With thousands of retailers on the Internet today, having an excellent e-commerce website is no longer enough to carve a niche in the online selling industry. It won’t even guarantee that you will make enough sales to recoup your initial investment. Because of this, as an online merchant, you need to find ways to make your business stand out in a sea of competition or, at the very least, capable of meeting the current needs of your customers. This is something that you have to work on when you start selling online internationally and even locally. One of the strategies you can implement to achieve these goals is to have exceptional, efficient shipping services. When your customers get their orders in good condition within the specified timeframe, they will have no reason to complain and be dissatisfied with your online shop. Your chances of having them buy something from your site will be higher as well.
Additionally, offering shipping deals and perks that will allow your customers to save money is always a smart, strategic move. It is a great way to encourage return business and attract new, potential buyers.
Effective E-commerce Shipping Practices and Strategies
Below are four shipping practices and tactics you can implement that will boost sales and help your site stand out:
1. Find the right shipping partner
Your ability to offer low shipping rates and other perks will depend greatly on your service provider. Shop around for the best shipping option based on the size and weight of your products. Factor in your budget as well when looking at your choices.
Additionally, consider the following when choosing your final shipping carrier:
- Average shipping and delivery times for both local and international shipments
- Available shipping methods
- The proportion of domestic and international shipments
- The average shipments you will be making each month
Lastly, do not hesitate to speak with the staff of your shortlisted shipping carriers. Inform them of your budget, the typical type, size, weight, and prices of products you will be shipping, and other details they have to be aware of.
The best shipping companies will listen to you and find ways to accommodate your needs so that you can satisfy your customers.
2. Offer free shipping
Providing free shipping is a strategy that can boost your sales. It can also be an excellent marketing tool as well. Although offering free shipping means you will have to shoulder the expenses for this service, it doesn’t automatically mean you will lose money on this. There are several ways to provide this perk without substantial financial loss on your part.
One of these options is to offer it with a minimum order. Establish a minimum order value that will allow customers to qualify for this freebie. Even if you will shoulder the shipping cost, the average value of your orders will go up and, thus, make up for the losses. But before you implement this strategy, review the margins on your products and map the places or countries where you will be shipping. To avoid huge losses, you may have to adjust the minimum value for international shipments or offer this service on specific products only.
Other options include providing free shipping as a promotional offer for certain times of the year or as a reward for the repeat, loyal customers.
3. Highlight the strong points of your shipping service
In case you can’t offer free shipping, for now, entice your customers by showcasing the best points of your service. These can include different shipping methods or options, fulfillment, and return policies. Offering flexible, varied shipping strategies based on the order value, category of purchase, frequency, and the season is also an effective way of reducing shopping cart abandonment.
Other shipping strategies that you can highlight on your e-commerce site include flat rate and table rate shipping. Same-day shipping and delivery is an excellent point to showcase as well.
4. Don’t ignore the packaging
The packaging is also a crucial aspect of shipping that is often neglected. If you want to increase your chances of getting more repeat customers, include this in your shipping strategy. Think about how you want your buyers to feel and react when they open the shipping envelope or bag. Without a doubt, you want them to be excited and happy. If you want to give them a great experience, you need to create the right design for your packaging. Your packaging can be a valuable marketing tool, as well. Because of this, incorporate your brand elements in your materials. You won’t go wrong with adding some personal touches as well since consumers respond favorably to customized services or add-ons.
However, don’t forget about the other important role of packaging: protecting your product. As such, choose materials that are durable and will safeguard the quality of your customers’ purchases throughout the shipping and delivery process.
Additionally, when thinking about packaging, keep in mind that weight and size will affect the cost of shipping. You, therefore, need to find a good compromise between design and functionality.
Following these shipping practices and strategies will help you establish yourself in the world of e-commerce retailing. Implement them as soon as possible to start experiencing success as an online seller.
As Chief Product Officer for Shipa Freight, Paul Rehmet is responsible for translating the vision of Shipa Freight into an easy-to-use online freight platform for our customers. Formerly Vice President of Digital Marketing for Agility, Paul managed Agility’s website, mobile apps, content marketing and online advertising campaigns. In his 25-year career, Paul has held various technology leadership positions with early-stage startups and Fortune 500 companies including Unisys, Destiny Web Solutions, and US Airways. Paul has a Masters in Software Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University and a Bachelor of Computer Science from Brown University. Paul is based in Philadelphia.