As an ecommerce seller, you’ve got a lot on your plate. From building your website to delivering excellent customer service to managing your bottom line, it’s easy to overlook one critical element of a successful ecommerce business – your shipping plan.
When developing your shipping strategy, there’s a whole list of elements to consider. Here’s a round-up of the most important things you need to consider when developing a successful shipping strategy.
WHAT WILL YOU CHARGE?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is whether or not to offer free shipping. After all, 93 percent of online shoppers take some sort of extra step in order to qualify for free shipping. However, while free shipping promotions help on the marketing front, it can add extra cost to your shipping budget.
There are a few different routes you can take when it comes to shipping options. You can offer free shipping as an incentive, you can charge an average amount to each customer or you can charge your customers for the actual cost of shipping. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that it may take some trial and error to determine the best option for your ecommerce business.
PACKAGE IT UP
As customer expectations continue to rise, it’s imperative that online retailers go above and beyond the standard, and deliver an online shopping experience that is top-notch. Look at your product packaging as a way to extend your customer service and an opportunity to set your brand apart from all the others. Add in a thank you note, personalized packaging or other little details to show your customers you care about their online shopping experience.
STICK A LABEL ON IT
Now that you’ve determined how to charge customers for shipping and how to package your goods, it’s time to decide how you want to label your packages. As your business grows, hand-written labels probably won’t be an option. Look into finding an ecommerce shipping platform that allows you to print shipping labels directly from your online store or marketplace.
Depending on the types of products your business sells, you may or may not decide to provide parcel insurance. If you’re frequently shipping pricier items, it’s definitely a factor to consider.
Dispatch notifications and tracking information are two other useful tools that will help you package and ship responsibly. Help yourself keep track of shipments and provide your customers with a sense of security throughout their shopping and shipping experience.
Shipping responsibly also means making sure you’re shipping profitably. Research your shipping and packaging options so you don’t end up losing money on your shipping services.
When shipping internationally, make sure to include the correct documentation and customs forms. Check in with the countries you will be shipping to in order to find out exactly what you’ll need to include in and on your packages. Also, make sure your customers know whether or not additional customs fees will be charged to them. This way, they won’t be surprised about unexpected expenses at the time of delivery.
In the end, there’s no such thing as a universal shipping plan. Take the time to figure out what works and what doesn’t for your ecommerce business. Consider your cost-friendly options, your customers’ satisfaction and what’s going to make the most sense for your business to be successful.