The rise in e-Commerce businesses has put extra emphasis on convenience when shopping, as well as consumers wanting a variety of shipping options.
This, coupled with the fact that in today’s digital world people, expect results almost instantly, means that consumers have come to expect a certain level of service from e-Commerce businesses.
Plus, the ability to order online and receive goods quickly can influence buyer’s decisions. It can also boost sales and create a loyal customer base.
This is why it is very much in the interest of any e-Commerce business to perfect the shipping and fulfilment process. And that’s where we come in.
In this guide, we’re going to look at six important things you should know about e-Commerce shipping and fulfilment to help your business succeed this year.
1. You should always be clear about fulfilment and returns
Did you know that your shipping strategy can be utilized as a marketing tool? This is why you should always be open and honest about your fulfilment and returns policy.
As such, your order fulfilment policies and information should be easy for users to find. Plus, any beneficial information should be front and center of your website to attract the most attention.
For example, if you’re offering free shipping or next day delivery, make sure this is one of the first things a visitor to your website sees, as this can influence their buying decisions.
You also need to make sure that buyers know their rights when it comes to returns. If they can’t find your returns policy, this could lead to more abandoned carts as people don’t feel comfortable making a purchase that they might not be able to send back.
2. Free shipping can boost sales or cost you customers
Lots of consumers have come to expect free shipping, and if you don’t offer this, you might find you lose out on sales.
Of course, you can set a limit on spending before free delivery is an option. For example, customers must spend over $50 to qualify for free delivery.
But just be sure that this is an option because studies have found that one in four (25%) would be willing to spend more to qualify for free shipping. Therefore, boosting your sales!
However, if you’re able to, you should offer free delivery as much as possible. That’s providing that it won’t come at a cost to your business.
3. Flat rate shipping can also be beneficial
Flat rate shipping is when you apply one cost to any product purchase regardless of its weight, size, value, etc.
This can be the next best thing to free shipping as it gives customers an upfront figure for shipping, and they always know what to expect from your brand. This means there are no hidden costs that could cause them to abandon their cart at the last minute.
Although this is not as popular as free shipping, a lot of consumers do see the benefits of this option if they plan to buy bigger items. As such, this could be a better option for wholesalers or companies who ship large items like furniture.
4. The right courier service can make or break your business
Unless you’re still running a small operation, it’s likely that packaging up your goods and popping to the post office is no longer an option. As such, you need to find a courier service that gives you the best possible service for your budget.
Get this wrong, and you could lose customers, but get this right, and you can boost your sales, brand, and reputation.
A good courier and shipping service will ensure that all your packages get to customers in a timely manner and in perfect condition. This is why it’s so important that you find the right partner.
So, you need to take some time when doing your research. You need to look at local and national courier service providers, weigh up costs, look at what services they offer (next day delivery, for example) and then determine which is going to be best for you and your customers.
You can always switch couriers at a later date as your operations and business grow.
5. You should offer delivery updates where possible
Another thing that today’s consumers have come to expect is regular updates on their goods. Think about it; you can literally track your Uber driver as they come to pick you up and you can watch your Domino’s pizza being made, boxed, and sent out in real-time. Therefore, e-Commerce shouldn’t be any different.
This is another reason it’s so important to choose the right courier service provider. Many now offer live or regular updates and a tracking reference number that allows customers to keep an eye on their parcels and find out when they will be delivered.
At the very least, you need to be sending out a text message or email to confirm when a package has been shipped. This stops consumers from becoming frustrated, unaware of where their parcel is and when they can expect it to arrive.
6. Packaging also plays an important role in shipping and fulfilment
Finally, it’s important that you understand how your packaging plays a role in your order fulfilment.
Have you ever seen unboxing videos on YouTube, Instagram, or Tik Tok? If not, these are basically videos where people open and unbox parcels they have received from businesses and review their goods. And this includes the packaging.
In fact, a study from the U.S. found that 72% of consumers confessed their purchasing decisions are influenced by the packaging design. Not only this, but 61% of consumers are more likely to make a repeat purchase if a product came in premium packaging.
So, as you can see, the packaging and presentation of your products can be just as important as the goods themselves. Therefore, you should not neglect this aspect of your shipping and fulfilment strategy.
Choose attractive packaging and perhaps even branded bags or boxes if you have the budget. You can also go that extra mile and add nice little touches such as tissue paper, hand-written notes, eco-friendly packaging, freebies, etc.
All of this can really add to the consumer experience.
About The Author
Stuart Cooke is the Blog Editor at NI Parcels, a courier comparison service that helps businesses find the right shipping solutions for them.