One of the exciting features of eCommerce is the possibility of your store reaching audiences in different parts of your country and in any part of the world.
In your store optimization, you’ll have the option to make your store visible to specific audiences in distinct places. There will come a time when you will expand the reach of your ads and store presence to more than just your neighborhood. With your global expansion comes the need to understand shipping in and out of your country. To guide startup businesses like you, we have listed five crucial eCommerce shipping considerations. These will ensure that your product reaches your customers while remaining profitable despite the shipping costs.
Highlights of Contents
1. Product Packaging and Packing
Planning for efficient packaging begins as early as your thoughts on beginning a business. If you are still in the product planning stage and haven’t thought about how you will pack your products, add them to your to-do list. Below are the things you should consider:
- Stylish: Your product covers, wrappers, and boxes are essential for boosting your brand. People form first impressions towards products when they are shopping. A flat, boring design is unattractive, so pick a packaging design that will excite your buyers.
- Space-saving: Do not create overly bulky packaging that costs extra to shop. Note that empty space inside the packaging will damage your product. It will also contribute to the space measured to check the shipping rate you will be charged with.
- Cost-effective: After product packaging, plan how you will pack your products for shipping. The boxes, envelopes, cushions, wraps, tags, and tapes should be cost-effective, yet still safe and durable.
Once you have ticked these considerations off your to-do list, the next thing to do is to be informed about shipping rates based on product dimensions and weight. Maximize the free shipping calculators available online.
2. Shipping During Peak Seasons
Peak seasons in the shipping industry fall in the months right before and during holidays. Check your calendar for the most significant holidays around the world. Familiarize yourself with important dates in your country and the place you are shipping to.
For instance, if you are shipping from Canada to the USA or vice versa, mid-July to mid-October are considered peak seasons because these are the months when stores stock up for the holidays. Approaching holidays are directly proportional to shipping companies getting busier and increasing their rates.
Going through a shipping guide to the USA from Canada and vice versa can also help you have the proper knowledge on shipping in North America.
Together with the surge in shipping needs is the adjustment of shipping rates. Many local and international shipping companies have peak surcharges. To skip the additional costs, here are the things you should be aware of:
- Stock up and ship months ahead of any holiday.
- Express shipping is more expensive. Go for standard shipping when possible.
- Have a shipping calendar to plan your shipping schedule.
- Consider smaller shipping companies. They offer cheaper shipping with the same quality offered by the big names.
Whether you are shipping locally or internationally, this advice will help you save some costs and ensure on-time delivery to your customers.
3. Customers’ Demands
Customers love free shipping. Studies show that 90% of buyers shop more because of free shipping.
As a startup business, you may think free shipping is not an option. You may lose a lot of money without getting your capital back or making a profit. However, checking your shipping options can make it possible.
One tip from a small business owner’s experience is shipping through companies offering cheaper shipping rates. With the expenses you save, you can cover shipping expenses instead of adding the charge to the client’s cost. This isn’t always a viable option, but look into this and check if it is worth the try.
On the other hand, some buyers are willing to shoulder shipping costs. As a seller, you need to show them that your product is worth their money. If your product is in demand and will satisfy the customers’ needs, then shipping costs will not stand in the way.
4. Different Shipping Choices
Now that your shipping calendar is in place, finding the perfect shipping company comes next.
- Seasoned shipping companies: You can go for the big names in the industry, such as UPS, FedEx, USPS, or Canada Post. Excellent reputation achieved throughout the years is the edge of these brands. They are the choice if you are after credibility.
- New players: New players in the shipping industry offer similar or even more services for a lower cost. They also offer store integration to their site for convenience in shipping, tracking, and billing. This type of setup is perfect for budding businesses.
- Shipping via a U.S. address: If you are targeting to expand your business to the U.S., check shipping via U.S. addresses. If you have family or friends in the U.S., you can ship the product to them, and they can ship your product locally to the customer. Companies offer U.S. addresses for this purpose.
- Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) and Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF): If you are beginning your business on Amazon, FBA for your local fulfillment and the FBA Export Program for international fulfillment are great choices. These options can also help your product listing ranking. Selling outside Amazon but interested in using their fulfillment services? You can try MCF.
Only you can decide which shipping method is best for you as you have specific goals. The best thing to do is to pinpoint your exact goals to determine which shipping method can help you get there.
5. Advertising Your Chosen Shipping Method
Have you chosen which shipping method you’ll use for your business? It must have been a tough choice with many brainstorming sessions, financial consultations, and a list of pros and cons. Nevertheless, you made it!
Whichever shipping system you use, make sure that your customers know about it. Customer knowledge on how they will receive their order, how long it will take before they get it, and whether they will pay for it or not are essential. You can educate your customers through social media and customer service.
Keeping your customers updated gives a higher chance of positive feedback. Your customer service also sets you apart from other sellers—it can define whether a customer will buy one time or become a patron.
Start packing efficiently through your product packaging. Then you can move on to having a well-planned shipping calendar to avoid the extra cost of peak season surcharges and express shipping.
Your customers are always right, and your business will succeed because of them. Consider what shipping method they are looking for, or show them the benefits of your product they can’t resist. Create a need, and buyers will be more than willing to shoulder extra shipping costs.
Whatever you do, be transparent and educate your customers.They should know what to expect from your shipping means. Unparalleled customer service is the key not only to successful shipping but also to a profitable business.
Beginning a business is exciting and daunting at the same time with all the tasks at hand. Check shipping off the to-do list with these five things to consider that will make your life easier.