The rise of online buying has revolutionized the way people purchase products. As such, shipping solutions have become a crucial component of the ecommerce sector.
Finding the ideal shipping solution for your company as an online retailer can be difficult. There are many things to consider, including price, dependability, quickness, and scalability. Here is an overview of the top e-commerce shipping options.
What Is E-commerce Shipping: The E-commerce Shipping Process Explained
Ecommerce shipping is the procedure used to transport customers’ online-purchased goods. It includes the infrastructure and logistical processes necessary to complete an e-commerce transaction and transfer a product from a vendor to a buyer.
Order fulfillment, packing, label creation, carrier selection, and delivery tracking are typical stages in the e-commerce shipping procedure. The order fulfillment process begins when the seller gets the order information through their website and starts preparing and packaging the product.
The customer’s location and the carrier’s tracking number get included on the shipping label. Next, the merchandise is shipped to the carrier’s hub or sorting facility by the seller after choosing a carrier for delivery.
The product finally gets delivered to the customer’s doorstep, and the customer can check the delivery status using the tracking number the seller gave.
The e-commerce shipping procedure significantly affects the user experience and can impact a seller’s standing and financial success. Sellers must select dependable carriers and streamline their shipping procedures to guarantee prompt and affordable deliveries.
Ecommerce Shipping Methods and Strategies
E-commerce shipping methods and strategies play a crucial role in the success of online businesses. Online retailers must offer various shipping options catering to different delivery requirements and preferences to fulfill customers’ expectations.
There are two ways to figure out shipping costs for online purchases. The two methods are:
- Flat shipping rates
- Live shipping rates
Flat-rate shipping imposes a set price regardless of the package’s weight or final destination. Customers purchasing small items or seeking predictable shipping costs may choose flat rates.
On the other hand, live rates get determined by the package’s weight, location, and delivery option the customer selects. Live rates are more precise and can be a good choice for customers purchasing bulky or heavy items or requiring fast delivery.
Online merchants frequently offer free shipping. While some retailers offer free shipping on every transaction, others have minimum purchase requirements that customers must meet. Although it can be expensive for retailers, offering free shipping to consumers can be an excellent way to encourage them to purchase.
A package can be shipped using either ground shipment or expedited shipping. Ground shipping can still be a good choice for customers who quickly receive their package, even though it is usually slower and less expensive than expedited shipping.
On the other hand, expedited shipping is more costly but faster than ground shipping. Customers who need their packages to arrive quickly may find this a good choice.
How to Calculate Your E-commerce Shipping Costs
The size, weight, location of the shipment, and delivery method you select all play a role in determining your e-commerce shipping costs. Here are some steps to assist you in figuring out your shipping expenses for online purchases.
- Choose Your Carriers – It’s critical to pick carriers that fit your needs and budget while also providing services, rates, and delivery times that are compatible with your needs and goals as a company.
Take into account the dimensions and weight of your shipments. Consider using postal services like USPS or Canada Post if you offer small, light items. On the other hand, consider using freight services like FedEx Freight or UPS Freight for more extensive and heavier goods. Additionally, contrast the fees and prices charged by various carriers. Every carrier has a different pricing system, so picking one that provides affordable rates for your particular shipping requirements is crucial.
- Determine the Shipping Rates and Methods – Each shipping company provides various options. They include ground, expedited, and overnight shipping. To determine which shipping option best suits your requirements, weigh the delivery time, cost, and dependability.
- Measure Your Package Size and Weight – To receive an exact shipping cost estimate, precisely measuring your package’s size and weight is essential. Measure the box’s length, width, and height to determine its cubic size. Then, multiply those three measurements to determine the package’s volume. Next, place the product on the scale to determine its weight, then note it in pounds or kilograms. Once you know your package’s size and weight, you can use this data to determine your e-commerce shipping expenses. Numerous shipping companies provide online calculators that use this data to give you an idea of the shipping cost. As an alternative, you can request a quote straight from the carrier.
- Determine the Origin and Destination of Your Package – Calculating your shipping costs for online purchases requires knowing the origin and destination of your package. It means specifying the locations from and to which your product will get transported. The shipping expense will increase as the distance between the origin and destination increases.
- Choose Your Packaging Options – You must consider your goods’ dimensions and weight when selecting your packaging options. Use a giant box or packaging material to protect your package during transit if they are heavy or bulky. You may also require to select various packaging materials depending on the nature of your goods. For instance, when shipping, you must use materials like bubble wrap or foam padding to secure fragile items. Use insulated packaging to keep perishable products fresh during transportation if you’re shipping them.
- Calculate Your Shipping Costs – To determine how much shipping will cost, use the carrier’s online calculator and input the package’s dimensions, weight, and shipping method. To assist you in controlling your shipping expenses and streamlining the shipping procedure, consider using shipping management software or a third-party logistics provider.
How to Track E-commerce Shipments and Returns
Tracking shipments is an essential part of e-commerce, and many software tools are available to help businesses track their shipments effectively. Integrated shipping software can help companies to automate their shipping and tracking process.
These software tools integrate with multiple carriers and provide real-time tracking updates to clients.
How to Track Outbound Shipments
Here’s how to track shipments for your e-commerce enterprise.
- Use Shipping Software – You can monitor your shipments using shipping software such as Shippo, ShipStation, or EasyPost from when they leave your warehouse until they reach their destination. It offers up-to-date details on your packages’ whereabouts, condition, and scheduled arrival time and integrates with multiple carriers.
- Carrier Tracking – Utilizing a specific tracking number given to each package by the shipping company, such as UPS, FedEx, or DHL, is how carrier tracking works. When a package is delivered, the carrier gives it a tracking number, scans it into its system, and records it. The package then gets tracked using this tracking number as it travels through the carrier’s network of sorting locations and transportation vans.
- Automated Email Notifications – Automated email updates inform your customers about their shipments’ status, which helps decrease customer queries and raise customer satisfaction.
- Order Management Systems (OMS) – An order management system is essential for businesses that must efficiently manage their orders and shipments. It allows companies to streamline their shipping processes, minimize errors, and reduce the time it takes to fulfill orders. By providing real-time tracking information, an OMS can improve customer satisfaction by giving customers visibility into the shipment’s progress and expected delivery date.
How to Track and Handle Returns
Managing returns can be a difficult job. However, with proper planning and execution, you can handle the process successfully. Here are some actions you can take to manage refunds effectively.
- Provide a Clear Return Policy – Your return policy should be clear and concise. It should include details such as the return timeline, the returned item’s condition, and the refund or exchange process.
- Automate the Return Process – Software solutions give customers an instantaneous means to initiate returns and monitor their development.
- Provide Prepaid Shipping Labels – To make the return process as simple as possible for your clients, offer them pre-paid shipping labels. Customer satisfaction will increase as a result, and the possibility of negative reviews will decrease.
Other Considerations for Optimizing the Ecommerce Shipping Strategy
Here are some other considerations that can impact the success of your shipping strategy.
- Profit Margin – Achieving a balance between exceeding customer standards and maximizing profitability is necessary when optimizing an ecommerce shipping strategy with margin in mind. Ensure the shipping fees you charge enables you to make a profit and cover the shipping and handling expense.
- Insurance – Shipping and freight insurance shields both the seller and the client from potential financial loss brought on by package theft, loss, or damage while in transport. Customers feel secure knowing their orders are insured thanks to shipping insurance. Insurance raises customer satisfaction, which encourages referrals and favorable online reviews.
- International Shipping – If you ship globally, learning about and comprehending each nation’s customs and shipping requirements is crucial. To account for varying shipping prices and times, consider giving foreign customers a variety of shipping methods.
- 3PL (Third-Party Logistics) Companies -You can improve delivery times, streamline your shipping procedure, and obtain better shipping rates with a 3PL. To optimize your shipping plan and save time and money, think about collaborating with a 3PL.
Final Thoughts on E-commerce Shipping for Online Brands
The best e-commerce shipping option for your company will rely on your specific needs and financial constraints. Consider your choices carefully and choose the one that will save you time and money while delivering a great customer experience.