We live in an on-demand era, where people expect goods and services to be delivered almost instantly, at the tap of a button. In the B2C realm, Amazon’s Prime delivery service set the pace for same-day customer expectations at a scale few can compete with. At the same time, many restaurant delivery services that got a boost during the pandemic are struggling to achieve profitability. Clearly, the economics of faster delivery demands are challenging. Most businesses don’t have the luxury of burning venture capital in search of future market share without a clear path to profitability, particularly in the B2B space. Nonetheless, businesses of all types have to deal with ever evolving customer expectations.
Same-Day Shipping for Time Sensitive Customers
Today’s B2B customer is primarily focused on reliability, trusting that goods will be delivered consistently and on time. In most cases, the economics of same-day delivery wouldn’t make sense. However, there may be opportunities to differentiate your B2B business through speed of delivery, in areas where your customer’s customer is particularly time sensitive. From pharmaceuticals to auto parts, some goods could benefit from accelerated delivery options. Same-day shipping gives customers the sense that goods are on the way ASAP, not sitting in a warehouse long after the order’s been placed.
Making Use of Multiple Fulfillment Centers
Unless your customers are clustered in a specific geographic area, utilizing multiple fulfillment centers is one way to get goods into customers’ hands faster. A good 3PL vendor should be able to analyze your shipping needs and factor in the benefits of staging inventory across multiple locations. If you need broad coverage and/or intend to scale, you need a 3PL with numerous facilities and the infrastructure to keep pace.
With Same-Day Shipping, Your Cut-Off Points Matter
When same-day shipping is offered, among the most important considerations is the cut-off point for getting goods into the channel, e.g. same-day processing of all orders received by noon. Amazon’s website does a great job of communicating when an order has to be placed for delivery on a certain date, which can create a sense of urgency with consumers which may help drive the purchase. Understand how long it takes you, or your 3PL vendor, to prepare an order for shipping, and ensure that you’re setting expectations you’ll be able to deliver on.
Same-Day Shipping Requires Clear Communication
Managing customer expectations is a huge part of any successful shipping enterprise. This is especially true when you’re reducing your margins for error with tight shipping goals. Ensure that you have clear lines of communication with your 3PL vendor. Their commitment to customer service is key to ensuring your brand reputation is in safe hands and that any problems are addressed in a timely manner.
B2B Shipping in an On-Demand World
Consistency and reliability are the cornerstones of B2B shipping. Depending on the scale of your business and the geographic area you serve, you may not find yourself considering same-day shipping any time soon. However, given the extent to which the world of logistics has changed in recent years, it never hurts to explore options that reflect the on-demand world in which we live. For some B2B enterprises, getting goods into the channel the same day they’re ordered could be a game changer.