A recent report found that nearly 51% of Americans prefer online shopping.
By opening an ecommerce store, you can cater to this 51% and earn yourself a healthy profit in the process. That said, there are a lot of challenges associated with opening an ecommerce store.
One of the big ones is how you’re going to take care of shipping. Ecommerce owners find it difficult to find a shipping company they can rely on. They also struggle to work out how much they should pay for shipping.
This post will help you understand how you can find the right shipping carriers for your business. If the thought of shipping fills you with dread, these tips should help you achieve shipping sanity.
What Do You Need to Ship?
Before we dive into this post, you first need to think about what you want to ship. That’s because the items you’re sending will have a significant impact on the shipping decisions you need to make.
Ideally, you need to gain clarity on three things.
The first is the weight of the items you want to ship.
If you haven’t done so already, weigh some of your products to get an idea for how heavy they are. As you might know, the heavier an item is, the more expensive it’ll be to transport it.
You also want to think about how fragile the item is.
If it’s something that can break easily, you may need to invest in a shipping solution that’s designed to reduce the odds of breakage, as much as possible.
Lastly, you want to consider how fast you want the packages to arrive.
If you’re dealing with something perishable, then you’ll need to make use of ‘fast’ shipping options. You may even need to use some kind of ‘refrigerated’ shipping. Of course, such shipping options are often expensive, and this will need to be factored into your profit margins.
Don’t Forget Packaging Costs
Aside from the actual carrier costs, you’ll also need to spend money on packaging.
For instance, you’ll need to buy the actual boxes that you’re going to send your items in. To begin with, you’ll want to buy a few boxes and test them out with a small number of customers. If the packages arrive in good condition, it’s a sign that this particular brand of boxes is reliable.
Following this, you should contact the retailer and let them know you want to buy in bulk. They may then be able to provide you with a discount, which helps lower your ‘per item’ shipping cost.
You’ll also want to go through the same process for the other items associated with your packaging. This might include ‘bubble wrap’ for instance, or even ‘air cushion’ packaging.
Be sure to include all of these ‘extra’ costs when calculating the amount you should charge customers for shipping.
Things to Look out for When Choosing a Shipping Company
You’ll want to check if the shipping company offers a tracking feature. If they can provide this, you’ll be able to keep track of your shipments and get an estimate for the delivery date/time.
One of the good things about tracking is that it’ll limit the number of people that contact you, to find out where their package is. If the customer has a tracking number, they can find this information out for themselves.
It’s also important to remember that not every shipping company will be able to provide fast shipping. Thus, if you come across a shipping company that looks promising, check out their shipping times before handing over any money.
You should also check that the shipping company can meet your location requirements. If you plan on selling to customers all over the world, you need to make sure you have a shipping company that can keep up.
Some shipping companies will also have strict limits on the weight of items their willing to ship. Thus, if you plan on sending something heavy, be sure to verify whether the shipping company can handle your items.
It’s also worth noting that creative shipping solutions can help you keep your costs down.
For example, if you want to transport a large item, you could use ‘less than truckload shipping’ (LTL), instead of the traditional options.
This method allows you to take advantage of ‘spare’ space inside of a truck. Because you’re able to make use of ‘trucks’ this method can be a brilliant way to ship large, bulky items over long distances.
What Kind of Shipping Should You Offer to Customers?
One option is to provide free shipping. When you do this, you’ll need to adjust your product price, so that it takes into account the shipping fee.
The other option is to let customers choose the kind of shipping they want. For example, you can install some code on your site that allows people to see the real-time shipping fees associated with various carriers.
You can even adjust the code so that a surcharge is added to include the cost of packaging. Following this, customers can select the kind of shipping that best suits them, both in terms of price and speed.
By giving customers the option to choose the kind of shipping they want, you could help make things more affordable for them. This could then result in a boost in sales, as people choose the cheaper shipping options.
Do You Know How to Pick the Right Shipping Carriers?
If you don’t partner with the right shipping carriers, you’ll struggle to make your ecommerce store a success. But with so many companies to choose from, it’s not easy to figure out which one you should invest in.
To help reduce the odds of a shipping catastrophe, it’s crucial you take things slowly. Find a shipping carrier that looks promising and then use them to send a small number of packages. If things work out, try sending even more packages with this company.
This isn’t the fastest way to get things done, but it’s often the most sustainable method on offer when it comes to finding a carrier you can rely on.
Struggling to market your ecommerce store? Check out this post to learn how you can get the job done.