Most new-age entrepreneurs make lots of mistakes with their shipping aspect. They take care of everything from product images to writing compelling emails and tweaking store interfaces all to make customers happy. But when it comes to shipping, it feels like that they’ve made a stranger in-charge of it. However, it doesn’t have to feel that way when you have given proper thought and planning to it in the beginning.
Shipping is a key aspect and if you master it, you’ve mastered most of the eCommerce. At first, it may seem complex and unfamiliar but when you delve deep, you’ll know enough to make the best choices for your business.
Also, the experts at Mconnect Media are always ready to help. And with this article, we want to demystify the complications of shipping and fulfillment for beginners.
Ecommerce Shipping and Fulfillment Tips for Beginners
Beginners in eCommerce are those who have recently set up their online business and are in the process of figuring out the shipping aspect of it.
1. Know the Dimension & Weight of Product Package
The product weight & dimensions help you to get an accurate shipping cost estimation. This may seem obvious at first, but when you want to calculate the actual shipping charge, it’s not.
Imagine that you are selling small glass items like vases. They don’t weigh much alone but when you have to ship them from one country to another, you need to pack them airtight. You’ll need bubble wrap, foam, air pillows, a strong cardboard box, tape, and all other packing items. These packing materials will significantly add up to the product’s weight. So, you must know the product weight when it’s ready to ship.
Now, let’s say, you are selling pillows and their cases, These products weigh even less than the glass vases but their dimensional weight might differ. Many shipping carriers may charge you for the actual weight of the package or the average weight of a package of the same size, whichever is greater. Thus, your package could be subject to a charge as per the dimensional weight.
Due to that, you may end up paying more shipping charges than you have calculated based on the actual package weight. So, be sure about the dimensions and weight of your product package.
2. Choose Shipping Rate & Methods
If your eCommerce store can ship only to your region, then consider offering free shipping. It’s the no.1 incentive for consumers to go through checkout. However, it might be free for consumers but not for merchants. Below are a few ways you can cover the cost of offering free shipping.
- Add shipping cost in the product prices.
- You pay out of your profit margins.
- Partially increase the prices.
- Offer free shipping on minimum order value.
If somehow, free shipping is not a viable option for you, then implement a flat rate shipping method. Make sure that you don’t either undercharge or overcharge shipping fees to your customers. This method works best when you are selling fairly the same size and weight items. It will get ineffective and complicated if you are selling products with different dimensions and weights.
In that case, what you can do is charge the real-time carrier rates. Magento 2 platform by default has support for carriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL to generate & charge the live shipping fee. This way your customers will know & pay the exact amount for shipping.
3. Marketing with Packaging
Customers have started to develop high expectations when they shop online. Most people now consider shipping, packaging, and product presentation as a part of the shopping experience. A few years ago, packaging & product presentation was just seen as a means to receive the product bought online.
But now, many businesses have gone above and beyond to impress customers with exceptional product packaging & delivery experience. This helps brands to set themselves apart from competitors and increase customer lifecycle. Even small gestures like including a thank you note can go a long way in making a lasting impression on customers. So, beginners should give a thought about it to sustain their business longer.
4. Insurance & Tracking
Shipping insurance & tracking offer a great deal of security if you are selling high-value items. Most carriers offer insurance and tracking at nominal charges & help you with when one of your product is lost or damaged during shipping or delivery. Carriers like UPS & USPS offer complementary value coverage for items up to $100 or $200 in some cases.
As you are starting off, consider insuring your high-value items while they are being shipped. So, in rare cases when the package gets damaged or lost by carriers by mistake, you’ll be covered. Many carriers include the insurance prices into their shipping prices. So, you’ll have to consider that while you are comparing the shipping prices of different carriers.
5. Take Care of Customs Declarations
If you plan to sell & ship items internationally, you’ll have to include customs documentation. You can find these documents online or at the nearest post office or at the shipping carrier location. Fill out the documents carefully, because they’ll help customs officers understand what’s in the package, its cost, and it is a gift or merchandise.
First, find out which customs documents are needed in order to ship the package internationally. To prevent your packages from getting held at customs, fill everything out honestly and clearly. Many countries will have additional customs charges to be paid up when the package reaches there. Clearly mention who’ll have to pay those charges. If it’s the customer, include such information in your shipping policy so the customers do know about this and don’t get surprised with unexpected charges.
6. Shipping costs are Part of the Business
In the end, you might lose up shipping money on some of your orders. There will always be a few customers who aren’t happy with your product and will return it. Or on rare occasions, you’ll pay more shipping charges than what you’ve anticipated. Whatever the case, you’ll have to bear the cost.
The new eCommerce entrepreneurs would argue on return or charge shipping amount of order returned. Here’s some good advice, don’t ever do this. First, it creates a bad impression of your brand and also impacts your customer retention rate. Simply put, shipping costs are part of doing business. Instead of aiming to be profitable in every order, make the majority of orders profitable.
Taking care of shipping and fulfillment is the most challenging part of operating an eCommerce business. Every business faces its own unique challenges and in order to be successful, they need to overcome such obstacles. Similar way, beginners have to overcome shipping & fulfillment problems and develop a workable efficient shipping strategies.
To help you with that we have come up with eCommerce shipping and fulfillment tips for beginners. Consult our eCommerce experts, if you still need help with strategizing your shipping and fulfillment aspect.