eCommerce Shipping Best Practices and Solutions
If you have an online shop, you know that one of the most important things for clients is reliable shipping. Various helpful website-building tools can help you create an eye-catching site, but you also need to adopt some eCommerce shipping best practices to ensure a great shopping experience for your customers. Their shopping journey starts on your website, but it ends up once their order arrives. If you don’t provide your customers with the shopping experience that they expect, you might end up with lots of cart abandonments and a lower number of orders. Eventually, you might even lose your regular clients.
Establishing a good shipping strategy is crucial for your online business if you want to increase customer satisfaction and convert more leads into buyers. But putting a successful online shipping strategy in place is not always an easy thing to do. Many business owners think that free shipping is all you need, but it’s not simple. It’s an integral part of a consumer-friendly eCommerce shipping strategy, but far from being the only thing you should worry about.
Successful online stores employ more sophisticated business strategies. Good delivery practices include the engagement of the different teams inside the company, collaboration with reliable carriers, friendly customer support, and so on.
Establishing reliable shipping strategies can be complicated, especially if you are new in the business. Our article will help you understand this topic better, introducing basic shipping strategies for the successful delivery of your products. We’ll explain how you can benefit from different shipping methods, choose carriers, reduce shipping costs, and perform order tracking. Additionally, we’ll share some tricks and tips that can help you streamline your shipping process and boost customer satisfaction rates.
Shipping Methods and Rates
The first you need to know regarding eCommerce delivery strategy are the shipping methods and rates. Although free eCommerce shipping is praised as a solution for boosting clients’ satisfaction, there are also other methods that you can use to increase satisfaction rates.
Let’s start with free shipping and then discuss the other shipping options.
According to the latest statistics, 90% of customers say that free shipping is the main reason they choose to shop online. Furthermore, over 60% of prospective buyers abandon shipping carts if there are shipping costs. Therefore, free shipping is a must if you want to stay competitive.
We all know that free shipping is not really free, meaning that someone has to pay for it. Either your customers will pay more for the products, or you will have lower profit margins after covering the shipping costs yourself.
The best eCommerce shipping method is offering free shipping to your customers but only when they meet specific requirements. You can set up an order limit for free shipping. For example, Amazon enables free shipping for orders over $25. This way, you may be able to cover shipping losses by getting customers to buy slightly more than they otherwise would have.
Let’s say that you just started your online business, and you are not in a position to offer free shipping. It doesn’t need to impact your customer satisfaction rates if you do things right.
Firstly, you need to be honest with your customers. If your shipping is not free, you need to be clear about that. eCommerce shipping costs best practices are to set up shipping prices transparently, so your customers won’t have an unpleasant surprise when they complete their order.
Some people won't mind paying shipping costs if they are clearly informed about them at the beginning of their purchase. However, you can expect many clients to abandon the shopping cart if they can’t see the fees from the start.
We recommend adding the cost of shipment for each product to your shopping cart. Almost all eCommerce platforms (such as Shopify or Wix) have this option available. After your customers add the ZIP code, the shipping fees will instantly show up in the cart. There will be no surprises, so your customer will be far more likely to go through with their order.
Make the delivery date visible
The best eCommerce shipping solutions show clients the expected delivery date for their products. Just as you should be transparent with the delivery costs, you should also tell your customers when they can expect their order to arrive. The delivery time can differ depending on the chosen shipping method, order date, and more. You should be transparent and show this information during the checkout procedure because 80% of customers will abandon their shopping cart if they don’t know when their order will arrive.
Offer flat-rate shipping
Another strategy that you can adopt is flat-rate shipping. This is an option for an unchanging fee, often used for products that are similar in size or weight. You should still show the shipping costs, as per our suggestion above. However, it’s not a great choice for businesses that sell vastly different products in terms of shape, size, weight, and price.
If you want to keep your customers satisfied, the eCommerce best practices for 2021 show that you need to cover all segments of the customers’ purchasing journey. This means collaboration between different teams and departments, including marketing, designers, web developers, customer service, and the shipping fulfillment team.
The marketing team and developers will work closely together on communicating shipping and product promotions to the customers. Both team knowledge and tools can contribute to streamlining this process. While the marketing team researches which product you should promote, the web developers will help you implement the promotions on the pages that customers visit the most, and software can quickly tell you when and why customers gave up on their orders.
With both domestic and international shipping, for eCommerce best practices to really work, you’ll need a good team for order fulfillment. You can work with a third-party company or have an in-house team that uses order fulfillment software. Regardless of the option you choose, ensure that your team will do the work responsibly. It has to be prepared to pack, label, and ship items on time. This team is also responsible for the possible returns.
Lastly, every business requires good customer service, and the same goes for eCommerce stores. The customer service will communicate with your clients directly through phone, email, or live chat, so it’s extremely important to have reliable and knowledgeable people on this team.
Speaking of eCommerce shipping strategies, one of the most important ones is choosing the right carrier. Three large companies provide eCommerce delivery services: FedEx, UPS, and USPS.
The type of product you are selling can help you in decision-making because different carriers are good for different product types and particular types of shipping options. Some are better for international shipments, while others might excel at shipping clunky and oversized products.
You also need to decide whether you’ll have one or more carriers. Choosing one is simpler, but it doesn’t provide you the freedom and flexibility that having more than one would.
eCommerce shipping solutions with multiple carriers are usually in a better position when negotiating shipping rates and costs. Having multiple carriers is also a good idea because if one of the companies closes down or doesn’t work for some other reason, you’ll always have others to ship the products.
Additionally, if you offer different types of shipping products, it’s better to have several carriers at your disposal. Some of them may provide more efficient eCommerce international shipping solutions, while others will offer great delivery services across the US.
Every customer prefers to know in which phase of delivery their package is, so you’ll need to provide your customers with a reliable tracking system. This way, you will build trust between the company and its clients. The success of this functionality depends on which inventory management system you use, but it’s generally not too complicated to set up.
All good delivery solutions for eCommerce will have an order tracking service. It’s especially important for companies that do business overseas. International orders have longer delivery periods, so your clients might become nervous if they cannot check the status of their order. Over 80% of customers claim that they value online shops that provide information regarding fulfillment and delivery stage for their packages.
Although lost and damaged packages are not your fault, they are still your responsibility because your clients will not be satisfied with the service they paid you for. The order and shipping best practices for eCommerce recommend that sellers resolve lost or damaged packages. After all, a seller is the one who chose a carrier that did not manage to deliver the shipment successfully.
The first thing you should do is react as soon as possible once a shipping problem is reported. To be efficient, you can immediately check the shipment status online and see where the order is. Also, it’s smart to check if a customer’s address is written correctly. Problems like these are easy to solve, and your customers will be satisfied that you’re taking the initiative and helping resolve the issue in a timely manner.
Good shipping strategies for eCommerce include quick and honest communication between a retailer and carrier. Once the customer reports a problem with a delivery, you should contact the carrier and see whether the item is delivered or not. Your carrier should tell you all that you need to know about the delivery status. We recommend being persistent with a carrier to find out what happened with an order. If the order is definitely lost or damaged, then you should send a new package to your customers. Do that as soon as possible to keep your customers satisfied.
Tips and Tricks
Assembling a good shipping team, providing reasonable eCommerce shipping costs, and having good customer support are all part of a good shipment strategy. In addition to these, you can adopt many other methods that will keep your customers satisfied and help you manage your budget more efficiently. Here are some more things you can do:
Pack your products properly
Before shipping a product to your customer, you need to package it properly to keep it safe from transport damages. There are several shipping options at your disposal, depending on your product type and area of delivery. There are different types of envelopes and boxes, made from materials that protect your product during transportation. You could also consider a reverse dropshipping service if selling high-quality products to customers outside the US.
eCommerce shipping options for packages depend on the size and weight of your product. You should keep your packages light and small because the size or weight of the box will also determine the price. If you have several products in different sizes and shapes, consider having separate packages for each of them.
Use local delivery
We already explained the benefits of having multiple carriers. Additionally, you can add a local delivery company to your carrier list. It’s a proven delivery method, and many small businesses use it to ship items to their local clients.
Set the area for your local delivery by adding zip or postal codes. This way, your customers will be able to select it during the checkout. If you want to provide the best shipping for eCommerce, keep the local delivery free for at least some of your products.
In addition to tracking orders, many carriers offer shipping insurance. This is a good practice to secure your products during delivery.
In most cases, insurance is not too expensive. eCommerce shipping companies like UPS and USPS Priority Mail already include coverage for products up to $100. Also, when you pick shipping for eCommerce, check if product insurance is already included in the eCommerce shipping rates. We recommend using insurance for expensive packages that may get lost or damaged.
Shipping is an essential part of any online shop that sells physical items. As a retailer, you will face challenges when it comes to implementing eCommerce shipping strategies. Eventually, you will find what’s best for your online store. Before that happens, just take some time to check what works for your customers.
Implementing eCommerce shipping solutions that fit your business will help you keep your customers, achieve low cart abandonment rates, and increase profits.
Danica’s greatest passion is writing. From small businesses, tech, and digital marketing, to academic folklore analysis, movie reviews, and anthropology — she’s done it all. A literature major with a passion for business, software, and fun new gadgets, she has turned her writing craft into a profitable blogging business. When she’s not writing for SmallBizGenius, Danica enjoys hiking, trying to perfect her burger-making skills, and dreaming about vacations in Greece.
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