The Small Business Times

How To Ship Products To Customers Faster

Every online business wants to optimize for fast shipping.

Faster shipping means faster order processing, greater internal efficiency, less inventory cluttering shelves, and of course, better impressed and more satisfied customers.

Of course, shipping faster isn’t always easy – so what strategies can you use to reliably accomplish this?

Limitations And Possibilities

There are some limitations on what you can do to make shipping faster.

While hypothetically, you could build a fleet of superpowered sports cars to literally travel faster on the roads, this isn’t exactly feasible in terms of cost or legality.

It’s physically impossible to transport a package from California to New York in less than an hour, and there’s only so much our technology can do to mitigate these absolute limitations.

That said, with a proper eCommerce order fulfillment strategy in place, you can greatly improve shipping times, and do so in a number of different ways.

You can choose better shipping partners with faster times and more reliable processes.

You can implement technologies to automate various workflow steps to cut down on time between those steps.

You can also cut back on redundancy and waste to make sure every order is handled as efficiently as possible.

So what are some more specific strategies for shipping products to customers faster?

How To Ship Products To Customers Faster

These are some of the most important strategies for shipping to your customers faster:

Choose The Right Shipping Providers

One of the most important things you can do is choose the right shipping providers, and possibly multiple providers to offer a wider range of services to your customers.

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Better shipping providers should be able to offer reduced rates, a wider range of services, and even greater consistency and reliability.

There are many shipping providers to choose from, each with strengths and weaknesses, so it’s important to find the right fit for your business needs.

Provide Multiple Shipping Speed Options

With those providers in place, it’s a good idea to offer your customers as many shipping options as possible.

Some customers will want faster shipping speeds, even at greatly increased prices, while others will wait as long as it takes to get the lowest price possible.

If you offer all these options to all your customers, each customer can find exactly what they need.

Keep Adequate Inventory

Keep adequate inventory of all your products, but especially your most popular ones.

Shipping times are sometimes unnecessarily delayed simply because of a shortage of a popular product.

In line with this, it’s important to be aware of your busiest seasons, so you can keep extra stock and avoid excessive congestion.

Streamline And Improve Picking Speed

There are many steps you can take to streamline and improve picking speed.

Better systems of organization, robotics and automated technology, and better employee training and workflows can all facilitate this.

Use Multiple Warehouses

Take a look at any shipping time map and you’ll see that shipping time depends heavily on the distance between the origin and the destination for your product.

Hypothetically, if you had thousands of warehouses equally placed around the country, you would be able to ship anything to anywhere in a ridiculously short amount of time.

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You may not be able to make this investment, but you can invest in multiple locations to shorten shipping times to the extent you can.

Improve Customer Communication

Better communication may not directly reduce the time it takes to ship a product, but it will keep customers adequately informed throughout the shipping process.

They’ll know exactly when to expect their products, they’ll stay apprised of potential delays, and they’ll ultimately be more satisfied when the product arrives.

Automate Anything You Can

Automation makes everything faster. It practically eliminates the possibility of human error, while keeping the need for manual effort to a minimum.

It keeps employees focused on more important matters while enabling much faster procedural steps in the background.

Analyze Shipping Issues

No business is perfect and no order fulfillment strategy is perfect. You can and will have issues, like picking errors or shipment delays.

When you face these issues, flag them and analyze them; what went wrong? What changes can you make to prevent this in the future?

Get Feedback And Improve

With better customer feedback and consistent employee feedback, you’ll be in a much better position to improve your workflows and systems in the future.

Shipping to customers faster isn’t always easy to achieve, but it has tremendous benefits for businesses that are able to do it.

If you’re willing to proactively invest more in the technologies and workflows that shape your business, and if you’re willing to practice better due diligence for your shipping partners, you should be able to develop a competitive edge in this area.