As the owner of an eCommerce store, you put a lot of work into ensuring that your customers have a great experience. You make or source high-quality products, make sure you have great photos, write captivating descriptions, compose emails, deliver exceptional customer service, and more, all with the main goal of ensuring customer satisfaction.
There are a lot of hands-on things that you can do to ensure the success of your brand, but when it comes to shipping, you are forced to give up a large degree of control. After all, it’s not really feasible to load up each individual order in your car and drive it directly to your customers yourself. Instead, you are forced to package up your merchandise and hand it over to a carrier.
Trusting a carrier to deliver your products on time and intact can be scary. A lot can go wrong once a package leaves your hands. The good news, though, is that there are steps you can take to help ensure shipping success for your eCommerce business. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Start with a Strategy
Developing a shipping strategy is a key step in ensuring shipping success. There are certain decisions that need to be made to set the foundation for all of your business’s shipping needs. First of all, you need to determine whether you will charge your customers the full amount for shipping, offer flat-rate shipping to share the cost, or absorb the entire cost yourself by offering free shipping.
You also need to consider the weights of your products. To keep your shipping process as streamlined as possible, you’ll need to weigh every product you sell and update the list of weights as needed. This information will help you come up with accurate shipping cost estimates.
Lastly, you need to choose what type of packaging and packing materials you will use and where you will source them from. From poly mailers to corrugated boxes, there is a wide range of packaging options to choose from. The packaging materials you’ll use when packing your shipping boxes come in many different forms, too. Determining what products you will use and where you will source them from is extremely important when developing your shipping strategy.
2. Assemble the Right Team
Unless you are running a very small eCommerce business, you probably can’t handle everything on your own. When it comes to ensuring shipping success, it is important to assemble a team of individuals whom you can depend on to follow your strategy and do their part to ensure that all packages arrive at customers on time and in good condition.
If you are tackling shipping in-house, you’ll probably need a few people to pick orders and fill packages. Depending on the size of your operation, you can have the same individuals seal up packages and apply shipping labels, or you can hire additional employees for final packaging and labeling tasks.
Another option is working with a fulfillment warehouse. This option is best for larger businesses. If you choose to go this route, all of your company’s inventory will be stored at a warehouse belonging to a third party. When an order comes in, it is forwarded to the warehouse where the people working there will pick, pack and ship the order. Using a fulfillment warehouse can save you money on shipping and reduce shipping times, so it is something that is worth considering.
3. Purchase Insurance and Tracking
When you are shipping merchandise, it is always smart to invest in shipping and tracking. Depending on what carrier you use and the value of the shipment, these services may be offered for free. When you do have to pay for insurance and tracking, they are typically inexpensive and can be worked into your shipping charges. They are well worth the investment and provide you with recourse in the event that a package is damaged or lost while in transit.
Offering insurance and tracking will keep your customers happy, too. Consumers are no longer content to place orders and simply wait for them to arrive. They expect to receive tracking information that allows them to see where their orders are and when they are expected to arrive.
4. Get Familiar with Customs Forms and Declarations
If your business ships to countries outside the U.S., you will need to include customs documentation with each shipment. You can obtain customs forms at your local shipping location. They need to be filled out with information regarding what’s in the package, how much it’s worth and whether it is merchandise or a gift.
Sometimes, customers have to pay customs fees when a package arrives. This is the responsibility of the customer–not you. You should always complete customs forms honestly regardless of whether it may result in your customer having to pay extra fees. Make a note on your shipping policy page notifying international customers that they may have to pay customs fees or duties when their package arrives. This eliminates surprises and makes it clear to buyers that they are responsible for paying any additional fees.
Delivering Customer Satisfaction
Running an eCommerce business can be a profitable venture. For many people, though, shipping is a challenge. By developing a strategy and making sure that you take the proper steps when sending out orders, though, you can avoid most problems and ensure that your merchandise reaches its destination safely and on time.
Shipping can be scary for an eCommerce. It involves handing over control of an aspect of your business to someone else. Fortunately, though, there are plenty of things that you can do to ensure shipping success and create a great experience for your customers.