With any ecommerce venture, you want to control as much of your customer’s experience as possible. You write company ads, approve images, tweak the user experience, and manage communications.
But this all changes once it’s time for your product to be shipped to a customer. At this point you need to hand over your brand (and its reputation) to a stranger.
Shipping can make or break your business and surprisingly many new ecommerce entrepreneurs don’t give it much thought. A wrong partner can lead to bad experiences for your customers and can destroy your business’ profitability.
In this post, we’re going to cover the basics of shipping your products to help demystify this topic. We’ll look at packaging, shipping options, shipping profitably and more.
Let’s get started.
Packaging & Marketing
It’s no secret that the world of ecommerce is competitive, and as more entrepreneurs enter the space, customers buying online expect a great experience. Believe it or not, the way you package and present your products is an effective way you can set yourself apart from competitors and create that great experience.
In a space where factory branded bags with black and white receipts slapped on top are standard, small details that make your customer feel special when they open their order go a long way in making a great impression.
Take some time and think about how your business can provide a better customer experience through your packaging and what you can do to make packaging part of your brand.
Before you start to think more about how you’ll ship your products, you need to decide your strategy for charging customers. There are many ways you can bill shipping but we’ve outlined some of the most common below:
An increasingly popular option that has been shown to reduce shopping cart abandonment and differentiate your brand. However, as you might suspect, shipping is never free so keep in mind you’ll be the one paying for it out of your margins.
Charge Carrier Rates
Another shipping strategy involves simply charging carrier rates for shipping. This has the benefit of passing the shipping cost onto your customers and lets them choose the exact service they want.
Charge a Flat Rate
There is also the option to offer flat-rate shipping on your products. This strategy generally works best if you have a standard product line that all share similar sizes and weights.
Insurance & Tracking
This will largely depend on on what you’re selling and its value. Shipping insurance and tracking isn’t necessary in all cases, but if your products are valuable it offers a great deal of security.
With most couriers, you can get insurance and tracking for a low price and some shipping services even have it built into their cost so make sure you research what is included and consider it when comparing prices.
Labelling Your Packages
Many new ecommerce entrepreneurs start off by writing the shipping and return address on the package by hand, but as you grow this option becomes far less practical.
Ecommerce platforms will often allow you to print a customer’s shipping address straight from the order page but if you want to take things one step further, consider sticker mailing labels you can buy for your home printer.
Like many aspects of building your new ecommerce site though, it will take time and tweaking to determine what works best. Finally, don’t be afraid re-evaluate your strategy to make sure you’re still delivering best possible experience to your customers.