6 Guaranteed Best Shipping Practices To Increase Your Online Sales
The past year has been a headache for consumers and retailers alike who depend on fast, hassle-free delivery. The increase in online shopping has changed the number of us doing business, which has led to an e-commerce boom, but production, manufacturing and shipping have not always been able to keep up. Delivery bottlenecks and other disruptions hurt stakeholders at every step of the supply chain and cost e-commerce businesses and customers money.
Your goal as a business should be to use the pandemic to your advantage alleviating these problems to create a reliable online business that will thrive in any economy. The way you handle order fulfillment is a big part of that success. Whether you’re starting an ecommerce startup or transitioning to an online business model, the way you handle shipping can make or break your brand.
How shipping affects brand perception
A customer’s willingness to continue doing business with you depends on the positivity of their shopping experience. Loyal customers are easier and more profitable to market to, and they tend to spend more on each transaction. Loyal customers also make great brand ambassadors who provide free word of mouth advertising and help increase brand recognition.
The speed and reliability of your shipment is a factor that affects customers’ opinion of your brand as much as it does the quality of your products. The numbers don’t lie, as a strong majority of people polled according to a recent survey cited prompt delivery as the number one reason for a perceived positive shopping experience. In fact, the top five reasons a customer describes their online shopping experience in glowing terms relates to the checkout and delivery process.
Best shipping practices
The clear leader in the delivery of goods today is Amazon. This e-commerce giant has a larger market share than the next four e-commerce competitors combined. While most SMEs cannot hope to compete with a company that serves more than half of the nearly $ 4.3 trillion online shopping market, you can earn their share by following industry standards for best shipping practices.
Create a viable strategy
Order fulfillment does not begin when product is loaded onto a truck. It starts with inventory management practices that ensure the right item is in stock and ends with a satisfied customer posting rave reviews on social media.
In the meantime, you need to make sure your customers have a seamless checkout experience and have the shipping options they need. Consider automatic billing software that allows customers to pay instantly with a credit card and generate invoices with your company logo and brand theme to make your business look professional.
In addition to creating and marketing a quality product at a reasonable price, your strategy should revolve around how you will get your products into the customer’s hands quickly and in good condition. The most important considerations in your shipping strategy include profitability, reliability, flexibility, and budget. You should also keep the needs of your audience in mind and make sure they have multiple options for payment and shipping selections.
Create a unified fulfillment team
Exemplary customer service should be an organization-wide priority. In traditional businesses, the main aspects of customer service are done in-house, although some of the logistics may be outsourced out of necessity. With ecommerce retailers, there are additional factors to keep in mind when working with manufacturers, suppliers, and third-party shipping media.
Part of your strategy should be to maximize supply chain resilience by viewing every branch of your fulfillment and delivery network as an extension of your brand. This includes everyone from the web designer who sets up your product pages and shopping cart, to shipping partners and warehousing centers.
In addition, your customer support team should be fully trained, knowledgeable and empowered to answer questions and implement concrete solutions to customer requests. If you are using AI chatbots for customer service, make sure the experience is as informative and “human” as possible. As the primary point of contact after ordering and / or delivery, customer service information should match that of your brand and shipping partners.
Put customers in the driver’s seat
Customer satisfaction improves when the buyer feels they have control over the process and the result. You can put the customer in control, figuratively speaking, by setting up customer portals at strategic points in the supply chain, order tracking and other self-service options so they know where to go. find their orders.
Also consider having options for expedited shipping. Standard delivery can take up to a week. Therefore, if customers need their items sooner, you can offer options like expedited shipping, two-day shipping, or overnight shipping, if possible. Many customers will pay a little more if you can provide same day delivery, and this is where storing products near your main service areas helps speed up delivery.
Don’t underestimate the importance of packaging
Think about all the brands you know and you will notice that they all have recognizable packaging designs. When it comes to shipping, major brands have an identifiable logo, sturdy construction, and secure packaging. These details are an important part of your brand image, and there is a lot they can do to retain customers.
Don’t just rely on what’s available in your warehouse or transport company. Take the time and money to have custom packaging materials designed especially for your brand. Star companies can make every part of the product, including its packaging, add value to the customer.
Investigate a range of shipping options
Some companies have discovered the hard way, in the height of the pandemic, why it is wrong to offer limited shipping options, and many of the changes made can have lasting impacts on e-commerce retailers. If possible, try to have several possible shipping options available to avoid disruption and shipping delay.
Many companies use a combination of USPS, FedEx, UPS, and other national shipping services to get products to their customers. Your options depend on your service area, availability, and cost. Many companies may offer shipping discounts for frequent and bulky shippers, so you should look for companies that offer trackable delivery services and accurate arrival times.
The price you charge for shipping will also set you apart from your competition. Whenever possible, try to offer free or flat rate shipping. But some customers will also want to pay a little extra for premium services, so consider offering one or two day shipping for a fee if possible.
There are ways to absorb the cost of free shipping to customers without breaking your budget. For example, you can offer free shipping with a minimum purchase amount. You can also offer free shipping as part of a loyalty program for loyal customers, or new customers can get free shipping on their first order.
Of 5G smart warehouses to shipment tracking applications, technology is making the entire supply chain smarter, more profitable and more efficient. You should join the trend by investing in software and web platforms particularly suited for e-commerce, as well as order management software that provides accurate information in real time.
According to industry expert Gary Stevens at Hosting Canada, even small businesses can take advantage of market places run by larger companies (Amazon, Ebay, Etsy, etc.) if they use the right tools. “48% of people start looking for a product in the markets,” Stevens says. “That means half of people are looking to Amazon, Ebay, or Etsy for a solution to their problem,” and your small business can fit into those markets through the right ecommerce platform.
You don’t need to aim for global e-commerce dominance to be successful. By adhering to best shipping and product delivery practices, you will increase your revenue and brand loyalty exponentially. The payment and shipping experience is one of the main ways to start your digital transformation and thrive in the post-pandemic e-commerce space. The result will be a thriving online business that will consistently serve its target audience in the future.