The current shipping expectations of customers are set by eCommerce giants like Amazon. As a small business, shipping is already one of the most crucial and expensive parts of the eCommerce fulfillment process and handling it efficiently is not an easy task for many.
How well you manage your shipping and customer experience could either make or break your business. With the rising trend in delivering an unforgettable unboxing experience, everything from how you pick and pack your products to ship and deliver plays an important role in building your brand loyalty. As a cherry on top, customers also want transparency in the whole of order fulfillment processes, which means you will require more time and resources focused on shipping.
If you want to go beyond your customers’ shipping expectations, you should be aware of the shipping basics. Being a small business owner, it’s totally understandable to feel overwhelmed when it comes to your supply chain and shipping management. Read on to learn more about how you can implement and execute an effective and cost-effective shipping strategy for your business.
Understanding the Basics of eCommerce Shipping
Shipping costs and how it’s calculated form some of the significant factors in developing a shipping strategy for a small eCommerce business. How is it calculated? Let’s take a look at what all costs are added to the total shipping costs.
Service and Speed
It’s no secret that the customers expect free and fast delivery. The shipping cost increases depending on how fast the delivery is, so it’s important to offer a few different shipping options to the customers. Include your shipping policy on your store website with every detail mentioned to make the shopping experience seamless for the customers. This will help you to reduce customer grievances too.
Dimension and Weight of the Package
Always be aware of the size and weight of your product. The bigger and heavier the package is, the greater your shipping costs. Each carrier and shipping agent will have different rate calculation methods, weight restrictions, and requirements. You should compare different carriers and their rates and requirements to finalize a shipping carrier. In some cases, partnering with a third party logistics (3PL) provider is more cost-effective as they can provide discounted shipping rates by partnering with various major shipping carriers.
Even for local or domestic shipping, each carrier charges different rates. If you have international customers, then additional costs may apply, such as import/export duties, taxes, and more. You should also be aware of the product shippability for each country to ensure that your products do not belong in the forbidden category. To save some bucks on global shipping, you can also partner with a 3PL fulfillment center that either has multiple warehouses across the globe or provides international shipping DDP services such as ShipBots.
You should be clearly aware of your shipping volume and frequency. Forecasting the shipping volume can help you in getting discounts from your carrier and other benefits.
Factors for Developing a Shipping Strategy
There are three major factors to consider while developing your shipping strategy.
Where You Store Your Inventory
When you are in the initial stage of business, keeping your products in your garage or a rented space would be an easier option. But as your business grows, you will need a bigger space to accommodate the shipping volume and execute an efficient order fulfillment strategy.
Who Your Shipping Partner Is
Depending on the products you sell, it’s important to figure out whether you will stick with a single carrier or choose a multi-carrier option. This will help you in determining a cost-effective shipping strategy.
How You Will Manage Logistics
When you are a growing business, managing your logistics and supply chain can become quite a hassle. Partnering with a 3PL logistics provider could give you a competitive edge over inventory and retail logistics management.
Choosing Carriers Based on Shipping Zones
Just because a shipping carrier has a larger client base does not mean it is suitable for your business. Check out their website, go through their services, and compare the rates to see which carrier is best suited for your shipping needs.
Each package you send may or may not cross one or more shipping zones based on where your warehouse and customer are located. The shipping costs might vary depending on the zones and it’s essential to know the shipping zones to negotiate shipping rates.
Make Use of Shipping Management Software
Using advanced shipping software to track your orders, shipping delays and deliveries can help you save a lot of money and time. With the help of good shipping software, you can reduce damages and returns and track the shipping in a real-time scenario. As a growing business, it might not be feasible for you to currently invest in a shipping software. One alternative is to partner with a 3PL fulfillment center that offers efficient shipping software as part of their order fulfillment services package.
Partnering with a 3PL Fulfillment Center
You shouldn’t be breaking the bank developing and executing an efficient shipping strategy for your small business. When you partner with a 3PL fulfillment center with multiple warehouses across the globe or offer international shipping services, you don’t have to worry about comparing carrier rates, negotiating rates, or ensuring a seamless shipping experience all on your own.
At ShipBots, we can help you find the best shipping strategy for your business and help you through every step of your order fulfillment journey. With us you’ll have access to unlimited storage space, multiple warehouses closer to your customer base to reduce your shipping costs, and efficient shipping software with real-time tracking that can be customized to your needs. Get in touch with us today to learn how we can support expanding your small business.