E-commerce: 4 tips to improve your shipping process
E-commerce & Website optimization
Selling quality products and services is one thing, but getting them to the customer is another. If you’re running an e-commerce website, you know all about the challenges. User experience is key to making sure a first time customer buys the items in the cart. As well, it keeps previous buyers returning to shop. When it comes to the shipping process, online shoppers can be pretty demanding, and therefore it’s crucial to streamline this process.
People who shop online have grown to expect items in their mailbox immediately after hitting that pay button. Of course, it’s nearly impossible to make that a reality, but coming up with clear shipping strategies will help you to keep your customers happy and turn them into loyal fans of your brand.
E-commerce: tips to improve shipping
Where to begin with shipping?
Your shipping process has some foundational aspects that have to be determined. These are the key decisions you’ll have to make as you determine your shipping strategy. These things can be changed as you move forward, but you’ll come to see how crucial they are.
Shipping rates and methods: Will shipping costs be paid by yourself or the customer? Alternatively, will you choose to offer flat rate shipping or take on a portion of the cost?
Packaging: Your choice of package will come down to the products you are shipping, and this will greatly determine accurate shipping costs.
Product weight: Make sure to take careful measurements as well as weigh of each one of your products. Having this information available upfront will allow you to further determine the total costs of shipping your items. As well, it will help you pass along total shipping costs to customers.
Source of packaging: Some businesses may choose to source free packaging from companies such as UPS or DHL where others may choose to invest in branded packaging.
Now, after determining and deciding on these specifics, we’re going to go over concrete ways to improve your shipping process.
1- Shipping costs
Deciding on the pricing strategy for your shipping process is one of the key ways to determine the best way to go about your shipping process. There are a few common methods, but make sure that the choice you go forward with will come down to the financial requirements of your business.
Free shipping: Free shipping is one of the best ways to get your customers to follow through with a purchase. Of course, shipping costs will fall back on you and if you’re choosing to move ahead with this method, you’ll have a few different options. This includes increasing the price of products to cover shipping costs, and ultimately the customer will be paying.
Another option is paying the cost of shipping out of your margins. Lastly, you could offer discount codes to specific customers for free shipping. Again, choosing which way to go will come down to the cost of your products, your target audience, and your budget.
Carrier rates: Charging real-time carrier rates to ship your products is another effective method. Most e-commerce platforms offer a way to integrate this method with different carriers such as Canada Post and UPS. This will offer live pricing and allows the customer to be in charge of choosing their shipping time and pricing.
Flat rate: Flat rate shipping is another popular option. Make sure that if you’re going this route, you don’t over or under-charge the customer. This method is best for those working with items with similar size and weight. If you have a wide variety of products, we would recommend going with another option.
2- Clear communication: delivery dates and tracking
Buying something online is exciting! Most customers patiently await the arrival of their item, checking their mailbox day in and day out. Now, customers are commonly looking for a total online shopping experience, and shipping is part and parcel with this process.
One surefire way to enhance the customer experience of your shipping process is to clearly communicate with them. It’s important to go above and beyond by delivering a tailored experience. Your customer wants to know when their package is arriving, so let them know. Consider including a way for your customer to track how and when their product is being shipped directly on your website.
Alternatively, if you’re working with a carrier, make sure they’re provided with a tracking number. Of course, don’t make up times or promise that things will arrive sooner than they will. Be transparent with your shipping and wait times, and customers will appreciate you for it.
Shopping online can be exciting, but it can also be frustrating. One way to make sure your customer follows through with shipping is to streamline the checkout process. This includes both payment and identifying shipping options. Ultimately, your goal should be to provide a straightforward checkout experience. The customer should be able to move easily between choosing their product, finding their shopping cart, choosing shipping options and finalizing the purchase.
As shipping and delivery are key components of the online shopping experience, do make it as clear as day what the customer's options are. Be certain to price everything accordingly so that you don’t lose money when it comes down to finalizing all shipping costs.
As mentioned, it’s become common for the customer to expect a full shopping experience even when buying online. This includes the experience of having a beautiful package (or plural) arrive at their abode. Thus, the packaging of your products has become an integral part of the shipping experience.
For this reason, we’d suggest having your packaging complement your overall brand experience. Branding and packaging is an effective way to set yourself apart from your competitors. The unboxing experience is a way to reach beyond your product for successful customer experience.
Some ways to do this could include offering a thank you note tucked in with the products, offering incentives or discount codes for future purchases, providing a return label in case the product doesn’t work out for the customer and so forth. These may seem like small details, but these little things will offer a memorable experience for the customer and keep them coming back.