[UPDATED] “It takes 20 years to build your brand’s reputation but only five minutes to ruin it. When you think about that, you’ll start doing things differently.” – Warren Buffet
Creating a flawless user experience is – and must be – the utmost priority of every ecommerce business. Unlike high-resolution images, faster loading pages, or email marketing campaigns which help in building a seamless customer experience, ecommerce shipping may put you in a pickle.
- Importance of Ecommerce Shipping
- Best Ecommerce Shipping Tips
- Ecommerce Shipping Costs
- Ecommerce Shipping Methods & Rates
- Ecommerce Packaging
- Ecommerce Shipping Solutions
- Ecommerce Shipping Best Practices
- Final Words
Free Guide: Ecommerce Shipping 101
Learn ecommerce shipping 101 with this comprehensive guide.
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What is Ecommerce Shipping?
You may think of ecommerce shipping as just the process of transporting ordered goods from the online retailer to the customer’s address. But there’s so much more to shipping than just that.In ecommerce, where your customers have to pay up without physically seeing either a store or a product, shipping is a way to add value to their shopping experience and build trust. So, while you do need to ensure your shipping is economical, the credibility of your store is dependent on it being timely and safe for the packages.
Let’s have a look at some of the things you need to consider while developing an ecommerce shipping strategy for your online store.
Importance of Ecommerce Shipping
Shipping is a significant factor that directly impacts the reputation of your ecommerce business. Do you know that according to Shipbob, 60% of customers tend to buy from ecommerce companies that are able to offer them easy and convenient shipping solutions?
When you dispatch the goods, your customers will experience your shipping. Their experience will either generate a positive word of mouth, or a negative one, you must avoid the second one at all costs.
Shipbob research shows that negative shipping experiences have forced 38% of online customers never to purchase from the same store again. So, don’t lose your customers!
To avoid the negativity, you must understand ecommerce shipping best practices and follow them rigorously in your entrepreneurial journey.
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Best Ecommerce Shipping Tips
1. Clarity is Key!
You may not believe it, but simplicity works like a charm. Your first and foremost ecommerce shipping tactic must be to provide crystal clear information when it comes to your order fulfillment criteria and your shipping policies.
This is the basic necessity to establish a seamless ecommerce shipping experience. You must pen down any information that concerns your shipping policies and pin it onto your website for your customers so they know exactly what to expect from you.
One example to demonstrate this strategy is to clearly mention when you’re charging your customers a sum for shipping. Also, if you’re not charging any shipping fee, then this must be the first thing your customers should see on your product’s landing page.
2. Hire the Right Team
As clichéd as it sounds, having the right team has become a core competency attribute for many organizations across the globe. Therefore, you must recruit the best team to enhance the shipping experience you wish to provide to your customers.
For instance, you need a team of experts who can handle the marketing of your shipping. They must be able to develop strategies to inform customers about your shipping promotions such as flat rate shipping or free shipping.
They are responsible to attract relevant audience onto your ecommerce store. Thus, what you must ensure is how your marketing team is spreading the word that reaches the right audience, for instance, what media or tools will they use?
On the other hand, you will want to build a team that is solely responsible for fulfilling customer orders successfully. Their primary responsibility will be to ensure the orders are being appropriately packed and shipped to the right person at the right time.
3. Weight Matters
Efficiency is paramount when it comes to staying ahead of your competitors. Therefore, to establish a smooth and efficient system, you must make it your top priority to continuously update the weight of your products.
You must be wondering why this particular ecommerce strategy is effective as far as ecommerce shipping is concerned? For starters, this will allow you to get a firm grip onto the costs of your products. Also, you will be able to determine the right shipping costs to charge your customers which creates a significant line between you and your competitors.
For example, renowned courier companies like DHL or FedEx have an updated list of shipping costs based on the weight of the product(s). It states the minimum shipping cost against the minimum weight, as well as the additional shipping cost which may increase with the increase in the shipping weight.
4. Same Day Delivery
According to Shipbob, 61% of customers are willing to pay an extra few bucks if ecommerce businesses can ship their products on the very same day? It can be daunting for some ecommerce entrepreneurs however it’s not impossible.
One of the biggest challenges of delivering on the same day is having reliable courier carriers. The better your courier carrying agents are, the better service they can provide to your customers.
These courier carrying retailers use software that allows customers to track the progress of their order. It streamlines your business operations and maximizes the level of your customer satisfaction.
Regardless, it’s much more challenging for smaller businesses to handle same-day deliveries. Many are unable to manage their inventory, and the inability to plan or lack of information makes it much harder to deliver on the same day. But, if you streamline your processes, coordinate with resources, manage inventory, and maintain excellent relationships with courier companies, same-day deliveries are possible!
5. Overnight Shipping
This overnight shipping method ensures customers that they will receive their product the very next business day. The two-day shipping benchmark has been drafted by Amazon Prime. Overnight shipping may not be your cup of tea, as you may not be a giant like Amazon or AliExpress. But if you can manage it, many courier agents offer different prices for overnight deliveries.
It’s not just about getting the shipment delivered on time. It’s also about the correct packaging for sensitive products, and the right labeling that would ensure the product reaches its destination safely. This not only helps your business run efficiently but also increases your credibility.
Moreover, providing the best customer service today is what will make your business stand out in an ocean of ecommerce businesses, and therefore you must treat your customers right, but most importantly supply them with goods and services on time.
6. Offer Free Shipping
Whether you add in the cost of shipping in the product or not, make an effort to offer shipping for free to your customers. Most online retailers fail to understand the importance of offering free shipping, and it significantly impacts their sales. 90% customers believe that free shipping is one of the major factors they consider before buying from any store.
7. Provide a Transparent View at Checkout
Your shipping costs should be outlined in a transparent, easy to understand manner at the checkout. An online shopper should know how much they will have to pay. Customers hate surprises, so if you levy a hidden charge at checkout, you are probably looking at an abandoned shopping cart.
8. Expected Date of Delivery
Let customers know the expected delivery date when they order a product. It’s recommended that you provide an estimated date of delivery when a person is about to check out. If there is another faster shipping option, provide the option of availing that too, even if it costs more.
Customers need to be kept in the loop when their product has been shipped. Send them important details like their tracking code and update them about the status of their delivery. Steps like these will only improve loyalty in the long run.
Ecommerce Shipping Costs
Your shipping should ideally be as economical as possible – customers are more unlikely to check out if they have to bear prohibitive shipping costs. Let’s look at some of the factors that determine the costs of shipping for an online retailer.
i. Package Size
This is pretty self-explanatory; the bigger the package, the more it’s going to cost you to ship. Most retailers use a third-party shipping provider to deliver goods, so if it’s a big package, the courier service will charge more, and that cost will ultimately be passed on to the consumer.
ii. Weight of the Package
How heavy is the package? Sometimes, a small package may cost upwards of $100 to ship because of its weight and value. The dimension weight of the package is an important factor that companies have to take into account when calculating the cost.
iii. Distance in Transit
The distance in transit is another important factor. The distance between the origin and the destination is calculated at the time of shipping when you enter the details.
There are other factors as well, such as insurance payments. A handling fee might also be levied by the shipper if the items are delicate.
Below is a list of the shipping cost calculators by some of the most popular ecommerce shipping couriers so that you can compare shipping costs without hassle.
- USPS – Shipping Cost Calculator
- Canada Post – Shipping Cost Calculator
- UK Royal Mail – Shipping Cost Calculator
- Australia Post – Shipping Cost Calculator
- UPS – Shipping Cost Calculator
- FedEx – Shipping Calculator
Ecommerce Shipping Methods & Rates
It’s important to build a definite and well-defined shipping strategy. The process of order fulfillment and shipping can become complex if you’re not familiar with ecommerce shipping methods. Henceforth, here’s an overview of the best shipping methods for your business.
1. Free Shipping
One of the best ecommerce shipping methods that attracts customers is free shipping! However, the reality is that ecommerce shipping is a cost that has to be borne by either the company or the customer. It’s never actually ‘free’.
So, what are your options that can help you make shipping free for your customers?
- Raise the cost of your product so that your customers pay the shipping cost indirectly without knowing it.
- Pay the shipping costs from your own pocket, precisely from your profit margins.
- Balance the price of your products in such a way that the shipping cost is borne partially by both the customer and you.
Bonus Tip: Offer your loyal customers with free shipping services.
2. Flat Rate Shipping
Many ecommerce companies prefer and use diverse shipping rate structures when charging respective customers. One amongst them is Flat Rate Shipping.
When ecommerce shipping carriers charge their customers a fixed shipping amount, it’s called flat rate shipping. Some charge a flat rate shipping fee on all orders, whereas some ecommerce businesses charge a flat rate shipping fee against orders that come under a particular weight range, order worth, or any other categorization.
The flip side of this particular shipping method is that you must be aware of the numbers at all times. Some orders may fully cover the shipping costs under the flat rate shipping category however, in comparison, other orders may not cover the shipping cost under this category.
3. Real-Time Carrier Rates
The real-time carrier rates are sometimes displayed at the checkout by ecommerce businesses. It is an effective ecommerce shipping plan to charge real-time carrier charges from your customers. How so? Well, this strategy helps to get the exact shipping rate based on the customer’s destination and delivery choices. It allows the ecommerce shipping companies to charge customers precisely the amount it costs the business to ship the order.
If we time travel back to a few years where online shopping had just laid its roots into this world, it was more about receiving the product you have ordered rather than its presentation.
Fast forward to 2019, expectations of customers have risen since they not only expect the shipment to be on time, but also want the packaging to speak for the product itself. Therefore, remember these few pointers for your ecommerce shipments:
1. Choose your packaging wisely
Ideas for ecommerce packaging are endless for ecommerce shipping companies, however it also depends on your product and its shape. Other considerable factors are how heavy the product is or how fragile it is. You must make a decision about your packaging accordingly.
2. Eco-Friendly Packaging
Environmental Protection Agency has stated that packaging takes up around 1/3rd of waste that is available within homes. This is the 21st century and people are becoming more aware of choosing to buy products from those ecommerce companies that use eco-friendly packaging.
Therefore, it will be a wise practice for you to choose eco-friendly packaging and give the customer what they want, alongside creating a better world for everyone.
3. Keep It Simple
You must keep your packaging as simple and as light as possible. Simply because the calculation of most of your shipping costs depends on your product weight or its size. You must also accurately inform your associated ecommerce shipping companies. Therefore, it’s better to work on these little details to save money. See cosmetic packaging.
Ecommerce Shipping Solutions
Data is key when handling ecommerce shipping operations because that is what will set you apart from your competitors. There are a large number of shipping solutions available at your disposal. These include:
USPS is one of the most convenient options if you are looking for an economical ecommerce shipping company in the USA. It is a trusted shipping carrier and is used by many ecommerce businesses who sell their products in the USA.
FedEx is one of the most renowned names in the ecommerce shipping industry. They offer various delivery options for ecommerce merchants as well as different prices to choose from.
FedEx has a special program – FedEx Small Business; that caters to the needs of all those ecommerce merchants who are looking for easy shipping solutions.
The United Parcel Service (UPS) following the footsteps of FedEx, also offers a program that caters to the needs of small ecommerce businesses who want convenient shipping solutions. They can manage the returns effectively and also specialize in covering a large number of shipping zones.
DHL – an international shipping courier whose brand reputation speaks for itself, provides services all around the world. They are quite popular for their tremendous customer service, however, it can be costly for fresh ecommerce entrepreneurs. You can calculate its prices through its Rate Quota and transit tool.
#5 Shopping Easy
Shipping easy is yet another name that provides easy ecommerce shipping solutions to small and medium-sized businesses. They have an extremely friendly user interface for their clients and provide economical rates to their customers.
Ecommerce Shipping Best Practices
Utilizing the best practices for ecommerce shipping is essential. Not just because it inevitably leads your business to success, but also because it allows you to stand out in the limelight in a crowd of millions of competitors. In simple terms, it grants you the power to change the game for good.
Before we proceed, you must know that nearly 60% of online shoppers actually refuse to buy from ecommerce stores that offer unexpectedly higher costs than the customer had anticipated. Henceforth;
- Indicate your shipping options as clearly as possible. It is essential to highlight the significant elements of your product alongside its shipping options, as well as your shipping policies for the customers so that they know precisely what they’re dealing with.
- You must convey the importance of ecommerce shipping to your team so that they can handle customer concerns effectively, and take actions accordingly.
- Set clear and realistic business goals for yourself. What you are aiming for? Do you want to expand your shipping operations internationally, or you simply wish to generate more profits? Clarity will allow you to streamline your shipping operations with ease and come up with a profitable ecommerce shipping strategy.
By and Large,
Ecommerce shipping demands proper planning and strategies so that your business can taste success with minimum effort. It has its challenges which require you to work hard so that you can streamline your process effectively.
What you must understand is that setting up the right ecommerce shipping business takes time, so keep experimenting and fine-tuning your strategies. It’s not necessary what’s working for your competitors may work for you too. You know what’s best for your business in particular, so act accordingly.
You must ensure that you provide your shipping services via reliable shipping carriers. It creates a whole lot of difference. Your product and service may be top-notch, however, if your customers don’t receive the goods on time or if they receive damaged goods, it directly impacts their shopping experience, and consequently, affects your profits.
Reza Merchant is a Foodie by passion and a Digital Marketer by profession. He enjoys creating digital content for various platforms and aspires to be the change he wants to see in this world.