Shipping 101 for Your eCommerce Business.
Shipping is an integral part of an eCommerce business, though it does not always get its due share of attention.
When it comes to shipping, remember that there isn’t anything like a one-size fits all kind of shipping policy. A lot depends on the industry, niche, type of products, weight and overall shape of the products, and customer needs as well as their expectations.
Shipping warrants extensive research before choosing a shipping policy. Try finding out what other successful companies are doing differently with their shipping policies. Read their shipping policies on their online stores or on shipping companies websites. Don’t skip the fine print!
FedEX, USPS, DHL, and UPS are a good place to start, but don’t keep yourself limited to these shipping vendors. Look for other shipping vendors, do comparison shopping, and find out what works best for your business. Negotiation is possible if you open an account, get in touch with the representatives, and discuss the different options while negotiating a fair price. Procurement as a Service can help you find new products.
Find A Reliable Shipping Partner
Having a reliable shipping partner can prove to be a good investment and a major time saving measure which will simplify the shipping process. While USPS offers a cheaper alternative for shipping heavier items, FedEx and UPS offer convenience.
Partnering with a 3PL Order Fulfillment company like Elite OPS can save you money on warehousing, shipping, packing supplies, insurance, employee compensation as well as customer service.
Know Al About Shipping Charges
First of all, you need to have an idea as to how much it will cost to send the shipment to your customers. This will help you design a shipping policy that is more balanced for your customers. Passing a majority of the shipping costs onto customers may not be the best decision to make. This would only be a recipe for disaster, and you are more likely to lose business quickly. Businesses should not expect to reap profits from shipping. But on the other hand, paying more than half of the shipping cost yourself may not be a sensible decision either. Padding shipping charges to save on cost can hurt you in the long run.
The middle path would be to share the shipping cost equally and thus enjoy a good relationship with customers.
Furthermore, if you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store and operate only online, you’re surely saving on rent and employees, so why not bear the shipping burden yourself and give customers free shipping? Free shipping is a great way to boost sales.
If you outsource order fulfillment to a 3PL company, you could save even more. Customers love anything that comes for free, and free shipping comes as an incentive for customers and is certainly a deal maker!
If free shipping isn’t a possibility, you may choose to offer free or low-cost shipping. It may help to clearly display shipping charges alongside the item price. Be open about your shipping costs. This will give the customer a clear picture of the total cost they need to pay to get their hands on the product and help avoid last minute shipping sticker shock.
Make Returns & Exchanges Easy
It is absolutely not a smart decision to charge customers for returning merchandise, though it is perfectly legal to do so. Paying the shipping charges for returns & exchanges can help you keep customers happy and returning for more. In fact, this is critical to attracting repeat business, which comes for a small price.
Share the entire burden of shipping of defective goods returned by customers. The price you lose in shipping of returns & exchanges is incomparable to customer loyalty. For non defective goods, charge your customer a restocking fee only if you absolutely have to but then give them a discount code for their next purchase. That seems fair to consumers.
It is important to remember that the first impression can go a long way in helping you get return business. While a bad impression would amount to losing customers, a good customer experience would set the stage for a good relationship. So, make sure that you are charging the bare minimum for shipping and handling and that you value customers who return your products as much as those who buy your products.
Elite OPS has been a leader in Shipping and Logistics for over 25 years. Contact Us to find out how we can help you Save Time and Money on Procurement as a Service, eCommerce Order Fulfillment, and Kitting and Assembly.
Call 855-553-5490 or Click Here to Request a Quote!