Shipping is the most critical and vital part of any online eCommerce store. The shipping methods that you would employ in your eCommerce store can directly affect the sales and revenue of your business. Because the world is moving at a fast pace and no one likes the slow shipping option. However, if you have implemented the shipping methods in the most efficient way, then your store would be in the direction of success.
Also, offering multiple methods of shipping may reduce the cart abandonment rate for your store. One study by Baymard found that 50% of the US adult would abandon the carts because of the too high extra cost that consist of charges for shipping and taxes as well. So, you should consider offering free shipping along with other chargeable shipping options. But there are a few best practices that you should follow to have a successful shipping operation.
With strong and effective shipping practices in place, you can enhance the shopping experience of your customers in a more positive way. Therefore, we have come up with the best shipping practices listed below that you should follow.
Build the Right Team
Your shipping team is part of your organization even though they work as independent organizations. Treat them like partners as they ensure that your customers have pleasant shipping experience.
If your eCommerce business is big enough, you should form separate teams that can take care of your marketing strategies, shipping and order fulfillment, and customer service. Doing so will ensure that your customers are taken care of with the best shipping and order fulfillment practices.
Also, having an effective customer service team that can manage all the queries is absolutely necessary. Because they will be the first ones contacted after someone makes a purchase. So, having the right team to take care of the right things is one best practice you could adopt for a smooth process.
Set Your Shipping Goals
After establishing the right team for the right work, it’s now time to set up the right goal for your shipping strategies. You need to set up goals that will define what you want to achieve as an eCommerce business by employing shipping methods.
The most common goals, any eCommerce business would have, are to increase the conversion rate, to increase the order value, decrease shipping costs, improve shipping operation efficiency, and expand your market by targeting more audience.
To increase your conversion rate, you can A/B test various shipping methods offering in a promotional way to see which works best for your store. If your goal is to increase your average order value, then you can implement offers and deals or promotional free shipping after purchasing above the threshold value. Similarly, you can take other measures that will help you to meet your goals.
Choose the Right Shipping Solutions
Choosing the right kind of shipping method or solutions depends upon three factors product size and weight, the destination of the shipment, available shipping options.
If you have products with different sizes and weights, then it would be best to offer a shipping method like a live shipping rate that gives exact shipping rates from the carriers themselves. But make sure that the weights and dimensions of the products are as accurate as possible to get the accurate shipping charges from carriers.
If your products are uniform in size and weight, then shipping charges should vary based on the location of the delivery. For shipping products in domestic places, it is best to implement a flat rate, table rate, or free shipping method. If your eCommerce store is located in one place only, then you can increase the charges of the shipping as you radiate out from that location to ship products.
The top eCommerce shipping options that you can offer are in-store pickup, next day delivery, and free shipping. You may also, find delivery partners in your city who can deliver the package on the same day at a low or competitive rate than the big carriers would. If your customers are the ones who buy big items or need B2B shipments more frequently, then LTL (Less than Truck Load) freight service is necessary to fulfill orders.
Choose One of the Chargeable Shipping Options
There two methods you can use to decide the shipping charges. One is flat rate shipping and another is table rate shipping options. Let’s look at each one.
Flat Rate Shipping
Flat rate shipping is a single rate applied to the product regardless of its weight, or size. It means that you ship a product at the same shipping charge. You can either use a tool or most eCommerce platforms like Magento support have in-built flat rate shipping customization options.
When you have applied flat rate or fixed rate shipping, it gives your customers clarity about how much they have to pay for shipping. Also, no surcharges added later so that your customers won’t get surprised during check out. However, you can set the shipping total to cover the packaging cost.
Table Rate Shipping
Table rate shipping provides options to customize the shipping charges of an order based on various factors. Factors such as delivery destination, product weight, size, and the number of items in an order are considered to calculate the shipping charges. Thus, it is exactly the opposite of the flat rate shipping method.
Implement Promotional Shipping Methods
You can implement free shipping not only as an order fulfillment option but also as a promotional shipping method. For 88% of the customers, free shipping with 5-7 days delivery is a more prominent option than to pay for 1-2 days express delivery. Moreover, 3 out of 5 customers have increased their spending to qualify for fast delivery.
This implies that the free shipping option can bring more sales and revenue. But it may not be able to cover for the profit margins you lost during order delivery. However, you can implement certain options that allow you to cover charges and maintain profit margins as well. One thing you can do is set up a minimum threshold amount to be eligible for free shipping. You can also add a surcharge amount for packaging and others. Or you can increase the prices of certain products eligible for free shipping.
Well, whatever you do, the main goal of free shipping is to increase the sales and revenue of your eCommerce store. So, be sure to in your shipping policies that do not affect your goals. Layout the shipping policies and put them on your homepage. Also, mention return policies, time taken during transit, your shipping partner if possible, in your shipping policies.
Offer Mixed and Alternate Shipping Options
Flat rate, table rate, or free shipping method are more popular and generally used by many eCommerce store owners. However, you can offer mixed or alternate options for each shipping method. This approach of yours may prove to be the most effective one that can balance the revenue needs of your eCommerce business.
You can offer free shipping with no delivery commitment or range of commitment between 5-10 days along with express shipping options with the same day or next day commitment with a certain amount. You can try to come up with a few options that would work best or choose from the below alternatives.
- Standard shipping with expedited shipping
- Standard shipping with in-store pickup and also same-day delivery
- Standard shipping with free shipping and also expedited shipping
- Standard shipping with LTL freight
In conclusion, I want to say that shipping and order fulfillment services are definitely a challenge for any eCommerce business. However, by implementing the best shipping practices in your eCommerce store, you can increase sales in a more efficient way possible.
With the above-mentioned best practices, we believe that you will be able to fight the obstacles between you and your success. If you are still confused about anything, then consult an eCommerce expert. An expert will help you to lay out the best plans for eCommerce shipping that will allow your eCommerce store to be on the path of success.