When it comes to growing your business, there’s no question that an effective ecommerce shipping strategy is one of the most important steps to making it happen.
While most brands start out in ecommerce because it’s a simple approach to shipping, the most successful companies strategize their shipping to stand out in the crowd. For example, when you first started your business, you likely kept shipping simple, such as having free shipping site wide.
While many business owners don’t lthink about improving shipping to grow their business, it can actually be a great strategy to do just that.
(1) Best Ecommerce Shipping Practices
Now, there’s a few specific things we want to touch on now as to “best” ecommerce shipping practices.
- Having The Right Team – Each department in your company has a specific job that relates to making shipping work in your business.
- Clear Planning And Goals – When you’re trying to accomplish a new goal, there must be a plan in place. Never just “wing” it.
- Your Shipping Strategy – There’s a few different ecommerce shipping strategies you can have outside of just offering free shipping. You’ll need to choose one of them.
- Implement, Evaluate And Edit – To find the best shipping strategy for your company, it’s possible you’re going to need to try different shipping strategies. Implement it, test how it goes and determine what’s next.
Now, let’s jump in and break each one of these down.
(2) Having The Right Team
If you’ve had any success as a business owner, you already know how important “having the right team” on place is.
When we say “team,” or “department,” this can vary from one business to the next.
Let’s break it down.
- Web Development
- Customer Service
Your web development team is going to be responsible for showing the right shipping options to your customers. It may sound simple and in some ways, it’s is. However, each scenario can be different.
For example, your shipping options for a U.S. customer may be different than that of a customer from Mexico.
If a visitor visits a specific page for a 5th time, you may offer them a shipping discount to encourage them to buy.
As you’re learning, this can be complex for someone that doesn’t know how to make that happen. A trained web developer knows how to make it happen.
Shipping plays a role in your marketing and there’s a lot of different things you can do with it.
When you’re running your marketing promotions, having shipping discounts is a great way to get prospects to become customers.
Think about Amazon and their campaigns where they ship out your order in less than 24 hours.
Don’t think it’s important? Amazon Prime added millions of new customers for the 2018 holiday season, customers want their products now and the quicker you can ship it, the happier they are.
Order fulfillment is something we know very well, you know, 50+ years of doing it!
It plays a vital role in many areas of your business.
For those of you that choose to use a 3PL fulfillment company, it’s important that your orders are accurate, shipped on time and is delivered quickly as possible. The same is true with ecommerce fulfillment.
Think about all the areas fulfillment plays a role in.
If your customers are not happy, they won’t be buying from you a second time, third, fourth, you get the point. Keeping your customers happy is superior to your growth.
The solution, provide excellent services.
There’s a lot of ways to do that just as it pertains to shipping.
Make sure your orders are accurate, make sure it’s shipped correctly and make sure you get it there in the time allowance you promised.
(3) Clear Planning And Goals
If you’ve been doing your researching on ecommerce shipping strategies, you likely have a few goals in mind. What are you trying to accomplish with your shipping? What problems do you have now? What can be better?
Identify those goals and plan to take action to address them.
Let’s give you a few examples;
- Company needs to lower shipping cost.
- Company needs to improve efficiency.
- Company needs to improve accuracy.
- Company needs to meet fulfillment demands.
- Company needs to improve order values.
(4) What’s The Right Shipping Strategy?
Now that you’ve identified who will be helping you to hit your goals, it’s time to figure out what’s the best ecommerce shipping strategy for your company.
To do this right, you need to understand the shipping industry.
Here’s what you need to think about;
What ecommerce shipping options are available to you? Honestly, all of them are but that’s going to depend on your business. What makes sense for you to use?
The most popular ecommerce shipping options are;
- Free Shipping
- Same Day Delivery
- LTL Freight Carriers
- Free In-Store Pickup
- Standard Shipping
- Expedited Shipping
The smallest of changes can help you increase cart conversions, so all of these are worth exploring.
Where you ship your products plays a role in cost.
In previous blogs, we’ve talked about shipping zones, make sure you get familiar with these.
This is where a fulfillment center like Thill can help as we have different fulfillment centers across the U.S. We can help you save money and increase your shipping times, especially those of you that shipping coast to coast.
Product Size And Weight
Both the size and weight of products will be a factor in how much it cost to ship them.
You want to make sure you have accurate weights and dimensions on your products. You want your shipping rates to be accurate as possible.
(5) Ecommerce Shipping Options
There’s a number of shipping strategies and options you can deploy in your business.
Let’s take a look at the most popular;
- Free Shipping
- Flat Rate
- Live Rates
- Mixed Shipping
Free shipping is one of the most popular and easiest ecommerce shipping strategies to use.
- Free shipping always looks great to a customer
- It’s simple to explain your free shipping
- It often has a positive effect on conversions
The most common strategy is to markup your products to cover the shipping cost so you don’t lose money on shipping.
If you just ship them for free, you’re losing money, that can impact your bottom line.
Flat Rate Shipping
This refers to you charging a flat rate fee for all shipments.
For example, you may charge $5 for each order shipped in the U.S.
- You can make profit on your shipping or at least break even.
- Could be added as another possible shipping option
- Could offer it to a select group of customers (geographically speaking)
Live Rate Shipping
If you’re using UPS, FedEx or DHL, live rate shipping may be an option for you.
While it can be tough to use live rate shipping for marketing due to the price varying, it does show that you’re trying to charge the cheapest shipping possible. That can be a benefit.
- Allows you to charge accurate shipping expenses.
You can also combine shipping strategies for even more shipping options.
In our experience, the more shipping options we have available, the more likely a customer will buy.
This can help you increase your profit margins and keep your customers happy.
- Free Shipping & Expedited Shipping
- Free Shipping & Standard Shipping
- Free Shipping & Expedited Shipping, Same Day Shipping
The shipping strategies you can combine are limitless.
The goal is finding what works best for your business.