Whether you run an established business looking to take operations online or you’ve just started building your ecommerce business, creating a flawless user experience for your customers should be a priority. This requires a strategic and well-thought-out approach to shipping.
Low, affordable shipping costs, the ability to deliver orders on time, and maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction can influence buyers, drive sales, and create returning customers.
All You Need To Know About Ecommerce Shipping
In ecommerce, customers have to pay up without physically seeing a product, so an efficient shipping strategy can boost your credibility and help you build a trust-based relationship with your customers.
With shipping, customers dislike surprises. About 53% of ecommerce customers abandon the cart because of hidden costs like shipping and tax.
Expensive shipping costs, late shipments, unfulfilled orders, and unclear return policies can lead to customer service issues and poor reviews, which can ultimately ruin your business. To stand out among your competitors, you must identify the best ecommerce shipping practices and implement them in your business model to keep your customers happy while keeping the costs down as much as possible.
You’ve done all the hard work to develop or feature amazing products and put in a lot of blood, sweat, and tears towards optimizing your website experience. The next step is to map out a well-defined shipping strategy based on customer demographics, product, budget, margins, and other factors.
Ecommerce shipping has become more competitive than ever. Retail giants like Amazon, Alibaba, and Walmart are continually transforming their online shopping and delivery experience.
As a result, despite living in unprecedented times, the customer’s expectations around shipping haven’t shifted. An efficient shipping strategy can mean the difference between a customer choosing to purchase your products or abandoning their shopping cart altogether. Shipping options can make or break your ecommerce business.
Precise order fulfillment and return policies, product packing, and even the shipping options you give your customers contribute to seamless customer experience and can significantly affect your brand image.
Ecommerce Shipping Companies
Shipping companies play a vital role in ecommerce around the world, so choosing the one that best suits your business is crucial. There are several things to consider when choosing an ecommerce shipping service. Product size and weight, shipping costs, delivery times, location, packaging, insurance, tracking capabilities, guarantees, and return policies are all critical factors.
Knowing the weight and dimensions of your products is essential because it allows you to estimate the rate you’ll get from a carrier. Many delivery services follow a pricing model based on the size and weight of each parcel.
For small, lightweight orders, you can opt for national postal service. They offer flat rates for ecommerce and small businesses. A private courier offering a range of options for parcels would be a better option for more massive products.
Depending on whether you are shipping locally or internationally, choose a shipping company that will ensure your packages can make it to your desired location on time. Customers appreciate eco-friendly packaging solutions because they are recyclable or re-usable. Partnering with an ecommerce shipping company with sustainable packaging options will positively affect your brand image. Let’s look at some leading e-commerce shipping companies in the world.
- United States Postal Service
USPS offers three major services. First Class Mail guarantees delivery within two to five days. Priority Mail guarantees delivery within two to three business days and Express Mail within one to two business days, depending on the customer’s location. USPS is ideal for shipping items weighing over two pounds.
UPS has a workforce of about six million or more in nearly 220 countries and regions around the world. It is economically ideal if you ship large volume packages weighing over three pounds. UPS also offers three-day, two-day, and next-day shipping, depending on the customer’s needs.
Founded in 1969, DHL became the world’s first door-to-door international delivery service. Since then, it has become one of the world’s largest logistics companies and has enjoyed rapid growth worldwide. DHL’s vast network covers over 220 countries and regions, with a workforce of 500,000 employees worldwide.
DHL has reliable transit times, multiple label creation options, purchase insurance for each piece on the portal, and a professional contact center for traders and consumers, making it the perfect partner for ecommerce businesses. DHL’s SmartMail Parcel and SmartMail Parcel Plus services guarantee delivery between two to three days.
FedEx is one of the world’s leading international shipping companies, specializing in transportation and logistics. It is famous for its one-day or overnight delivery. For packages exceeding three pounds, FedEx is a more affordable choice when compared to UPS and USPS. FedEx (US) offers three primary services, FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx Standard Overnight, which guarantees delivery on the next business day.
Ecommerce Shipping Software Solutions
If you want to offer the most effective customer experience, you may need to use shipping software solutions for high-quality order fulfillment.
The most efficient software solutions provide seamless integration with popular ecommerce shopping carts and platforms, enabling you to manage and ship your online orders with ease. Here are some of the best shipping software platforms.
- Shopify Shipping
If you are already using Shopify, this platform is ideal because it’s already part of your subscription. Shopify Shipping can handle the needs of smaller businesses fairly well, allows for integration with other platforms, and has excellent discounts from major carriers, including USPS, UPS, and DHL.
ShippingEasy is perfect for small to medium-sized businesses. It offers comprehensive onboarding and support, automated labeling and tracking, and is free if you ship 50 or fewer orders per month. ShippingEasy also integrates with most major ecommerce software platforms and has substantial USPS discounts.
Shippo has a pay-as-you-go pricing model that allows merchants who ship up to 200 orders per month to pay only five cents plus postage for every order shipped and opt-out of monthly fees. It also integrates with most ecommerce platforms and offers discounts and discounted insurance rates to USPS and DHL customers.
Sellbrite, Refund Geeks, ShipStation, Ordoro, MetaPack, and Freightview are also notable ecommerce shipping software solutions.
Best Shipping For Ecommerce Business
A well-executed shipping plan can bring in more customers, boost customer satisfaction rates, and convert more visitors into paying customers. Every sale matters, and return consumers are just as important. If you don’t offer shipping that’s in line with your customer’s expectations, you may experience high cart abandonment rates, lower conversions, and fewer orders.
Let’s go over some of the best ecommerce shipping practices that can help you develop and implement a flawless shipping and fulfillment strategy.
- Free Shipping
Free shipping is not only a delivery option but also a tremendous marketing tool. Offering free shipping can increase conversions and build customer loyalty. For nine out of ten consumers, free shipping is a critical online shopping incentive. A NRF study found that 75% of consumers surveyed expected delivery to be free even on orders under $50.
Unfortunately, someone has to foot the bill, which may mean lower margins for you or higher prices for your customers. You can try a variety of conditional free shipping strategies to stay profitable. One option could be to include free shipping if a customer spends a specific amount on your products.
For example, Amazon provides free shipping on all orders over $25. You can also use free shipping as a promotional offer during a particular time of year or for specific products.
- Flat Rate Shipping
Flat rate shipping is when all product purchases have the same shipping cost regardless of weight, shape, and size. This is helpful for the customer because they know exactly what to expect as the total cost of a product. It also allows the customer to plan for future purchases because you can guarantee fixed shipping cost. Also, this will enable you to calculate your total shipping costs.
- Clear Order Fulfilment and Shipping Policies
Bad customer experience can be detrimental to an ecommerce business. Customers value security and convenience. By highlighting the strong points of your shipping strategy, you can give customers a glimpse of what they can expect with order fulfillment. For example, if you offer free shipping, this has to be visible on your ecommerce store.
This raises the bar of expectation, but it also creates valuable customer awareness. If your visitors can make purchases with confidence in the order fulfillment and return policies, they are more likely to become return customers.
Incorporating a quality tracking system in your shipping strategy will contribute to positive customer experiences. Most customers expect to be part of the shipping process from start to finish. This involves sending order confirmations after placing an order and shipping confirmations with comprehensive tracking tools after the shipment has been sent.
Intense competition in the ecommerce industry has encouraged more sellers to find creative ways to improve customer experience. Quality shipping strategies have become essential in curbing low conversion rates, high cart abandonment rates, and poor customer reviews.
A shipping model that is custom-tailored to suit your customers’ needs offers quality customer support and utilizes the best shipping software solution that will put you a step ahead of the competition.