping status being revoked and any premium shipping options will be disabled on your offers. Your status will immediately change to 'not eligible in the Eligibility dashboard.

As you can see, Amazon leads the pack with its premium shipping capabilities. But that comes at a price. You have to earn it and work hard to maintain it. It means sacrificing your brand identity, bearing the pain of dealing with abrupt changes in policies and fees, and working hard to meet and maintain the strict eligibility requirements.

So, are there any other premium shipping solutions outside of Amazon, and how do they compare with Amazon? Luckily, there are alternatives to Amazon premium shipping that allow you to have more control of your brand.

Let us look at how premium shipping looks like for non-Amazon sellers.

Third-party logistics (3PL) providers

Premium delivery isn't exclusive to Amazon. Non-Amazon eCommerce merchants can offer premium shipping by partnering with well-connected 3PL providers with the retail fulfillment infrastructure and logistics network to offer premium shipping on their behalf.

Here are the top advantages of outsourcing fulfillment to 3PL providers:

  • Custom branding

Premium shipping goes beyond fast delivery speeds. Offering a great unboxing experience for your customers through custom branding comes to play if you want to reinforce the value of your products to your customers and encourage brand loyalty.

Providing premium delivery via 3PL providers gives you the power to exceed product delivery expectations by using boxes branded with your own marketing materials and logo. This helps you provide the best possible in-person exposure to your brand.

  • Branded Order tracking

Another thing non-Amazon sellers need to nail to compete favorably with Amazon is to offer branded order tracking capabilities. Using branded emails and tracking pages to update your buyers when packages leave fulfillment centers, communicating estimated delivery dates, information on delays, and real-time location tracking will help you delight your customer with a great delivery experience and encourage repeat purchases.

Premium Shipping Options Comparison

Shipping speed is the lifeblood of premium shipping. To that end, there are two most common premium shipping options offered by every carrier.

They include:

  • Next-day shipping:  This is one of the top shipping options offered by almost all carriers. For example, premium shipping UPS if offered via its next-day, and 2nd-day shipping options. Next-day shipping is more expensive compared to standard shipping solutions because it is an expedited shipping method that relies on air transportation which is more costly than ground shipping.
  • Two-day shipping: Most customers have come to expect two-day shipping as the normal premium shipping option, thanks to Amazon Prime. Today, it is possible that shoppers will look elsewhere if you don't offer two-day shipping in your e-store. That means you can greatly reduce cart abandonment by offering two-day shipping as an option in your business.

How eCommerce Merchants Can Offer Premium Shipping

Woman Looking at Premium Shipping Boxes

eCommerce retailers need to offer premium shipping to remain competitive and avoid cart abandonment due to slow delivery speeds. Here are the top options that retailers have at their disposal when offering premium delivery in their stores.

  • Become an Amazon Seller: To tap into Amazon premium shipping, you need to become an amazon seller and meet all their eligibility requirements. This is a good option for those who are willing to surrender their brand identity.
  • Build your fulfillment and logistics network: This is an option for eCommerce giants like Adidas, Nike, and Macy's that are willing to spend millions of dollars building the eCommerce infrastructure and implementing the technology required to offer premium delivery.
  • Outsource fulfillment to 3PL providers: This is the best option for SMEs in the eCommerce sector who want to have more control over their business and retain their brand identity. Outsourcing fulfillment to well-connected 3PL providers who have the fulfillment network and technology helps small retailers compete with eCommerce giants like Amazon in offering premium shipping without breaking the bank.

7 Benefits of Premium Shipping

Premium shipping has a whole lot of benefits to buyers and sellers alike. Here is a rundown of the top benefits of offering premium delivery in your eCommerce business.

  1. Increased conversions at checkout due to less cart abandonment
  2. Faster shipping experience on that part of customers
  3. Great unboxing experience and customer brand loyalty for brands offering custom packaging
  4. Order tracking capabilities associated with premium shipping help lower delivery anxiety
  5. Faster delivery of packages drives customer satisfaction, hence encouraging repeat purchases.
  6. It is a great way to convert last-minute shoppers
  7. It is an encouragement to those customers who a still trying to figure out online shopping

How Easyship can Help

There are numerous advantages of offering premium delivery options in your store. If you want to remain competitive and delight your customers with faster delivery timelines, you need to start offering premium shipping as an option. For SMEs in the eCommerce space, working with a reliable and well-connected eCommerce and logistics company that has  the fulfillment infrastructure and technology to help them offer premium shipping is the way to go.

Easyship is a top, go-to eCommerce and logistics company that partners with fulfillment partners all over the world and has a network of over 250+ logistic providers. We have helped many eCommerce merchants offer fast, cost-effective shipping at discounted shipping rates, and can help you too.

Here's how Easyship can help your eCommerce store leverage premium shipping :

  • We have partnerships with a network of fulfillment centers across the world to help you reduce shipping time and cost.
  • Access over 250+ cost-effective couriers
  • Obtain shipping discounts up to 70%
  • Offer a great custom branding experience via branded packing slips, tracking emails & shipping labels
  • Offer up to the minute tracking capabilities with our global tracking system.
  • Display premiums delivery charges at checkout with our Rates at Checkout feature
  • Use our shipping rates calculator to determine how much you should charge for premium shipping.

Sign up for a free Eashiship account today to get started!


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