This is a guest post by Alexandra Reay.
Note from the editor: Most articles in Universal Cargo’s (UC) blog deal with international shipping to inform and assist U.S. importers and exporters. While the shipping written about in this post is not necessarily international shipping, UC has many customers and blog readers who import goods specifically to sell online. Therefore, every once in a while we post articles, like this one, about e-commerce to provide value for such readers.
E-commerce shippingContrary to popular belief, neither web design nor attractive prices are the basis of a good eCommerce business. Instead, shipping comes before anything and everything else. When you’re selling products over your eCommerce shop, knowing all the ins and outs of shipping is instrumental.
From the design of your packaging to calculating the actual costs, shipping can be the difference between successful and failed businesses. For all eCommerce beginners, we’ve assembled this list of 6 key shipping tips.
1. Be sure about the weight of the productThis might seem like an obvious tip, but product weight can complicate eCommerce shipping more than you can imagine. Many eCommerce beginners simply fail to calculate the exact weight of the product.
Instead of weighing their products precisely, they estimate the weight and therefore end up paying “unplanned” expenses.
For every eCommerce beginner, it’s always important to plan everything. Knowing the precise weight of your product is perhaps the most important part of mastering the shipping process.
Don’t forget to include the weight of manuals, spare parts, or anything else that’s included in the package. Some services charge extra by the gram, so these small additions may end up making a big difference.
2. Fragile products can be a trapWhat makes eCommerce shipping so tricky is the nature of the products you’re selling. For example, let’s say you’re selling ceramic bowls through your eCommerce website. They might weigh a pound or a bit more. That doesn’t seem like too much, right?
Surely, but products made from fragile materials may end up being a financial trap for many eCommerce beginners. Why?
You’re not just selling the bowls, you’re guaranteeing that these bowls will arrive in one piece. This means extra layers of air pillows, bubble wrap, or even foam. All these packaging materials can increase the weight of each package you send. Be careful.
3. Don’t just announce free shipping, express itots of eCommerce beginners tend to use banners to announce that they offer free shipping. According to a survey, 20% of all eCommerce customers expect free shipping offers in their email inbox.
This is good, but you have to remind customers that free shipping is something other eCommerce shops don’t offer. It’s not about what you’re offering — it’s about how you word it and how your customers understand it.
To make the most out of your free shipping, mention it in the product description. If you’re unsure about how to accomplish this, consult a writing service such as SuperiorPapers.com and EssayWritingLab. They can provide you with custom product descriptions to showcase the benefit of free shipping.
4. Size mattersWith new shipping technologies and tracking software, it’s important to keep track of everything. And we mean everything.
Some eCommerce beginners might weigh their products when preparing for shipping, but they often disregard one key component: the size of the product. While weight determines shipping costs, size is also an important but often overlooked factor.
Products such as blankets, pillows, and clothes might not be heavy, but they can be bulky. Carriers often charge for dimensional weight as well.
Bulkier products can be priced in two ways: by their weight or by the average weight of the product of approximately the same size. Be careful when calculating product size.
5. Shipping software is the futureEven small-scale eCommerce businesses can benefit from shipping software. Leaving the package tracking to automated software can greatly decrease the workload for your entire team.
It’s not just about the tracking process anymore, as these programs have become more advanced. Many different versions of software also have purchasing aids, helping you find the best possible deal.
You can also integrate with various marketplaces, helping to facilitate the shipping process all-together. This is important, especially for trans-oceanic shipping and reaching customers that are far away from your point of shipping.
6. Don’t forget about the boxIn the modern eCommerce industry, the packaging is much more than protection or wrapping. When you send a product to a customer, you’re selling your entire brand and telling a story.
Every order is a chance to showcase your entire company in a new and interesting way. Get creative with boxes, designs, and everything else that might leave a lasting impression on a customer.
Don’t reuse boxes that have been returned. Instead, find a good deal and develop an in-house design team. Combining good materials with a great design can help you leave an excellent first impression. Don’t hesitate to slide a surprise or two for select customers, if you’re able.
Concluding thoughtsMastering eCommerce shipping depends on how you plan, how you research, and how you execute. Make use of modern technologies to track your orders and to automate the entire shipping process. Be creative and unique, and there is no reason why your eCommerce business won’t soar in the near future.
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