Shipping & Fulfillment in E-Commerce
B2B and B2C have got a shot in the arm in recent times. Thanks to shipping, logistics, and convenience in E-Commerce which has put more emphasis on the above industries in general.
The capability to successfully order online and receive the products in a timely manner, in good condition can also influence buyers. This will also help to drive sales to your website and create return visitors making them loyal to your product.
Online retailers’ business is getting saturated. It has, therefore, become imperative to make your business prominent and noticeable among your competitors. Additionally, you have to stay attuned to current trends by understanding the needs of your consumer. In this case, having desirable shipping and returning options may be highly favorable. Obviously, every sale matters for a small developing business and return customers are always welcome; with a perfectly executed shipping plan, these can be achieved taking the success of your E-Commerce business to the next level.
In order to help you develop and implement a correct shipping and fulfillment approach, we shall share some facts and tips in the following write-up. Additionally, we shall also delve into order fulfillment that generally covers a broad range of steps, from the information on your website to how your product is packaged by sharing the shipping options to your customers.
The clarity in Your Order Fulfillment& Return Policies
It is annoying when a customer purchases your product and abandons at the shopping cart stage. If you have a working shipping strategy it would mean the difference between having a customer purchase your product and abandoning the shopping cart. In E-Commerce, shipping plans can be utilized as marketing tools.
The first step and a precise strategy of an E-Commerce transaction are what is presented on your website. You have to clearly mention order fulfillment policies and information prominently on your website to attract attention. If you have plans to offer free shipping, this bonanza should be one of the first things the buyer sees “Free Free Free” as soon as he lands on your E-Commerce site. This can greatly influence his decision to make the purchase right away.
Convenience is considered to be the principle of an E-Commerce business. Consumers spend their precious time to find and chose goods online. Therefore, capitalize on convenience and create a site that is easy to navigate with a great user experience that is beyond consumers’ expectations. Ensure that the information furnished is easy to find and clearly identified. Make certain that the flow of the website is not compromised as any adjustment will impact your sales and consequently increase the bounce rate of the website.
Now let us understand a little about shipping option that you plan to put up on your website. Undoubtedly, flexibility is the key to every shipping strategy. You may need to try out a few options to get before finalizing the one befitting your business. As your business evolves and takes shape, probably, you might even need to adopt different shipping strategies for the convenience of your consumers; having more than one shipping option available is always good as you have a choice to use the strategy of mixed shipping options to serve your consumers and generate additional revenue. Below are some top E-Commerce shipping solutions that could be helpful to your type of business:
While offering free shipping, consider the impact on your profit margin. Even if the option of free shipping is bringing in more sales, the cost of covering shipping expenses for each sale may not be viable in terms of recurring expenses and overheads.
For brilliantly utilizing free shipping, you can even try out other options. One of the options could be to include free shipping on bulk purchase. Studies show that 66 percent of consumers often expect to spend on purchases in order to qualify for free shipping. This can help in increasing the amount the consumer spends per sale. An alternative would be to use free shipping as a promotional offer during a certain time of the year or can even apply this scheme to specific products. At an additional cost, you can also offer free shipping for standard delivery times and express shipping. These are different ways to use free shipping, but ensure it does not affect your cash register at the end of the day.
Flat Rate Shipping
Cost for shipping any product is uniform. Regardless of weight, size, and value of the consignment, the shipping cost remains constant. This gives customers’ to work out the final cost of the end product. Here you can dictate the cost of flat rate and create a shipping total to cover other incidental expenses like packaging etc. and also shipping! This strategy is not as popular as free shipping offer because customers read between the lines and see the benefits if they plan to buy bigger items and spend more.
Table Rate Shipping
This option is the reverse of the above. In this method of shipping, the companies are permitted to customize their shipping solutions according to their convenience. Here, you are at liberty to dictate different shipping costs based on a variety of factors. Basically, you have to consider the product size, weight; a number of items and delivery destination are important points when working out the shipping costs.
Giving an illustration of table rate shipping is; if your company charges a specific cost for deliveries within a certain area of their location and a different charge for shipping to locations beyond that area. Moreover, companies can also choose to charge a particular shipping cost for the order of one item and a different cost if two or more items need to be shipped. There are different shipping cost options E-Commerce sites can set when using table rate shipping; there are many varieties to choose from.
Live Shipping Rates from a Carrier
In this option, you get the exact shipping rates that can be conveyed to your consumer directly from shipping carriers such as UPS, DHL, or FEDEX. While this may not be usually used as a promotional item, but live shipping rates do show the consumer exactly what they are paying for when choosing their shipping options. Significantly, the rates are a great strategy for B2B shipments where rates are normally calculated by precise factors such as quantity, size, weight, or shipping distance.
For the live shipping rate plan, you can cover your costs in packaging or order fulfillment with added surcharges to the shipping rate that the consumer finally opts for. By having live rates, you have the option to pick and choose the best carrier for your product by current shipping rate.
Utilizing Shipping Tools
After completing the basic plan for order fulfillment and returns, look for all the available shipping tools. With trending B2C and B2B transactions, we are way ahead of the ‘one package at a time process’ using the services of a local post office. In a working E-Commerce business, every process has to be streamlined to be effective and seamless.
In order to be effective and stay above the competition, the basics have to be considered; postal services such as FedEx or UPS that offer business accounts, also help companies to keep track of shipments, easily order packaging supplies and can also schedule pick-ups. Offers like attractive options such as free and fast shipping and consumers want accurate shipping which helps a great deal. The consumers, who have become a little finicky, would also wish to know ETA of their goods and as well know the status at each stage of its journey! At times, it is a boon to have a business account with postal services that have the added advantage of discount shipping or free shipping supplies. Ideally, it is a good idea to take advantage of the benefits of your business. Also, consider what options work best with your shipping fulfillment objectives to sustain in the market.
Additional tools are also available that would be helpful with your shipping needs. These options provide shipping software to perfectly integrate with your E-Commerce site for offering the best solutions at all times for your shipping needs. Moreover, as part of shipping tools, these systems also have the capability to offer consultations to gather additional expert advice in shipping.
Take advantage of the shipping solutions offered with your E-Commerce site. One is Magento, a user-friendly-Commerce platform that offers shipping strategies for both small businesses and larger mid-market online stores as well. As your business grows and develops, the flexibility of the platform allows for customization. Mind you, E-Commerce platforms of this type offer similar benefits as having business accounts with postal services, by seamlessly integrating with your site. Besides, there is a vast Magento community available 24×7 for technical advice and support when you need.
The above, notes, would have made you adept in understanding about various shipping options You can now move on to gearing up to send your goods to its destinations. Before placing your product in the mail, imagine how this item will be introduced or presented to your consumer. As the world of commerce evolves, packaging has become more than just a functional object; simply, it has to be attractive and appealing. In B2C transactions, consumers are looking for an experience rather great and rich experience when they receive their products.
The packaging and branding prominently come into play, a role in the reception of the product so as to stand out among the stiff competition. So take extra care when packaging your product. You will agree that a little time has to be devoted to creating the right design for your packaging your product. Often, consumers respond to personal touches when they receive their goods. You are basically using a well-crafted package to replace the in-person customer service also trying to bond with them. Designed packaging may not be significant in a B2B transaction but the ultimate functionality is what matters. Make a compromise between design and functionality. Consider the weight and size, not too voluminous. All these factors will add to the shipping cost. Leave a lasting impression with your customer as far as order fulfillment is concerned. This is for returning to you again.
These elementary nuances of the type of shipping strategy would work best for you if applied perfectly; as you can then consider widening your scope of work.
International shipping may seem like a huge boulder before you take the next step, but it is also a potentially viable proposition. With the increased growth of international commerce, it would be a good idea to check the possibility of business opportunities. Thorough research is recommended as far as the import and export restrictions/policies for that country are concerned.
Shipping and fulfillment is a very important aspect of a profitable E-Commerce business but no doubt they come with their share of challenges. The best shipping strategy will have to be customized to your product and consumer. A few attempts before you find a solution that works best for you and you would have mastered them all.