Shipping off a product and making sure that it arrives on time and in one piece is much easier said than done. Having an eCommerce shipping strategy in place is necessary for any business that takes its store, and its customer needs seriously. These days, with a large percentage of consumer behavior presenting itself digitally, consumers expect fast, affordable, and accessible shipping. However, an excellent shipping strategy is a lot more than free shipping and first delivery. Having a powerful shipping strategy that you can actually execute requires knowledge, coordination of multiple teams, several pipelines, and a clear understanding of how it's done. In this guide, we will go over the essential must-knows for you to streamline your eCommerce shipping strategy, ensuring it won't fall short of your customer's expectations.
What is eCommerce shipping, and why is it important?
eCommerce shipping refers to the process of transporting products that have been ordered online from the seller's warehouse or flex warehouse to the customer's doorstep. It includes all stages from receiving and processing orders, picking and packing products in the warehouse, labeling, and all processes included in managing exchanges and returns. Shipping management is an integral part of the online shopping experience and has a significant impact on customer satisfaction, loyalty, and business revenue.
Efficient eCommerce shipping solutions can be challenging for many eCommerce retailers. Many variables need to be taken into account, such as the type and size of products, delivery locations, shipping options, shipping speed, and the list. Efficient eCommerce shipping can help online retailers attract and retain customers. In contrast, slow or unreliable shipping can lead to frustrated customers, negative reviews, and lost sales.
A third-party logistics (3PL) provider often saves businesses the hassle of working out a shipping strategy on their own. 3PL shipping solutions provide online retailers with a complete outsourced shipping solution. This option is ideal for businesses that don't have the resources or expertise to manage their shipping processes or prefer to put their focus on business development and growth instead.
Types of eCommerce shipping solutions and methods
Getting to know all the different shipping options may be overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. Stores with a solid shipping strategy include several of the following shipping methods into a complete strategy that works for their business. Here are some of the main
types of eCommerce shipping methods:
This is the most common shipping method used by online retailers. It typically takes 3-5 business days for delivery, depending on the destination.
This faster shipping option usually takes 1-2 business days for delivery, but it comes with a higher cost.
This option guarantees product delivery on the same day it was ordered. It is typically used for urgent or time-sensitive shipments and comes with a heavier price.
This is a popular shipping method many online retailers offer. It involves the seller absorbing the shipping cost and letting the customer save on shipping.
This shipping method allows customers to order products online and pick them up at a physical store or warehouse. It is a convenient option for customers who want to avoid shipping costs and wait times.
eCommerce shipping costs and rates
eCommerce shipping costs and rates can vary significantly depending on the shipping method, destination, package weight and dimensions, and carrier. It's essential for online retailers to calculate and optimize their shipping costs to ensure they are not losing money on each sale.
Some popular carriers for eCommerce shipping include USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. These carriers offer a range of shipping services with different pricing tiers, delivery speeds, and tracking options.
Here are a few important considerations to consider when calculating the cost of your customer’s order:
- The size and weight of your products need to be measured only once the item is packaged
- If you’re shipping large items, you will often find yourself paying oversized package fees. So if you are shipping multiple items in an order, it might be more cost-effective to split them up over multiple packages to avoid these oversized package charges.
- A 3PL shipping provider will always know which method is the cheapest for them and for your business
- For international shipping, it is necessary to look at the options for each destination country separately and determine which one is best for you.
Online retailers can also take advantage of shipping rate calculators and shipping software to help them compare carrier rates and choose the most cost-effective shipping method.
Tracking shipments and returns
Getting your customer’s orders done right involves a lot more than making sure it arrives at their destination. A streamlined fulfillment process includes seamless tracking and returns management that is reliable and consistent.
- Shipment tracking is a critical aspect of an eCommerce shipping solution. It allows customers to monitor the progress of their orders and provides sellers with visibility into the shipping process. By providing your customers with tracking information, they can stay up to date with their shipment and delivery time. Not only will your customer’s expectations be better met, but you will prevent unnecessary shipping inquiries and improve customer communication.
- Returns are another essential aspect of eCommerce shipping that is almost impossible to avoid, and not much can be done about it. Online retailers should have a clear, easy-to-understand return policy to minimize customer frustration and ensure a smooth return process. A good returns process that allows your customer to easily send items back will work in your favor. An excellent returns policy will increase the chance of buyers returning to your store or even recommending you to their friends.
- eCommerce shipping platform integrations allow online retailers to streamline their shipping process by connecting their online store with shipping carriers and software. This integration eliminates the need for manual data entry and reduces the risk of errors. Some 3PL providers, such as ehouses, run fulfillment centers with built-in shipping integrations that work with various shipping carriers. These integrations allow us to print shipping labels, track shipments, and manage returns directly from the eCommerce platform.
To sum it up - A seamless eCommerce shipping process is essential for the success of every online business. By offering fast, reliable, and cost-effective shipping options, you can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, increasing your eCommerce sales growth. Although there are several eCommerce shipping methods to choose from, it's important to optimize your shipping to ensure you're not losing money on each sale. Adhering to the above guide can improve your shipping process and provide your customers with an exceptional online shopping experience.
Create a flawless shipping strategy with ehouse
if you're looking for your business’s shipping strategy, 3PL providers will help manage your shipping process from start to finish. When working with ehouse, you will be supported with an eCommerce shipping solution tailored to your business’s size, needs, and customer expectations. ehouse is your one-stop shop for all your fulfillment needs. It begins the moment the order is received on our fully integrated eCommerce database. The items are then picked and packed with great precision, labeled, and shipped off with the most competitive shipping solution. What usually is a time-consuming and exhausting aspect of running an online business is now handled on your behalf. Now you can focus on other important aspects of growing an eCommerce business, such as strategy, growth, and increasing your revenue.