Ecommerce has taken the world by storm. This year’s sales have already increased 2.4% since 2021. It’s a hugely competitive market, and one of the aspects customers highly value is shipping. Shipping is one of the final steps in a customer’s shopping experience, so the goal should be to create a smooth process.

Box Genie is here to walk you through the best eCommerce shipping solutions and some common mistakes to avoid.

The 5 Ecommerce Shipping Best Practices

  1. Offer free shipping
  2. Optimize your notification strategy 
  3. Checkout display 
  4. Provide a stellar customer experience 

Offer Free Shipping

There’s no way around the fact that customers love free shipping; Amazon has changed the eCommerce game, and customers expect it.

Consider that 77% of customers say they will abandon their shopping cart at checkout if free shipping is not offered. If you are running a small business, offering free shipping can seem daunting, as it can affect your profit margins. 

But there are solutions to help your eCommerce business adopt a free shipping method.

  1. Increase prices. This is a strategy that you must handle delicately. Increase product prices too much, and your customer won’t want to check out in the first place. Increase them too little, and it will end up costing you money. Take your time crunching the numbers on this one to ensure you find the right balance.
  2. Adopt cost-effective shipping. Different carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL are reliable, but their cheapest options, like flat rate shipping, can take at least a week to reach the consumer. When adopting this method, stay upfront with your customer on how long the shipping process could take. You can also offer a free delivery option and one or two-day delivery times for an additional shipping fee. 
  3. Offer free shipping with minimum purchase. Instead of committing cart abandonment, 30% of consumers will add products to their carts if it means qualifying for free shipping. Knowing the motivation behind a consumer’s choice to complete the checkout process can work to your advantage.

Optimize Your Notification Strategy 

Optimizing your notification strategy can help your overall operations immensely. Optimizing means creating an efficient eCommerce shipping strategy for your business and the most effective customer satisfaction experience. 

Keep in mind that during the shipping process, customers appreciate: 

  • Transparency
  • Tracking numbers
  • Real-time shipping updates

Use Automation

Customers love having information at their fingertips. But as a small business, that can be a lot to keep track of. So how do you make that happen? You automate

There are digital platforms, like Shopify, that will take over your manual process and streamline everything for you with workflow integrations. 

This also means that you and your employees no longer have to spend time doing this. While you will need to spend some time on the front end setting up your preferences, using this technology can free up so much time and energy that your team can dedicate to something more productive.

Use Web Push Notifications

Whichever eCommerce platform you choose, sending web push notifications is a must. Notifications are what enable your customer to stay informed about their order. 

Those notifications can include:

  • Order confirmation
  • Estimated shipping date
  • Shipping confirmation
  • Tracking number
  • Estimated arrival date
  • Delivery updates
  • Delivery confirmation

This might seem like a lot of information, but remember, automating your business will take that work out of it for you.

Checkout Display

You’ve undoubtedly taken the time to create an incredible aesthetic for your online store. But it shouldn’t stop there — your checkout display and process should be just as enjoyable for your customer. Read below for best practices for your checkout process.

Display Costs

Customers value transparency. Again, they will abandon their cart if they reach the checkout point and find unexpected fees. You should be upfront about your prices throughout their entire experience and display the costs again at checkout. 

Display costs should include:

  • Taxes
  • Cost of shipping
  • Total cost

Expected Delivery Date

The modern consumer loves information and will want to know when they can expect their purchase. You can offer this in two places.

  1. Before the Purchase: If customers order by a specific date and time, they can expect their delivery by this date and time.
  2. After the Purchase: Once the customer confirms their purchase, provide them with an immediate update on their expected delivery date. 

Consider Using Shopify

Earlier, we mentioned automating your checkout process with Shopify. Shopify is a commerce platform that allows you to operate an online business from start to finish. The platform offers several different plans, but through their checkout capabilities, you’re able to:

  • Accept online orders and payments
  • Check eCommerce store inventory levels
  • Customize checkout page settings and style
  • Include store shipping and return policies

Provide Stellar Customer Experience 

Customers care about their experience and will associate it with your brand. They want a reliable process to finish, including their post-purchase experience.

Post-Purchase Experience

Creating a positive post-purchase experience can increase customer retention and increase customer loyalty. Below are factors to consider when curating a hassle-free experience:

  • Provide personalized notifications about their order fulfillment
  • Provide information to keep customers in the loop on their order’s process, whether it is running smoothly or encountering delays
  • Branded packaging
  • Follow up with surveys

Have a Plan for Handling Problems

Even when you plan everything to a tee, problems can occur. It is essential to create a system of operations for handling shipping problems. 

When you run into challenges, the most important thing to remember is to keep your customer in the know. They might be frustrated with delays, but they will appreciate honest communication.

Common Shipping Mistakes

When running a business, mistakes will happen. When operating an eCommerce business with a shipping process, it’s essential to know the common mistakes to have solutions ready for when they occur.

Common shipping mistakes include:

  • Late deliveries
  • Lost/damaged products
  • Incorrect billing or delivery address
  • Carrier fees
  • Multiple/incorrect charges

It doesn’t do much good for us to tell you the problems, so keep reading, and Box Genie will walk you through some solutions.

Late Deliveries

Think about how often you track packages you order from your favorite eCommerce business. Well, your customer is likely doing the same or even more. Late delivery is a tough issue because it is mostly out of your hands once you ship a product.

However, you can notify your customer and assure them you are doing everything possible to take care of their online order swiftly.

Lost/Damaged Products

It can be discouraging to see a beautiful custom parcel you created get lost or damaged along the way, but it does happen. When customers make their online purchase, they also look forward to the package and care about its appearance upon arrival.

Again, handling the delivery is out of your control, but managing your communication is controllable. Here are three suggestions for dealing with lost/damaged products:

  • Use quality packing materials to avoid damage
  • Illustrated a clear return process/exchange policy, so your customer knows what to expect from the process
  • Maintain an insurance policy with your shipping carrier
  • Build a helpful and competent customer service department

Incorrect Billing or Delivery Address

“It’s the little things in life” is an old saying. When you create your shipping labels, you know that every number is an essential factor. 

So how can you avoid incorrect billing information or delivery address?

  • Automate: Automation can streamline your business. It takes the human error factor out of the process because whatever the customer inputs at checkout, the automation platform will copy directly. This means that the labels, credit card information, and everything else you get is straight from the customer.
  • Contact Your Carrier: This is why having a reliable delivery carrier is crucial. They will understand that mistakes happen. If you contact them, they should be able to find the package and correct the error for you. 

Carrier Fees

You will have to deal with carrier fees when using any kind of shipping. But it is necessary to be aware of them to factor that cost into your business plan. In addition, if you are going to offer international shipping options, you will need to be familiar with the following:

  • International carriers
  • Taxes
  • Duty
  • Conversion rates
  • Permits and paperwork

Serving a broader consumer base is an excellent capability, but you need to be aware of the costs, so you are not surprised by the charge. You must also be upfront with your customer if you do not offer free international shipping.

Multiple/Incorrect Charges

Multiple or incorrect charges should be another motivation to adopt an automation system for your business. Shopify, for example, will keep track of all charges made, providing you with documentation in the case of a disputed charge.

Another system you must have in place is customer service. Often, an employee must handle charge disputes, which means you’ll need someone familiar with managing the process. 

The Bottom Line

When it comes to the shipping process and shipping costs, there is a lot to consider. With an ecommerce business, it is essential to maintain efficient and reliable shipping practices. So, what’s the bottom line?

  1. Free shipping is your friend
  2. Automate your business
  3. Create a seamless experience for your customer by keeping them informed at all times
  4. Structure systems of operations for preventing and managing shipping mistakes

Shipping is one of the final steps of a customer’s online shopping experience. As a business owner, it is your job to take care of your customer all the way home. Work hard on this final step to ensure the process is in shape.

Box Genie is the place to go for more information about eCommerce shipping and anything packaging-related. Visit the Box Genie website for more details. 



Sources:

Shipping Is Critical To Keeping Online Shoppers Happy ⎸ Forbes

Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales 1st Quarter 2022 ⎸ U.S. Department of Commerce

Three Ways Automation Empowers Employees ⎸ Forbes

eCommerce Automation | Shopify

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