Online businesses or eCommerce is well on its way to phasing out traditional retail. In the fourth quarter of 2019, eCommerce in the U.S. was worth a staggering $187.25 billion. That’s a more than 16% increase from $160.89 billion in 2018.
Shipping is one of the most important aspects of any eCommerce store. The way you handle your shipping can either make or break your online business. In fact, industry giants like Amazon and Alibaba attribute their success to adopting all the eCommerce shipping best practices.
Fast and organized shipping is the only way they get the right products to their customers within the stipulated time. Delayed shipping equals angry customers, and angry customers are bad for business.
So how do you streamline shipping for your online business? Well, read on and find out.
In this post, we’ll be highlighting some of the best eCommerce shipping practices you should be adopting.
1. Your Team Is Everything
Your shipping process is only as good as the team responsible for the shipping. As such, the first step to getting your things right is identifying the right people for the job. That means hiring experienced talent to help you make the right business decisions and streamline business operations.
You can roughly break the entire shipping team into four key departments
The marketing team communicates what you’ll be shipping to potential customers. They also inform the general public about any discounts, promotions, and other incentives. The marketing team must also relay information about the shipping charges and the duration of shipping.
Web Development and Design
The only way you can interact with your customers is through your website. It’s also where your customers view and buy your products. The web design and development team update your website and keeps it up and running.
Remember, you need a website that’s not only visually appealing but also well-structured and functional. That makes it easier for the customer to browse through the website and browse your products.
The fulfillment team is at the core of your eCommerce shipping. It’s the team that ensures everything is packed, labeled, and ready for shipping within the time you stipulate. The fulfillment team must meet all customer purchases regardless of what they choose.
The fulfillment team works in a fulfillment center, which you shouldn’t confuse with a distribution center. You’ll need a different team to work in the distribution center, but both teams do essentially the same thing.
A sloppy fulfillment team equals delayed deliveries and frustrated customers. So take real caution when picking your fulfillment team. This team could make or break your shipping process.
Customer service is one area you can’t go wrong with your online business. That’s because most online reviews are based on customer service and not even the quality of your products. Poor customer service could overshadow all the hard work you’ve put into your online business.
The customer service team must first understand each step of the shipping process. That’s the only way they can address customer shipping concerns. The team must also have excellent communication skills to handle all types of customers and situations.
2. Write Down Your Shipping Goals
Having goals for your shipping strategy gives it a sense of purpose and direction. Write a clear list of goals you want to accomplish with your shipping strategy. Make sure you involve everyone on the team and the necessary stakeholders before drafting these goals.
If you don’t know what goals your shipping strategy should have, here are some you should consider:
- Overall improvement in the efficiency of operations
- A decrease in shipping expenditure
- Market expansion and increasing target audience
- Increase in conversions and average order value
The goals should align with the vision of your online business. You should also set realistic goals and follow up on every goal you set.
3. Introduce Free Shipping
It’s no debate, shipping for any business is expensive, and introducing free shipping is adding to the financial burden. However, once you crunch the numbers, you’ll learn that free shipping actually earns you more money.
Nine out of every ten customers claim that free shipping is a huge factor when doing their online shopping. With free shipping, you can capitalize on a large portion of your online customer base and make a killing. The number of sales from free shipping will make up for the shipping costs by quite a margin.
4. Shipping Costs Should Be Obvious at Checkout
If you don’t have free shipping, then at least make your shipping costs obvious at checkout. It’s super frustrating when you have to search through multiple pages to get the shipping costs. It’s even more frustrating when you have to pay more than you expected because of hidden shipping costs.
Have a function where customers enter their ZIP codes and automatically get the shipping cost. This tiny feature will make online shopping much easier and convenient for your customers.
5. Give Expected Delivery Date
On checkout, it’s a good idea to give your customer an approximate date when the shipment will arrive. You get this date based on the time of shopping and the method of shipping the customer chooses. This lets customers know when they should expect the item.
Duration of shipping is a crucial factor for most customers doing their online shopping. No one wants to wait an eternity for their delivery to arrive. However, knowing when it will arrive is better than having to guess the arrival date.
Implement Ecommerce Shipping Best Practices for Better Delivery
Shipping is undoubtedly one of the trickiest aspects of running an online business. However, with these eCommerce shipping best practices, it should be a breeze for you. As long as you take everything to heart, you’re good to go.
Once you get the shipping right, make sure you also get other aspects of your online business. For more informative reads on all matters business, be sure to check out other pieces on the site.