Amazon is one of the largest online marketplaces in the world, but it isn’t for everyone. The platform succeeds through a combination of strict quality control, peer review, and fast shipping, with same and next-day delivery options available for millions of products through Prime.
At the same time, Amazon imposes strict rules on sellers and their products, frequently bans accounts, and has fierce international competition at rates that could cut into your profits. Avoiding Amazon is a logical choice for many, but one that can make it more difficult to compete in eCommerce.
Amazon’s advantage and how to compete
It’s relatively easy to see why customers go to Amazon. Consumers trust that the platform will have what they need, at a fair price for good quality, and it’ll get to them quickly. This shows that the key to competing with Amazon lies in customer service and quality control.
Here, fast shipping is the most relevant, because you can leverage it across any platform to increase conversion and drive sales. Fast shipping keeps your listings competitive thanks to modern consumers’ willingness to pay more for convenience.
Studies show that as many as 87% of all online purchase decisions are influenced by delivery time. Customers not only want and expect fast shipping as a default option, fast shipping also builds trust, because no one wants to wait to find out if products meet expectations or not.
As a result, most major marketplaces have begun to introduce fast shipping programs to drive sales and to help their platforms compete with Amazon. Marketplaces like Walmart, eBay, and, most recently, Target are quickly catching on to capture loyal shoppers.
What is considered fast shipping?
Most consumers regard fast shipping as delivery within 3 days, but the gap is rapidly narrowing. Many now expect 2-day shipping as a standard option. In the fast shipping programs we cover below, we see options for between 4- and 1-day shipping, but we recommend aiming for 2-day.
3 Non-Amazon fast shipping programs
Fast shipping programs are typically modeled after Amazon Prime in that sellers have to commit to shipping products within a certain time-span, use faster delivery methods, and ensure the customer receives the product in a limited time span.
These programs extend across most major marketplaces and offer benefits like reduced competition in search, higher placement in search results, and often higher conversion rates. We saw a 500% boost in sales when a Deliverr seller joined Walmart’s 2-day shipping program, and a Deliverr seller on eBay doubled their art supply sales after enabling eBay Guaranteed Delivery.
You’ll have to meet certain account standards and metrics, which vary by the marketplace. Let’s take a look at the 3 popular fast shipping programs out there.
eBay’s Guaranteed Delivery program allows you to guarantee delivery within a certain time frame (typically 3-days to next-day) based on the buyer, geographical location of your warehouses, and eligible shipping carriers.
Sellers have 2 options here; handling time or door-to-door.
With the handling time option, you commit to same- or next-day handling, and eBay will calculate whether your product qualifies based on your location. With this option, eBay calculates the delivery times, so they are responsible for ensuring it gets there on time as long as you pack and ship it with one of their approved carriers and within a certain time from when the order was made. That means not all of your listings would be shown on eBay Guaranteed Delivery, since it would be highly dependent on your location. However, if something goes wrong or your item arrives late, eBay will take care of the returns and other customer services.
With door-to-door, you get wider coverage and more control but must handle everything from order to delivery within the promised timeframe. Since you calculate your own shipping time, you can enable all your listings with eBay Guaranteed Delivery for higher conversions. Just make sure they get to your buyer on time, because if something goes wrong under the door-to-door option, it falls to the seller to make things right.
eBay’s Guaranteed Delivery program offers several perks, including higher placement in search results, fewer competitors through search filtering, and increased customer trust.
Walmart Free 2-Day Shipping offers free fast shipping, with no membership needed. Walmart initially offered Free 2-Day Shipping on their own products, but opened up the program to marketplace sellers late 2018. For marketplace listings, there’s no $35 purchase minimum, creating an even larger incentive for shoppers to turn to Walmart for their online shopping needs.
Here, sellers must meet strict platform requirements such as 95% on-time shipping and 95% on-time delivery, and a several month validation process.
Tip: Don’t want to wait? Tip: Sellers can get instant access to Walmart and eBay’s fast shipping programs by using Deliverr as their outsourced fulfillment partner.
Like with eBay, participating sellers see higher placement in categories and in search, search filtering, and increased conversion and click through. Buyers can also easily return products at their local Walmart, where Walmart will forward products back to you.
Newegg has traditionally focused on offering cheaper rather than premium services and solutions but is now getting in on fast shipping trends. Newegg Premier is a subscription service starting from $4.17 per month, offering buyers perks like free 3-day (or sooner) shipping, rush order processing, and free returns. Newegg’s requirements mirror other platforms in that you have to ship <90% of orders within 24 hours, maintain a 4-egg or higher rating and maintain 100% stock. Once you do apply, your products are highlighted in search for Premier members, utilize Newegg’s logistics program, add a badge to your seller page, and become eligible to take part in Newegg promotions.
These programs are some of the most notable fast shipping options you can join, but with alternatives like Google Express, nearly any platform you join should have a fast shipping offer. In addition, many large-scale name brands now offer 3-day or next-day shipping on much of their items, enabling customers to quickly and easily place orders online.
How fast shipping programs benefit sellers
Whether you choose to invest in self-fulfillment capable of fast shipping, or partner with a fulfillment company such as Deliverr, fast shipping is an investment in sales. Today, more than half of all retailers offer same-day shipping options, catering to consumer trends and demands.
Meeting the demand for fast shipping (same-day handling, 0-2-day delivery time) offers numerous benefits to sellers, who see an increase in conversions. eBay quotes up to 146% increase in sales for Guaranteed Delivery participants.
One study found that nearly 25% of all shopping cart abandonment was linked to no fast shipping options and 96% of consumers expect to be able to pay extra to receive products same or next day.
As many as half of all buyers are willing to pay extra for faster delivery, meaning that you can also use shipping to protect your profit margins. Balancing both cost and speed to keep prices as low as possible for both you and the consumer is the ideal middle ground.
Finally, most marketplaces also feature listings with fast shipping in search and around their site. We found that the Walmart website gives preference to listings on their fast shipping program, even if shoppers don’t filter for it.
Using fast shipping on your own website
A branded website is one of the easiest ways to build consumer trust and return customers, but driving sales can be difficult. Shoppers may feel the need to go through tried and tested marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, where they are typically offered more quality assurance and faster shipping options.
Providing competitive 2-day shipping on your own platform helps you to sidestep this issue, building trust, and increasing conversion, especially for repeat customers.
Consider offering tiered shipping options to protect your margins and encourage sales. In order to compete, fast shipping must be one of those options and programs like Amazon Prime train consumers to expect items as soon as the next day. Leverage fast shipping services across your other websites, and get fast shipping tags on your marketplace listings to capture sales from as many platforms as possible.