You just started a business. You have a product that you’re proud of, and customers are ready to buy. 

How do you get that product to them? 

Large ecommerce merchants and online retailers can offer options like free shipping or same-day shipping. They also use branded packaging and provide tracking details to the customer. How can your brand new company compete with these large, established operations?

BoxGenie has developed an ecommerce shipping guide for your business.

Importance of an Ecommerce Shipping Strategy

Having an ecommerce shipping strategy is important to an organized and efficient company. You need to plan each shipment step necessary to get your products to the customer. When business gets busy, a clear outline of the shipping strategy helps manage the influx of purchase orders. 

Creating a shipping strategy is also important for offering your buyers the best possible options for shipping. Unclear or unsatisfactory shipping options can lose your company customers. A study found that 77% of customers have "left items in their cart because the shipping options offered them were “unsatisfactory.” 

This is an easily preventable loss of business. A thorough, well-researched strategy will benefit your customers and also your business. 

Elements of an Ecommerce Shipping Strategy

Ecommerce shipping strategies vary from company to company, depending on the types of goods sold, target demographic, and shipping budget. Regardless, a good ecommerce shipping strategy addresses all of the following elements:

  • Understanding of the shipping process
  • Type of shipping
  • Packaging 
  • Shipping costs
  • Shipping carriers

Remember, no two companies’ strategies are alike. Companies shipping a large number of products internationally may not offer overnight transit or store pickup and opt to use UPS as their carrier

A small business catering primarily to the interests of a local niche group might prefer to use USPS and create custom packaging that delights their customers. 

Think of your company’s needs as you read through these elements. 

Understanding the Shipping Process

It’s important to understand how the shipping process works before developing a shipping strategy. When people think of shipping, they often think it’s as simple as just dropping off the items at your local carrier’s office. However, it is a much more involved process. 

What Is Ecommerce Shipping?

Ecommerce shipping is the means of transporting goods purchased online to the customer’s preferred delivery location. This requires various services.

  1. The first service is order receiving. This is the process through which your customer completes checkout and an order is placed and prepared for delivery. 
  2. The next step is order processing, where you verify the order data, such as order quantity and delivery address. 
  3. Finally comes order fulfillment, which is the logistics of getting an ordered item to the customer and involves managing product inventory, packing, and transportation. 

Executing each of these steps efficiently gets your product to the customer promptly and leaves them satisfied with your service. 

Types of Ecommerce Shipping Methods

The next step in building your ecommerce strategy is deciding which shipping methods you will offer to your customers. It is important to understand each method’s cost of shipping before picking the ones for your business. There are a few different types of shipping methods frequently used for meeting the needs of customers:

Same-day Delivery

This shipping option promises customers that they will receive their purchased items the same day they ordered them. 

Due to the extensive organization and resources that it takes, this option can be expensive. However, many customers are willing to pay the price.

Overnight Shipping

Customers are guaranteed to receive their items the next business day with overnight shipping. 

2-day Shipping

This speed of shipping has become a new standard in ecommerce. Large and small businesses alike can offer this option to their customers. 

Expedited Shipping

The exact specifications of expedited shipping vary from carrier to carrier, but you can expect shipping speeds faster than ground shipping. This shipping solution is a great asset for your company to market to potential customers.

International Shipping

Navigating regulations, tariffs, and taxes can seem overwhelming.  If your company hopes to draw customers from other countries, it is important to have a strategy for shipping internationally. 

Packaging for Ecommerce Shipping

While the packaging may seem unimportant since it just gets discarded by the customer, it is actually a very important part of shipping. If done correctly, it enhances the customer experience, as well as provides marketing for your company. Using the right packaging for your items is a matter of considering the proper protection and design for your items. 

A primary function of packaging is protection, so make sure you select packaging for your items with their safety in mind. If you are shipping fragile items, use both the right materials and the right technique. Double box your items if necessary.

While it’s important that your packaging offers protection, its look matters too; creating custom packaging allows the box to function as marketing for your company. Custom packaging provides the perfect first impression and enhances your customer experience for subsequent orders. Packaging is also a critical point in your overall branding strategy. Use Box Genie to integrate brand elements such as colors, logos, and artwork to personalize your customers’ experience and drive brand recognition. 

Ecommerce Shipping Costs

It’s important to consider the costs to both you and your customer. Find the balance between offering your customers the best services and keeping them affordable. Customers have high expectations for shipping options, so do your research. 

Factors that affect the price of shipping include size, weight, destination, and shipping speed. Rates vary from carrier to carrier, so compare to see which makes the most financial sense for your company’s needs. 

Some ways to lower shipping costs include volume discounts for high volumes of packages. Carriers even offer business discounts or can be negotiated into lowering their prices. 

Choose Your Carrier

Finally, it’s important to know the shipping carriers that are available and what they offer. Carriers vary in terms of rate, services, and policies. When it comes to shipping carriers, your company has a few options to choose from:

  • United Parcel Service (UPS) – The UPS is known as the world’s largest package delivery service. It is usually the cheapest carrier for ground shipping.
  • FedExFedEx offers a range of services and price points. They can do international shipping. 
  • United States Postal Service (USPS) – The USPS is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government. USPS works best with smaller packages and fast, localized delivery. 
  • DHL – This carrier can handle international shipping. 

You’re All Set

Shipping is extremely important to keeping online shoppers satisfied. Even if you have a great product, a poor shipping experience can drive customers away. Having an ecommerce shipping strategy ensures the customer receives their items quickly and safely. It also makes running an ecommerce business more streamlined – a win-win.

When shipping from your ecommerce store, you'll still need to think about packing materials, storage, dimensions, shipping labels, and shipping rates. Also, remember to keep track of real-time carrier rates for your online business. Make sure your customers understand they can also pick up from their local post office or choose local delivery, next-day delivery, or any other ecommerce shipping solution

A proper understanding of the elements of the ecommerce shipping process is important for building your own strategy and avoiding uneducated mistakes. Now that you know how to create an ecommerce strategy for your new business, you can enter the market confident that you are offering your customers the very best in both products and shipping services!

 

Sources:

  1. Shipping Is Critical To Keeping Online Shoppers Happy | Forbes 
  2. Shipping, Delivered | Big Commerce
  3. 10 Ways to Trim Shipping Costs | Entrepreneur

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