Let’s say you sell flowers and offer same-day delivery. If a customer places an order at 10 am, you could reasonably expect to fulfill the delivery by the end of the day. If the order is made at 10pm however, you probably won’t be able to fulfill it by midnight. This necessitates the need for setting order processing cut-off times for same day, next day, two-day, and other expedited shipping options.
If you offer same day delivery you can have processing cut-off times at a reasonable hour like say two or four pm (local deliveries like food can be more flexible). Cut-off times for next day delivery can be set at around seven or eight pm if you have people working overnight shifts. Otherwise, an earlier cutoff time might be better.
These figures aren’t set in stone however. You should adjust them according to your order preparation and packaging time. If you sell shoes this might be as easy as sticking a label on a shoebox while someone selling birthday cakes may need to bake an entire cake from scratch.
Order processing cut-off times are therefore important because customers paying expedited shipping are often in some hurry and disappointing will lead to a negative perception of your brand.
Show the cutoff as a countdown timer, not a set time
The cutoff time should read something like, “Order in the 37 minutes to receive your order by Thursday May 28th.” A statement like this leaves no room for ambiguity since shoppers know they have 37 minutes to make their order if they want it delivered quickly.
Just giving the time, like, “Order by 9.30 pm” leaves a lot of room for fuzziness. People might mistake it for the delivery date, others might mix up AM and PM while others might think they have more time than they actually have because the statement lacks urgency. And that’s before even getting into the issue of people in large countries like the US mixing up their time zones.