Knowing what your options are is the best place to start when searching for eCommerce shipping solutions for your business. But, there are also some other things you should know, like how you can save time and money when you implement this strategy. Click here to learn how to choose the best solutions for your business
The e-commerce industry is projected to make $485 billion in annual sales in 2021.
As an e-commerce business owner, you can rest assured that you are taking advantage of a highly lucrative market.
However, even online retailers need to stay ahead. Catering to your customers’ needs is even more vital when you operate an e-commerce store.
Shipping and handling services, in particular, can go a long way in building the customer relationships you need.
If you are searching for e-commerce shipping solutions for your business, be sure to keep several factors in mind as you do so.
Read on for insight into selecting the best delivery solutions for your company!
1. Identify Your Shipping Needs
This is the first place to begin when choosing ecommerce shipping solutions. A firm grasp of your shipping and handling needs can streamline the selection process.
Know Your Inventory
You cannot identify shipping needs without a solid understanding of your current inventory. In the e-commerce industry, inventory management is key to effectively monitoring sales and customer relationships.
If you haven’t already done so, consider investing in management software that can help you maintain an overview of your existing product line.
The right software can also streamline shipping solutions down the road and prevent backorders or delivery errors.
We recommend crafting your inventory with item specifications in mind. This means identifying weight and dimensions of products. These specifications will prove essential to determining your shipping rates, packaging, and strategy.
Also, identify how much shipping you will require. Do you anticipate delivering a few products a week, or thousands? This will depend on inventory size and business timeline.
Select Shipping Rates and Packaging
A lot goes into determining shipping rates, more than most business owners assume. Your rate can be a key part of your marketing strategy.
You may wish to offer free shipping, for example, to your customers. Other business owners offer a flat-rate fee for all orders, regardless of size or destination.
Both methods will require product price adjustment to account for shipping costs. However, both can help influence purchase decisions further.
Keep in mind the other fees that go into the sale of an individual product, such as the cost of packaging, credit card fees, and applicable tax.
E-commerce shipping solutions also involve determining packaging you wish to use. Some owners pre-purchase packaging from warehouses or postal supply stores. Others rely on a shipping and handling fulfillment service that takes care of packaging itself.
Choose Shipping Options
Will you offer your customers standard delivery only, or do you want to give them more options?
This is key when identifying your shipping solutions.
Some business owners love the idea of one standard delivery option. They don’t want the hassle of expedited or rush shipping, for example.
Others offer as many options as possible to customers in order to influence purchase decisions and build their online reputation.
2. Know Your Options
Once you’ve identified your shipping needs and strategy, it’s time to sit with your shipping options. Luckily, there are a variety of e-commerce shipping solutions available to online retailers.
DIY Shipping and Handling
A lot of e-commerce business owners tackle their shipping needs themselves. This is a viable solution for businesses just starting out, without a large inventory to begin with.
It is also viable for companies that have a dedicated team for shipping and handling purposes.
These companies may also have inventory management software in place and a storage facility for products.
Even if you are the lone wolf of your company, taking shipping into your own hands is entirely possible. In fact, DIY shipping can provide unique branding opportunities that outsourced services may not offer.
If you use an ecommerce platform like Shopify, you will likely be able to streamline shipping needs. These platforms often take care of labels, shipping rate selection, and delivery management.
Other business owners who take care of their own shipping invest in couriers. While most couriers don’t provide packaging services, they can ensure faster and more secure delivery.
Fulfillment services take your shipping and handling needs into their own hands. They store your inventory items at a warehouse and process, package, and deliver products as shipping needs dictate.
These services are ideal for businesses with large inventories and complex shipping needs. Because they can be an investment, they are also suited to e-commerce stores that have larger budgets.
What is more, some fulfillment services use generic packaging. This can be a downside to businesses wanting to promote their brand through unique packaging.
However, large e-commerce stores may find valuable peace of mind in fulfillment services.
Outsourcing shipping needs can free up time and resources to devote to other business operations.
U.S. startups who want to scale for growth may also find an advantage in fulfillment services
3. Research Wisely
The key to choosing ecommerce shipping solutions ideal for your company lies in research. Spend time browsing options and brainstorming shipping strategies.
If you do decide to use a courier or fulfillment service, read client testimonials and consult representatives to ensure that these services can meet your needs. Some services may offer certain guarantees or trial periods to first-time clients.
You may also wish to consult colleagues or friends who are in the e-commerce industry.
Sometimes referrals are the best channels for identifying your shipping solutions.
If you find that you aren’t satisfied with any of your options, spend some more time honing your shipping strategy. A reassessment of shipping needs is also helpful any time your inventory changes.
Finding ECommerce Shipping Solutions
As an e-commerce business owner, your company depends on your ability to ship products securely to your customers. When identifying ecommerce shipping solutions for your business, prioritize your shipping needs and shipping strategy.
Research shipping solutions that best meet these needs, and know the options available to e-commerce business owners. Research wisely and don’t be shy about testing out services.
All in all, the best shipping solution will promote your own marketing strategy, make your life easier, and keep your clients happy.
At JCount, we care about the startup life and helping entrepreneurs find their niche. Check out our other business tips for more insight!