Useful Shipping Tips for Your eCommerce Business

Ecommerce has leveled the business world playing field, enabling small sellers to compete with large suppliers. Having an online store doesn’t simply mean you’ve joined the 21st century; it also means that your customers expect rapid service, reliable shipping, and competitive pricing. Read on to know some helpful tips that will ensure successful business practices for anyone who ships their products.

1. Choose Your Carriers Wisely

Of all the carriers you might consider using, a safe bet would be to choose the established ones. Each has its benefits depending on what you sell! If you are starting out, we recommend Shopify fulfillment services since they simplify the process and make it easier for you to manage your business. If you want a specific fulfillment service, DHL is great for more oversized items that are expensive and need to be insured. USPS has the cheapest rates but generally offers the slowest delivery. UPS generally offers reliable service but can be much more costly than other carriers, so it’s best used when you have time to set up your shipping policies during slower periods. FedEx is great because they offer a wide range of services like Overnight shipping and Saturday deliveries… But don’t let their name fool you; their prices aren’t always as low as UPS.

How about international shipping? While these carriers also have international shipping services, you can explore other options for shipping your package. Look for less-known but reliable delivery or shipping providers. You can ship packages to Europe with Coolparcel or other shipping service providers with excellent reviews and track records. These carriers not only provide competitive shipping rates but also improve the shipping market dynamics as reliable alternative options for eCommerce businesses. With all these factors in mind, look at your business model and make an informed decision based on what works best for you or your business!

2. Don’t Forget Customs Forms and Read the Fine Print 

For international shipments (which most eCommerce businesses do), attached customs forms are required in order to avoid extra fees. Despite many carriers not providing these when you ship, they’re available through each carrier’s website so it never hurts to double-check. Also, FedEx, UPS, USPS, and other carriers all have specific guidelines that must be followed in order for your products to qualify for certain rates. If you don’t read their rules and restrictions, you could find yourself paying more than necessary because of something as simple as not knowing that hazardous materials can’t go ground or that documents are restricted to one per package.

3. Prioritize Your Customers’ Needs

A customer-centric approach can provide various benefits for your eCommerce business. Ask and address these fundamental questions: What is best for your customer? If you don’t know what they want or need, ask them! You can start doing this by offering them different types of shipping options. Do they need it fast? Expedited is the way to go! Do they need to save money? Air shipping is the cheapest method available. Alternatively, you could offer customers expedited services at a discounted rate or other special promotions. If you want to improve your customer retention, do not make the mistake of forgetting to prioritize their customers. People tend to think of them as all equal, but the truth of the matter is some are more important than others. High-value customers should get priority order management and shipping. If one customer is spending thousands each month with you, while another has only made a small purchase once, it’s clear who deserves special treatment.

4. Notify Customers of Shipping Changes

Customers who receive their products in a reasonable amount of time aren’t going to care if the items come wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string five days after they paid for them online. However, people will get irritated when things arrive late or even worse yet, don’t show up at all. If you’re going to be late on a shipment or there’s been a change to your normal shipping routine, make sure you contact customers as soon as possible and let them know about what’s going on. It’ll save you countless hours of sales that would otherwise be lost if someone had purchased something and was waiting for it to arrive only to find out weeks later it wasn’t coming after all due to unforeseen circumstances.

Using a parcel tracking system can help both your business and your customers be on the same page and know exactly where their package is and when it will arrive. Because this is such an important factor for eCommerce shoppers, I highly recommend always including the tracking number with shipment notification whether that be via email or inside your packing slip.

5. Package Like You Mean It 

To get the most out of your shipping dollar, avoid wasting money on polystyrene peanuts and bubble wrap just to fill the void. Instead, use shredded paper from your own home or business as a filler and you’ll be surprised at how much lighter a package will become. When packaging is done right, customers won’t have to worry about receiving broken items because even if it’s mishandled, it can easily just push the product down for a smooth ride.

6. Shipping Insurance

If you are shipping an item worth $500 or more, it is best not to assume anything when it comes to damage during transit. It’s always better to be safe than sorry! A lot of carriers provide insurance for items that they ship on your behalf and ask for proof of purchase and photos of the item before they will commence any insurance claims processes in case if there was any dispute about what was actually sent while under their care. Also, some carriers offer full replacement value for contents of packages lost in transit instead of only the original purchase price.

7. Keep Track of Your Expenses 

This might seem like common sense but we’ve all done it. Whether it be for business or personal use, we often lose track of how much we spend on certain things and shipping happens to be one of those expenses that rack up over time. So, to avoid losing track of your spending and having to pay more than you should, stay on top of what’s incoming and outgoing by keeping receipts and organizing them in a way that makes sense.

8. Get Your Employees Involved

You probably know better than anyone else how much time and energy it takes for successful shipping… but does your staff? Even though they may not be physically loading packages, make sure someone is there at all times when orders come in because chances are high that one person will get overwhelmed. Making other employees available for other tasks like helping customers or filling up stock ensures that everything keeps moving smoothly.

Shipping is a great way to drive sales, but only if the process goes smoothly and customers are happy at the end of the day. If shipments take too long or prices are too high, then it can cost an eCommerce business its reputation as well as money over time. Take care of these issues now before they become bigger problems down the road. As your business grows, learn the meaning of 3PL, third party logistics, to outsource your order fulfillment from start to finish.

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