Shipping times are incredibly influential on buyers. 67% of US consumers expect same-, next- or two-day shipping.
This puts a lot of pressure on merchants to offer short shipping windows, which is really tough when you’re also managing suppliers, marketing campaigns, and customer support in between trips to the post office.
That challenge is what drove us to build Shopify Fulfillment Network. We take care of storing, packing, and shipping to save you time that can be better spent growing your business. And we make it easier and more affordable to offer 2-day delivery, so you can meet those growing buyer expectations, build brand affinity, and keep customers coming back.
Wondering how Shopify Fulfillment Network can help you get orders into your customers’ hands quickly and keep them coming back?
Let’s take a look at the journey of an order as it gets delivered.
Step 1: Your customer completes an order
Cha-ching! Congrats! You made another sale. They just couldn’t resist that 2-day delivery!
If this happens five, 10, or a few dozen times per day, you may want to seek out a helping hand in the form of a third-party logistics provider like Shopify Fulfillment Network. The alternative tends to be a home full of inventory, boxes, shipping supplies, and the wagon you use to take loads of packages to and from your car.
When you sign up for Shopify Fulfillment Network, you ship your merchandise to one of our strategically-located, Shopify-certified warehouses across North America. This is called an inbound transfer or inbound shipment. Our easy-to-follow walkthrough will guide you step-by-step.
Once we receive your inbound shipment, your inventory is distributed and balanced across our network of warehouses. We optimize your SKU placement so goods are closer to your buyers, which saves on shipping time and costs. And as orders come through, we continuously relocate your inventory to better manage your entire supply chain and help you exceed customer expectations.
Of course, you’re kept in the loop the entire way. From inventory needs to daily sales, everything you need to know is synced right into Shopify.
With your goods inbounded and distributed across the network, Shopify goes to work.
Your latest sale triggers a fulfillment order notification at the warehouse closest to your customer and sets the rest of the process in motion.
Step 2: The picking process begins
Once we receive the order notification, Shopify Fulfillment Network will immediately evaluate the order to make sure it can be fulfilled. This means that the address is correct, there’s enough inventory in stock, and fulfillment isn’t paused for any reason. It’s at this point that we automatically determine the best shipping options, but we’ll cover that in more detail below.
The order information is then sent to Chuck, one of our friendly, collaborative warehouse robots, and your newest employee (don’t worry, we’ll take care of payroll).
Chuck uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to pick inventory 2-3 times faster than the industry standard. It does so by guiding a fulfillment specialist directly to the inventory needed to fulfill your orders.
A worker follows Chuck around, and when it stops in front of a shelf they pick the correct SKU and place it on the robot. When Chuck is full of inventory, it moves independently to a packing station for the next step in the process.
With Chuck on our team, the entire fulfillment process is streamlined, allowing us to hit those high-converting 2-day delivery windows.
Step 3: The warehouse packs the order
At the packing station, another fulfillment specialist removes the inventory from Chuck and packs it up nice and snug into the smallest possible box, bag, or envelope. Then it’s time to label it for shipping.
Shipping rates are complicated. They depend on package sizes, weights, carriers, location, and more. This is unsurprisingly one of the hardest parts of self-shipping, especially if you want to offer customers free shipping and are trying to bake those rates into your prices.
What you might not know is that carriers will often give preferable, discounted rates to high-volume shippers like Shopify Fulfillment Network.
With that in mind, as soon as the order comes in our software identifies the cheapest rates on 2-day delivery, saving you (and your customers) money.
Once the order is packed, the shipping label is printed and applied.
This entire packing process takes only a few minutes.
Step 4: The carrier picks up the order and delivers it to your customer
Shopify Fulfillment Network offers 2-day delivery, but also same-day fulfillment. That means that if your order comes in before 2p.m. in the warehouse’s local timezone, it will get handed off to a carrier by the end of that same day. This is achieved through fast picking and packing, but also through strong partnerships with shipping carriers.
In addition to offering preferred shipping rates, these carriers pickup orders from our warehouses each and every day. And we don’t just rely on a single career; Shopify Fulfillment Network works with a number of partners to ensure we can always deliver at high speeds and affordable rates, including:
- Canada Post
"When we were unexpectedly featured on Prime Time National TV on Cyber Monday our sales spiked to more than 16x our average and both Shopify and SFN handled the surge in traffic and orders perfectly. We heard from many happy customers 2-days later that they'd already received their order!" - Jimmy MacDonald, CFA, Co-Founder, Authenticity50
Also worth noting: you can ship internationally through our network, but not on the same 2-day delivery timeline for the time being.
Offer 2-day today
So there you have it! Within two days from the time they clicked “buy,” your buyer will hear their doorbell ring. Sitting on the front step, an inviting package — and a testament to how much you’re crushing it with your ecommerce business.
Ready to offer your customers 2-day delivery with a little help from Shopify?