If you’re like many small ecommerce-based businesses, you are no stranger to shipping mishaps. Fortunately, there are some tips and tricks from the experts that can help you run a tighter shipping ship (so to speak) and improve both your speed and your cost, which will help prevent losses and improve customer satisfaction at the same time.
#1 – Choose the Best Shipping Strategy
Though it’s certainly tempting to offer your customers free shipping because that’s what all the giant retailers are doing, it isn’t always the best strategy. If you charge too little for shipping, you won’t leave your business any room at all for growth. On the other hand, if you charge too much, your customers are likely to abandon their carts and you will lose numerous sales. Look at all your options and choose a shipping partner (or two – or even three) that provides you with the best balance between service and cost.
#2 – Hire a Fulfillment Partner
Of course, rather than spending days or even weeks reaching out to shipping partners and attempting to negotiate rates based on a very small volume of shipments, another option involves partnering with a fulfillment company. These companies have established relationships with these same shipping partners, which can save you a great deal of time and money. What’s more, you may even be able to provide your customers with options that were out of reach before, such as next-day delivery.
#3 – Implement Better Packaging
Let’s face it: the shipping giants around the world aren’t always very careful with packages, and that means you will need outstanding packaging that protects the contents and ensures they arrive to customers undamaged. Customers will send back very nearly 100% of damaged orders, and for the most part, the expense will be on your shoulders. When you start with high-quality, carefully-designed packaging that prevents damage in the first place, you can drastically reduce the number of returns you experience due to shipping mishaps.
#4 – Offer Your Customers Tracking Numbers
There is an extra cost to provide your customers with tracking numbers by email, web browser, or even on your website, but it is almost always worth it. Customers like being able to see that their orders are making progress, and when they are left in the dark, it breeds a great deal of doubt. Be sure to consider the cost of tracking when setting your shipping costs, or better yet, hire a fulfillment partner who can include this as part of the package deal.
#5 – Consider International Shipping Carefully
Though shipping internationally can open a great deal of promise for your company, there’s a lot to keep in mind. Individual countries have different rules about what can be imported, so if you’re selling vitamins, supplements, foods, plants, and even certain beauty products, this should be a real concern. Be sure that you understand each country’s laws before you agree to ship, and if this seems like too much trouble, rely on a partner who is familiar with international shipping and who can do that research for you.
Believe it or not, shipping can make or break your business, so it is important that you really take the time to understand the logistics. Choose the best strategy for your needs, make sure your packaging is up to the task, be certain that your customers will have access to tracking numbers, and do your research before agreeing to ship internationally. Better still, hire a fulfillment partner that can handle each of these things for you with their years of experience and knowledge.