7 eCommerce Shipping Best Practices

by Anca Iusan
Blog

Creating the best online user experience takes more than brand, name, elegant storefront, or products & services rendered.

The popular English saying goes, the end justifies the means. Shipping is the end of all your online hard work, but what is the best e-commerce shipping solution, and how do they work? 

In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about shipping for e-commerce. Whether you believe it or not, your e-commerce shipping bests practices are the successful strategies for your online store.

Online statistics you should remember

50% of consumer abandoned their shopping carts because the delivery options were not satisfactory

61% of online shoppers are likely to cancel their order if free shipping is not available

58% of consumers will buy more if free shipping is an option

93% of consumers will adhere to a CTA if it involves free shipping

However, as crucial as e-commerce shipping is to online success, e-commerce best practices are more than free shipping but embody other integral factors. This guide should help you navigate the best shipping solutions for e-commerce and how best to apply them.

So shall we begin?

 What is eCommerce shipping?

If you thought e-commerce shipping is only about shipping out orders to clients, you are wrong. E-commerce shipping is a segment in online business that deals with the movement of goods/products from the point of purchase to your desired destination effortlessly.

In simple terms, it is transporting the products from the online store to the customer’s address.

While this process should be transparent, fast, affordable, and manageable, product shipment is a way to build trust and add value to your store. This, in turn, boosts the customer shopping experience and adds credibility to your store.

Let’s have a look at some factors to consider when building a successful e-commerce shipping solution that works for you.

But first!

Why is shipping for e-commerce significant?

In a 2019 survey about e-commerce delivery, over 60% of consumers attached shipping and speed to the reason for shopping at the same store again and again. This means that shipping and an effective delivery process directly impact the reputation of your online business.

At Ecomitize, we care about what your customers think and retaining them. Hence we will provide an easy and sustainable shipping e-commerce solution for you.

Talking about fast the Amazon’s 2-day delivery tactics has changed how e-commerce is doing business. Previously customers had to wait 3 – 5 business/working days for their order to be processed, packages and shipped. This slow process deterred customers from shopping online. So to meet the rising need for speed and consumer satisfaction, shipping time and rates are practices changing the e-commerce sphere.

 So, how vital is e-commerce shipping?

Answer: VERY IMPORTANT, customers are less worried about how their goods will get to them; all they want is for the order to be shipped out as soon as possible in perfect condition.

38% of negative shipping experiences deter customers from purchasing from an online store again. Whether via online comments/feedback or words of mouth, it is critical to avoid any negative reviews about your store, especially shipping.

To avoid this setback, you must understand and utilize e-commerce best practices as you journey to online success.

How does online shipping work?

Every online store follows a similar process. The shipping process is divided into four steps, namely:

  • Receiving order – this is to make sure that the orders placed by the customer have been locked down and available for processing.
  • Processing orders – the orders have been duly identified, and all details relating to them are compiled for the next step.
  • Fulfilling orders – in this step, the order is selected, packaged, and tagged for shipping to the accurate address.
  • Delivering order – order has reached their destination and handed over to the customer in good shape.

It cannot be that hard, is it? 

What to know about choosing the best e-commerce shipping practices.

BE SPECIFIC ABOUT YOUR SHIPPING OPTIONS

Different order requires difference shipping options. So it is only fair that your customers are open to choices that suit their wallets and desires.

Remember, there is nothing like one-size-fits-all when choosing e-commerce shipping companies or e-commerce shipping solutions for your business. One rule to remember is, your shipping solution must be fast, affordable, and profitable to you and the consumer. This way, you reduce abandoned carts and increase customer conversion.

Types of shipping methods

Free Shipping

Everybody loves FREE, and this method is the best way to boost sales, retention, and conversion. As enticing as free shipping is, is there truly anything like free shipping?

Believe it or not, someone is paying for all the freebies you are getting. Whether it’s the customers, vendors, or shipping companies, somebody is settling the debts.

You can make profits in your business if you desire to offer free shipping via the following ways.

  • Offer a discount code to customers who want free shipping
  • Increase the price or products ever so slightly to cover the shipping cost
  • Set a minimum spending limit to acquire free shipping. For example, if an order of $50 will make a customer get free shipping, then ensure they buy to that amount. Customers love free shipping and will perform this CTA without even considering the reason behind it.
  • Insist that customer become part of a loyalty program and perform certain actions to make them entitled to free shipping
  • Offer free shipping to certain locations and distances at specific times of the year.

Regardless of the steps, you choose to offer free shipping, ensure that your profit margin is not sucked into pleasing your customers alone. The following should help.

Ø  Calculate your margins – know the type of discount you are offering, and it cannot be a flat rate for all.

Ø  Determine the product – free shipping for a 40-inch TV screen will yield a profit than delivering a pair of socks. So consider the product, size, weight, and distance before offering free shipping.

Ø  How much is the order – as mentioned, someone has to pay for free shipping. Place a threshold spending price before orders can be freely shipped.

Ø  Customer location – local customers can enjoy free shipping because they live in the vicinity, and transport is affordable. However, international consumers are another story. If you are shipping from the USA to Japan, you have to think freight cost, clearance at international outlets, and more.

Free shipping is a way to boost product shipment and retain your customers. However, think about it before you indulge in this treat.

Other e-commerce shipping solutions are:

2-Day Shipping Option

An e-commerce shipping practice renowned to Amazon involves shipping a customer’s order within 48 hours of placing the order. For this shipping solution to remain effective, online stores use shipping companies to ensure delivery within the said time. Using local courier services is simple, fast, affordable, and reliable. Overall, it will help meet customer needs and cut shipping costs without extra expenses.

Same Day Delivery

This is another shipping strategy that aims to ensure customers get their order the same day as it was placed. For example orders, purchase on a Monday morning should reach the customer on the evening of the same day. Same-day delivery offers speed, efficiency, and reliability to the consumer, and they are willing to pay if this service can be guaranteed.

Overnight shipping

With two-day and same-day shipping taking over the e-commerce industry, brands are looking for e-commerce shipping solutions that guarantee customers receive their orders within a short time. Overnight delivery means the customer gets their order within 12 hours minimum regardless of the order and price.

Expedited shipping

This is sending out orders faster than usual using the same shipping strategies available on the ground. While this can be confused with the three shipping options listed above, expedited shipping aims to reduce cart abandonment, increase retention, add value to the brand and move you against the competition.

Global shipping

Otherwise known as the international shipping, it is an expensive option of product shipment that many businesses find challenging. Global shipping also considered taxes, shipping costs, vendors, reliable shipping companies, and delivery methods. For example, Ecomitize can help you fulfill your company’s shipping strategy by simplifying and introducing cost-effective options in global shipping.

Aside from the above shipping options, newer shipping methods like Eco-friendly shipping or green shipping is now an option for many. Such shipping techniques utilize environmentally friendly packages that do not add to landfills.

Finally, freight shipping is our last. This shipping method is considered a global shipping option, and it is usually for goods heavier than 150 pounds. This shipping solution is over air, sea, or land and most directly concerned with the manufacturer or vendor.

SPECIFY SHIPPING COSTS

Except for free shipping, customers do not like surprises, especially when it has to do with money. So if you are not offering free shipping to your customer, be wise to add the shipping cost either on the order page or checkout page.

Your shipping cost should take into account definite factors to prevent abandoned carts due to hidden shipping costs. E-commerce companies must ensure customers are aware of the shipping cost/rates and what to expect.

73% of online shoppers except shipping should be affordable and fast. Any e-commerce company or store that can provide both will establish authority.

They are:

Shipping costs

When calculating shipping cost, you must cover all the basics as it depends on other factors like dimension, weight, destination, the carrier used/rates, and handling/delivery. To avoid running at a loss, one must calculate and seek a cost-effective e-commerce shipping solution suitable for your business.

Dimension & weight

The weight of a package and the space it will occupy during shipping translates to cost. Whether you acknowledge this fact or not, weight and dimension affect your shipping cost. Usually, most shipping companies use length by width by height to determine the cost.

This method of pricing shipping via dimension and weight is known as DIM or Dimensional weight. E-commerce shipping companies like FedEx use this.

UPS use the following DIM calculation

Other e-commerce companies like USPS, DHL, and small courier services have a billable weight that your business should use when charging for shipping costs.

Third-Party Shipping Logistics

Like many other services in the world today, outsourcing is a method businesses use to cut costs and scale down operational costs. Third-party help e-commerce store to reach their audience as many use local courier services instead of paying for flight or freight from a specific location.

Clarify the location

Location is a requirement that must be considered when calculating shipping costs. While size and dimension are crucial, location is significant too. The rule is the shorter the distance, the cheaper shipping cost, and the farther the distance, the more expensive it is.

For example, the shipping cost for a package going to states within the US is different from the same package going to Africa, Asia, or Australia. The high price is due to fuel cost, handling, clearing, and delivering in the respective location.

Handling and shipping

Handling is the process of picking out the order from the warehouse, ensuring that the accurate message is chosen, packaging, and tagging. The shipping process includes ensuring that the package gets from the warehouse to the customer’s doorstep.

DETERMINE E-COMMERCE DELIVERY RATE

Different businesses consider different shipping rates when charging customers for delivering their orders. In this section, we will be discussing the four types of shipping rates.

 They are:

  • Flat rate shipping
  • Table rate shipping
  • Live carrier rate
  • Free shipping

Flat-rate Shipping

A flat rate shipping charge means that regardless of size, weight, location, or dimension, the shipping cost is the same across the board. For example, when an e-commerce company charges a $10 flat rate, this cost goes for shipping a bouquet of flowers or a 40-inch Samsung TV.

However, with a flat rate, the delivery time and date cannot be altered. Furthermore, standard shipping is different for a flat rate as the charges are based on area codes and zones.

Finally, handling cost, delivery, and other minor charges are including in the flat rate. Overall, flat rate shipping gives your customer a straightforward and efficient option to get their order at an affordable rate.

Table Rate Shipping

To best understand this shipping rate, imagine this scenario. Every item you buy in-store has a specific shipping charge according to it. Even if the products are the same, been categorized into sizes, shapes, color, or age & gender, a shipping rate is applicable. When you pick one product, the shipping charge is automatically added. 

The charge increases exponentially as the cart gets filled with another of the same product added to it.

For businesses or individuals buying in bulk, the charges are a deterrent to making any purchases. This is where table-rate shipping comes into play.

Table rate shipping accords the customer the privilege of controlling the shipping cost and method on the item selected regardless of shapes and sizes, weights, dimension, and location. For e-commerce businesses looking to improve their shipping methods and remain efficient to their customers, Table rate shipping is your best option.

With table rate shipping, you can set rates based on value, category, weight, and quantity.  Table rate shipping is a reliable system of e-commerce shipping and the best for e-commerce stores.

Live Carrier Rates

If your online business dealing with e-commerce shipping companies like USPC, DHL, UPS, and FedEx, knowing their shipping rates and displaying them on your page is the best way to go. It allows your customers to be aware of the carriers, delivery preferences, zones, and location.

While this shipping rates offer affordable charges, it fluctuates and can annoy customers who are unaware of the patterns and changes happening in the freight services. Real-time rates are also unstable when you have competitors offering tantalizing shipping rates.

Offer Free Shipping

Do you know that 78% of Amazon Prime customers in the US that signed up for the loyalty program did so because of free shipping? Even more, some of the biggest e-commerce merchants online shipped out more than 50% free orders.

Free shipping is an exceptional way for small, medium, and big e-commerce businesses are using it to attract customers and reduce cart abandonment. Free shipping is profitable in more ways than one.

CLARITY ABOUT DELIVERY DATE

Now that we are clear about shipping options, costs, and rates, it is time to define e-commerce delivery time. The pandemic came and altered the way things are done, including shipping options and delivery dates.

For example, if your shipping option is overnight shipping, ensure it is so. If this date cannot be met, it is necessary to inform the customer of the changes.

 Ecomitize recommends that delivery dates be added at the checkout points and email be submitted in case changes are impromptu.

Defining the e-commerce delivery dates is necessary as more than 87% of customers will shop again if deliveries are fast. Additionally, the following should be considered.

  • International delivery times must be evaluated and clearly defined
  • Local delivery should be estimated based on zones and regions
  • Shipping notifications should be sent out promptly, and tracking codes delivered as packages are sent out as soon as packages leave your vicinity.
  • Keep communications channels open via text, email, or phone calls with the customers.
  • Respond immediately to customer’s requests concerning wrong delivery, packages, or handling.

Finally, under promise and over deliver are tactics that will draw in more clients and boost your shipping experience. For example, if a package will get to a destination in three days but can happen overnight or the next day, do it. This will build happy customers that trust in you.

ECOMMERCE SHIPPING COMPANIES

Goods are not going to magically appear at the doorstep of the customers. Even though that would be nice, consumers expect their orders before the said date.

E-commerce companies need efficient shipping companies to strategically ensure their customers are satisfied and delivered on time. There are several carriers in the US and wherever you reside, but what are the best e-commerce shipping companies for your online store?

If you run your online store in the US, your customers are opened to three types of carrier options. They are international carriers, regional carriers, and postal consolidation or solutions.

These carriers offer trackable carriers that ensure packages are delivered directly into the arms of the customers. While this procedure is expensive, it is guaranteed and assured.

The second is the confirmation of delivery or delivery confirmation. This is like an update that keeps you posted on where your package is at every moment.

Customers need to remember that even though carriers are reliable, there do not control the weather, and other elements beyond their control can stall product shipment. These are the best delivery carrier used bet e-commerce shipping companies.

USPS – United States Postal Service

When it comes to last minutes delivery, nobody beats the USPS. As a postal agency, the USPS is an independent office of the US federal government catering to the postal service of the residents in the US. The USPS is often the last leg in the relay of product shipment to ensure parcels get to you.

The USPS is a good choice for packages less than 2 pounds, or if you are looking for an affordable shipping solution, then the USPS is the best.

They offer three shipping solutions.

First-class mail – 2 -5 business days

Priority Mail – 2 – 3 business days

Express Mail 1-2 days but is location-dependent.

USPS is a reliable shipping solution for e-commerce and an e-commerce delivery option for businesses looking for affordable one-day or two-day delivery for their customers. The only drawback is the tracking system is not efficient.

FedEx

Looking to ship a single envelope or something smaller, FedEx is the option for you. For some businesses just starting, this shipping company has the element to deliver. FedEx is known for next-day delivery or overnight delivery, giving you a reliable delivery solution for your e-commerce. FedEx small business is another program that is helping small e-commerce companies minimize delivery costs as they grow their business. FedEx also offers FedEx Ship Manager Lite for businesses to ship small and weightless packages like an envelope. Compared to UPS and USPS, these e-commerce shipping company is cheaper and offer mouth-watering discounts of packages. With FedEx, you can ship products over 3 pounds and monitor the progress from your mobile device.

FedEx is also one of the best e-commerce shipping companies offering international product shipment of any size and weight.

UPS

UPS is a versatile and reliable carrier for e-commerce to different destinations across the globe. It also has exceptional tracking and pickup services enabling customers to accurately know where and when their packages are due.

UPS also has a shipping program for a small business and excellent shipping rates to match the package, distance, and location. Although their shipping cost is expensive, it is reliable and, like other couriers, offers overnight delivery, 2 days and 3 days delivery types.

DHL

Everyone knows the capabilities of DHL as one of the best e-commerce shipping companies in the globe. Their efficiency covers everywhere; whether local or international is exceptional delivery and accuracy. For e-commerce stores delivering long-distance or dealing in fragile products, DHL is the best. DHL automation system, electronic tracking system, Express Shipping solutions, experience, and paperless billing systems are their best features.

Furthermore, their tracking system is second to none, and you can follow your package in real-time with up-to-date information about the whereabouts of your order.

Amazon Fulfillment Services

Amazon is the largest e-commerce store and has incredible e-commerce shipping best practices that many smaller stores can emulate. However, they also provide a beautiful carrier service with exceptional tracking, shipping, and fulfillment across all terrain. If your business delivers in North America and UK, this is a great product shipment option. Additionally, its delivery is fast, real-time tracking available, constant update, and easy fulfillment.

Choosing the right e-commerce shipping company is among e-commerce shipping best practices that will build and establish your online store.

CHOOSE APPROPRIATE SHIPPING PACKAGES

Packaging was meant to keep the items and make delivery safe, but not anymore. Today, the world of e-commerce has grown beyond expectation, and customers want their orders to be respected, and choosing the right packaging is the best e-commerce shipping choice to make. It does not matter whether you are shipping locally or internationally, your package and packaging choice must reflective of your brand and visions for the brand.

The following should help you make headway when choosing the right shipping package.

Depending on the products, product weight, and delivery location, the following packaging types are available.

  • Corrugated cardboard boxes are recyclable cartons used to carry heavy items or light, fragile items.
  • Double-wall cardboard boxes secure heavy fragile or light fragile items from damage until it reaches its destination.
  • Extra boxing or over-boxing offers extra protection to secure packages that are easily damaged during transit.
  • Plastic wrappings or envelope is great for packing light materials like clothing to reduce the weight during shipping.
  • A bubble-wrap padded envelope is a beautiful way to convey small, delicate, and fragile items that need protection.

Customized or personalized packaging

Plain cardboard boxes were the norm of the day when it did not really matter but not today. Brands are offering personalized boxes to stand out in the crowd but improve customer experience. Amazon uses branded boxes. E-commerce companies like Happy Socks use colorful boxes, which are easily converted for other purposes. Another e-commerce company doing extraordinary things with cardboard boxes is Joolz. This baby company is taking simple card box packaging to the next level by letting customers create unique objects with it.

Additionally, another packaging gathering momentum is eco-friendly packages. These are sustainable, recyclable, biodegradable, and a simple way to combat landfills, manage waste and keep the planet safe. With more people understanding their position and the need to reduce carbon print and save the planet, eco-friendly packaging should endear to many customers in that school of thought.

Finally, packaging is one of the e-commerce shipping best practices any company can/must employ. However, in choosing the right package, do not squeeze a large item into a small box and vice versa.

ATTACH PROPER LABELS AND OFFER INSURANCE

Labels are the instrument that enables and ensures packages get to the right customer and never get missing. However, even with the right address and labels, packages still get missing. Now, this is where insurance helps.

Why are labels important?

Packages are heavy or light, fragile or sturdy, or with some other requirement. Imagine a box of delicate wine glasses handles like a box of kettle ball due to wrong labeling.

This means the customer might receive a box of broken glasses or mostly damaged ones. This does not tell well about your brand’s reputation or capabilities as an efficient store.

Aside from ensuring the package gets to the right owner, labels also detail the items in each box and help it to clear customs checks in foreign countries, especially for international deliveries.

Why is shipping insurance necessary?

Let’s face it; packages get missing, lost, stolen, or badly damaged in transit. For many customers, returning it is the best way to get a refund for their time and efforts. As an e-commerce company, insuring specific goods like expensive items will save you money and ensure that the carrier companies pay for their negligence.

Remember to label the package properly, though.

Summary of e-commerce shipping best practices to imbibe today and boost customer retention and conversion:

  • Be specific about your shipping options.
  • Specify shipping costs
  • Determine e-commerce delivery rate
  • Clarity about delivery date
  • E-commerce shipping companies
  • Choose an appropriate shipping package.
  • Attach proper labels and offer insurance

Most times, e-commerce companies miss these simple steps thinking other grounds are covered, but customers see all the nitty-gritty they miss.

Follow these 7 e-commerce shipping best practices to meet and exceeding your customer’s expectations. If at any point you are experiencing a low conversion rate, abandoned cart, or negative reviews, you need better e-commerce shipping solutions to boost your online presence.

Do you need help optimizing your shipping options? Contact the Ecomitize team today. We will give you the best e-commerce shipping solutions for your store and offer unflinching support all the way.

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