Guide to E-Commerce Shipping and Fulfillment

Guide to E-Commerce Shipping and Fulfillment

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No matter what type of business it is, everyone tries to create the best experience for their customers and puts a lot of effort into ensuring it. From tweaking your store to writing emails, you give your best to make your customers happy.  

However, when we talk about shipping, you might feel that you’re giving your brand’s responsibility to someone else. Though with some strategies and planning, you wouldn’t feel the same, and it is really great because shipping plays an important role in your business. It is basically the endpoint where the customer gets to experience your brand’s product that showcases your business— as per your shipping strategy. Also, some businesses use shipping management software to make their shipping process easy. 

And it is one of the major reasons why it is important to plan a proper shipping strategy. Considering the field of shipping and fulfillment can be pretty complicated when you are unaware of certain things in it, we brought you the complete guide to eCommerce shipping and fulfillment so that you can make your business more successful. 

Hence, here are some of the basics of shipping your products and help you understand this complicated topic: 

Shipping Strategy

There are a few factors that should be considered for your shipping and fulfillment. Though these plans and strategies can be easily changed later on, at the same time these factors are the fundamental keys that make your every step well-defined and improve your shipping strategy as well. 

  1. Your Shipping Rates and Methods

Have you planned yet whether you are going to give the complete cost of shipping on to your customers, or offer them free or flat-rate shipping to absorb some of the shipping cost? If not, then don’t worry, because, by the end of this blog, you’ll definitely know how to make the right choice for your company/brand.  

  1. Product Weights

You should measure and update the weight of each selling product to make the shipping process easy. Having that information will help you in getting an idea of your total costs and enables you to provide accurate prices to your customers. 

  1. Set your Shipping Rates and Methods

Before shipping your products, first, you would require deciding your pricing plans for shipping and fulfillment. There are various common methods, though you should always choose your option according to the underlying financials of your business. Or you can opt for Boxon shipping applications. 

  1. Offer Free Shipping

Giving your customers something like free shipping is one of the great ways to decrease shopping cart abandonment. Nonetheless, as you must be aware, shipping is never free. Someone has to pay for it. So, to make the idea of free shipping work, you have certain options, like: 

  • You can increase your product prices so that they can cover costs for shipping as well, here the customer pays.
  • You can pay the whole price of shipping out of your margins, here you will be the one who will pay.
  • You can increase the product prices slightly, so that it can cover half the cost of shipping, here both, you and your customer pay.
  • Or you can just offer a discount code to a few of the customers for free shipping.

In addition, you can provide free shipping to your customers on a minimum order amount. This tactic can help you in reducing the costs of shipping by helping to enhance your average order size, but you will be the one paying for it by going out of your margins. 

  1. Charge Real-Time Carrier Rates

Another great shipping strategy is to charge real-time carrier rates for shipping. Mostly, e-commerce platforms integrate in real-time with several carriers to create shipping options and live pricing from different carriers. This gives your customers to choose from various options and pay for the service they like to have.   

  1. Charge a Flat Rate

One of the other popular options is to give flat rate shipping. The best way that you can handle this option is to try and ensure that you don’t undercharge or overcharge your customers, significantly. Because flat rate shipping only works best when you have a range of standard items that have the same sizes and weights. Flat rate shipping can easily become less effective if you are planning to sell a wide range of products with various sizes and weights. 

Packaging and Marketing

With the growth of the e-commerce industry, the expectations of customers are also growing drastically. Before, packaging and shipping were a way to receive a product that is bought online, but now customers are looking for more, such as shipping, packaging, and presentation as part of the e-commerce experience. 

This expectation makes many businesses go out of their standard way in selling commodities, competing effectively, basically, above, and beyond to impress customers and fulfill their expectations by providing them with a great user experience, not just a product. 

Your way of packing your product and presenting it can be an effective way to set yourself apart from your competition.  

In the industry where factory bags and a black-and-white order receipt are considered standard, it’s the unique details like the splash of color that can take you long down the line in making a great impression on customers. 

Nowadays, some of the most successful and popular brands are those using unique or different packaging to deliver their products. 

Just think about how you can give your customers a better user experience through your packaging, and how you can use that packaging as a platform to represent your brand.  

  1. Packaging Options

Before shipping your products, you must pack them for safe transport. So, what options do you have? There are some popular options for packaging, that includes boxes or envelopes (padded or unpadded). For various businesses and products, you would require a box and some other packaging materials to safely ship your products. 

You also would want to try thinking outside of the box and look at other different packaging options. For instance, poly mailers are a great way to mail items that don’t need a lot of structure or cushioning, such as clothing. 

Not to mention, poly mailers provide several benefits. They are lightweight, which decreases your shipping costs, and they can adjust to different volumes and weights depending on the order. For instance, the same size of poly mailer can be used to pack one pair of socks, or five, and you don’t have to worry about overpaying on packaging weight or dimensions for the single pair.  

  1. Keep it Light and Small

The cost of most shipping options depends on the size and/or weight, so it would be best for you to keep your packaging as small as possible. This will help you save on your shipping costs, what your customer paid for shipping, and also keep packaging costs taking away your profit margin. 

Depending on your business, you might want to take into account the variety of package sizes and packaging materials. 

Some people think of packaging as excessive. And you should completely avoid it, as it inflates shipping costs drastically. 

Insurance and Tracking

Always try to purchase insurance on big-ticket items so that, in the cases when a package gets lost, you’ll be covered by insurance. Remember that some shipping services have insurance already into the price, so it is important for you to consider this when you are comparing different courier prices. 

Tariffs, Taxes, and Duties

If there are any kind of additional customs fees due when a product reaches its destination, your customer will be responsible for them at the time of delivery. Hence, it is always a better idea to ensure that you include this information on your shipping policy, so that customers know about the fees beforehand.  

Using a Fulfillment Warehouse

A fulfillment warehouse can help you in automating and managing the shipping for you. When you opt to work with a fulfillment warehouse, you will store your products at one of their warehouses. Depending on their level of integration with your shopping cart, whenever the order is placed, your fulfillment partner will forward the order to pick, pack, and ship the purchase order on your behalf, automatically. 

Additionally, there are various benefits of using a fulfillment warehouse, such as: 

  1. Cheaper Shipping Rates

As fulfillment warehouses ship large quantities for multiple vendors, they get cheaper shipping rates. Typically, they also have all of the major shipping logistics companies tied, and that gives you easier access to the widest range of shipping options. 

  1. Shorter Shipping Times

Choosing your fulfillment partner and the warehouse to store your products, strategically, means that, you can store your inventory closer to your customers. 

Shipping is a Crucial Part of Your E-Commerce Business

Undoubtedly, shipping is one of the most challenging aspects of any e-commerce business. Every business has its own different challenges that they need to work through and overcome to make the best and most successful shipping strategy. Similar to aspects of creating your new e-commerce site, it will take time and a lot of tweaking to decide what works best with your brand. 

Understanding all the factors and optimizing your shipping strategy with your growing business is important to become successful.  

So, after you decide that you have it all figured out, don’t let it waste. Re-evaluate after some time to ensure that you’re delivering the best possible service and experience to your customers. 

You can perform shipping operations from anywhere with our smart BoxOn Shipping Software, which gives you a greater level of mobility.

More to go, stay connected…