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QuickBox Fulfillment Feb 28, 2024 7 min read

Beyond Amazon: Enhancing Time to Home to Exceed Customer Expectations

In 2005, Amazon Prime was launched. The service offered customers unlimited 2-day shipping for a flat annual fee. It would be an understatement to say this new service was a game-changer. Customers quickly saw this as the new normal and expected faster delivery services as the standard rather than a premium option.

How Amazon Transformed the Shipping Industry

To improve time to home, Amazon has continued to expand its logistics and distribution network. With more warehouses and distribution centers, Amazon can store products closer to consumers around the country. This is one way they’ve significantly reduced delivery times—often providing same-day or next-day delivery for a wide range of products.

In addition, Amazon has heavily invested in advanced technologies, such as AI, machine learning, and robotics, to manage inventory efficiently, predict demand, and route orders. This has further accelerated consumer expectations for quick time to home.

And, it’s pressured other retailers and logistic companies to speed up their delivery times to compete. Today, whether you sell on Amazon, independently, or through partnerships, there’s been an industry-wide shift toward fast delivery.

There have, however, been tradeoffs. For example, the increased pressure on logistics has negatively impacted traffic and pollution in some areas, not to mention the growing concerns with how the people who power this speed are treated.

Exceed Customer Expectations with Speed, Efficiency, and People Power

Competing against such a large force can be challenging. However, there are several strategies your company can employ to not only meet but exceed customer expectations set by Amazon. Here are some of the many ways to differentiate your company and add value:

  • Provide Human Touch: Personalization and exceptional customer service make customers feel valued and understood. Having responsive support teams, personalized follow-up emails, and handling issues promptly and effectively can improve your brand reputation and boost customer loyalty. Customization and personalized products can add value that can’t be found with advanced automation.
  • Know Your Market: By focusing on niche markets or specialized product categories, you can provide expansive expertise rather than a wide selection that’s hard to wade through. Consider providing expert advice and recommendations, which can be particularly valuable in specialized markets where customers seek guidance, such as health, beauty, and wellness.
  • Create Loyalty Programs: Offering unique rewards, discounts, and exclusive products allows you to cater to your customer base and increase engagement with your brand. This encourages repeat business and word-of-mouth recommendations.
  • Stand Up for Sustainability and Ethics: Recent news reports on how big businesses can cut corners when it comes to the environment and ethical practices have left a sour taste in many customers’ mouths. Offering sustainable shipping options, eco-friendly packaging, and ethical treatment of employees and the environment strongly appeals to a growing segment of customers who value social responsibility.
  • Embrace Technology: AI can be used to offer more personalized shopping experiences, such as product recommendations based on past purchases and browsing behavior. And augmented reality (AR) can help customers visualize products in their space before buying. This can enhance the shopping experience beyond the big box stores and warehouses.
  • Be Flexible: For example, offering a seamless and easy return process, such as free returns, extended return periods, or convenient drop-off options, is another way to compete and instill confidence in your customers.
  • Build a Community: Engaging with your customers through social media, forums, or events can foster loyalty and encourage repeat business. Providing valuable content related to your products or industry, such as blogs, videos, or tutorials, is another way to provide added value for a more engaged community.
  • Partner Up for Powerful Logistics and Fulfillment: On your own, improving time to home may be difficult. Partnering with the right 3PL could help you provide more competitive shipping options. You may even be able to offer the same time to home as Amazon while still delivering the personal touch your customers love.

How 3PLs Can Deliver Faster

The right 3PL partner can help improve time to home by implementing several key strategies. Designed to streamline operations and enhance efficiency, these strategies ultimately reduce the time it takes to move an order from the warehouse shelf into your customer’s excited hands.

For instance, at QuickBox, we offer automated warehousing for picking and sorting, which can significantly speed up order processing times. In addition, our fulfillment centers are strategically located throughout the U.S. for shorter shipping distances to your customers. This cuts down on transit times.

We also offer real-time inventory and order tracking, which helps you maintain optimal stock levels and prevents delays caused by stockouts and overstocking. Our advanced IQ employs predictive analytics to forecast demand and adjust inventory levels accordingly to ensure products are readily available when orders are placed. They also help predict the best shopping routes and determine which warehouse should fulfill an order based on the customer’s location and stock availability. Seamless integration with various ecommerce platforms ensures orders are quickly transmitted to the fulfillment center for processing.

Orders are efficiently picked and packed with route planning within the warehouse, using efficient and lightweight packing materials to speed up order preparation and cut back on postage costs.

By partnering with multiple shipping carriers, we can choose the fastest and most cost-effective shipping option for each order. In addition, we’ve negotiated better shipping rates and terms, which allow us to choose faster shipping options without passing on higher costs to customers.

QuickBox also invests time and resources to continually improve. We analyze data throughout the fulfillment process to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement to continuously speed delivery times.

Ready to go above and beyond Amazon? Contact QuickBox today and explore how we can help you better compete.