Same-Day Shipping & Delivery: How Does It Work?

When today’s customer wants something, they want it now (or at least, very quickly). Amazon, Target, and other eCommerce giants, with their rapid-fire shipping options, have spoiled customers who once would have thought it acceptable to wait a week or even longer for their shipments. 

Now, instant—or near-instant—gratification is the norm when shopping online. In fact, it’s estimated that 65% of retailers are offering same-day delivery nowadays.

The Importance of Fast Shipping & Delivery

Unless you’re shipping from overseas, making a custom product, or selling a niche item that consumers can’t easily get elsewhere, to compete with large eCommerce retailers, you generally have two options:

  1. Offer free shipping
  2. Offer fast delivery

Studies have shown that 90% of consumers are willing to wait a bit longer for an item if shipping is free. However, many smaller eCommerce companies can’t afford to take that kind of a financial hit (check out ways to offset free shipping and how to determine your free shipping threshold here). 

So, the alternative is to offer fast delivery, because if people can’t get it free, they want it fast (although, nearly 50% want it both free and fast). 

Today, studies show that 64% of Millennials and 56% of Gen-Xers are more likely to make an online purchase if same-day delivery is an option (Baby Boomers aren’t far behind, at 40%). The silver lining here is that if you’re able to afford same-day delivery, more than 60% of consumers say they are willing to pay more for same-day delivery. 

Despite the demand for same-day delivery service, most of the respondents in a survey of 2,815 U.S consumers still have reasonable expectations, especially when they’re ordering from small and medium-sized eCommerce retailers. In fact, the majority stated that 3-5 days was an acceptable wait time. 

Same-Day Shipping vs. Same-Day Delivery: What’s the Difference?

As an eCommerce retailer, you’re probably thinking, “this isn’t rocket science!”

Same-day shipping means that a customer’s order will ship out on the same day the order is placed. This can cut a day or two off delivery time versus retailers that wait to ship orders. Same-day delivery means the customer will receive their order on the same day it’s placed. Often, the order must be placed by a certain time of day for this to be applicable—such as before noon.

Of course, to a customer, they may incorrectly view same-day shipping and same-day delivery as one and the same. We recommend making it even clearer on your pricing page so there is no confusion. After all, transparency is one of the six eCommerce shipping best practices you should follow to build customer loyalty. 

How to Offer Same-Day Delivery 

Sure, you can find same-day delivery options through UPS and FedEx (USPS had a program in beta testing, but it is no longer active). However, unless you’re shipping expensive items to offset the cost, or shipping relatively infrequently to avoid the logistical nightmare, it’s not going to be very cost-effective. 

How much does same-day shipping cost? Using these two carriers, costs will vary based on weight of the shipment, dimensional weight of the package, the number of zones it’ll cross, and more. You can check out their individual same-day pages (UPS Express Critical and FedEx SameDay) for more information.

Ultimately, it’s not easy to offer same-day delivery as a small or medium-sized eCommerce business. Large eCommerce retailers have their own distribution networks which makes it hard to compete on that level. 

It’s important to remember, however, that the majority of customers don’t expect small and medium-sized eCommerce retailers to offer same-day delivery; they expect that from the Amazons and Targets of the world. 

For most consumers, 3-5 days was the magic number (the sooner, the better, of course). With a third-party logistics (3PL) provider such as The Fulfillment Lab, you can achieve same-day fulfillment, and get your product to customers, in just 1-3 days!

Expedited Shipping with The Fulfillment Lab

The Fulfillment Lab understands that modern eCommerce businesses need to move fast—so we created shipping software that moves faster. And we’re not just talking about boring brown boxes. With our proprietary software, you can quickly set up your fulfillment logistics and design customized boxes, labels, and inserts, and then start shipping your products instantly. 

When we receive and store your inventory, we do it strategically, placing it in one of our 14 fulfillment facilities to reduce shipping costs and increase the speed of delivery. That way, when you put in an order, it’s processed the same day and in your customers’ hands in three days or less.

You can read more about our process online, or to discuss setting up an account with us, contact us today.


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