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How to Choose The Right Shipping Partner & Strategy for Your Online Store
There are certain factors which determine the success of an E-commerce business. Apart from the quality of products an online store is offering and the amount of advertising it is doing, a significant aspect that wins customers is the ‘Shipping’ of the products. In an e-commerce business, the customer is virtually dealing with the seller. He chooses the product online and buys the same only through a few clicks. In spite of the effortless process, the customer is satisfied only when the product reaches him physically.
It is not enough that the product reaches the customer, but it should be in its best condition and must reach the customer at the earliest. This is one of the things an online buyer is concerned about. If there is anything a buyer cares about after the quality and cost of the product, it’s the shipping of the product. Therefore, to provide a great shopping experience to its buyers and grow its business, an ecommerce business must focus on the shipping strategy of the firm.
Attributes of An Ideal Shipping Partner
To follow a seamless shipping strategy, you will require the right shipping partner. Here are some aspects of a shipping partner that should help you determine the right partner for you.
1. Service and Accountability
The first and foremost thing to look at is the category of service your carrier partner is offering. When a shipping company is tying up with an e-commerce business, they should be very transparent about the time period they need to deliver the parcel(s).’Today’ shouldn’t be ‘or tomorrow’ in any case. In the competitive ecommerce market, you must be at a position to inform your buyer at every step about the whereabouts of their product and the exact day and time when the shipment is reaching the buyer. You can only do so when your carrier company is accountable to you at every step. As a thumbrule go ahead with the leading courier and shipping companies in your country. For example for US it might be FedEx or UPS, for UK it might be Royal Mail, for Australia it might be Australia Post or Star Track Shipping.
2. Delivery Rates
For any business, it holds very crucial to manage cost. While tying up with a carrier partner, you must compare the rates with the industry standards. Since the shipping industry is full of unpredicted liabilities and accidents, your business should be fully equipped with the knowledge of insurance regarding the products you trust your shipping partner with. All the extra charges and surcharges should also be made clear beforehand to avoid any conflicts later. To ensure that all your shipping rates are updated live on your online store, you might consider using your shipping partner’s API to display live rates. For example Australia Post Shipping provides live rates for its freight charges through its API.
The success of an e-commerce business is as vast as the area it covers. The more geographical corners you can touch the more you grow. This factor is also to be considered while choosing a shipping partner. The company should be transparent about the areas they cover and the quality of service they provide in certain areas. Whether they function only locally, inter-state, or international, is surely a concern for your business. Compare the service days various service providers are offering and go for the most promising one.
It’s very important for a shipping company to be flexible with its services. Since the work is to move shipments beyond boundaries, there are bound to be uncertain occurrences which might delay the delivery. It’s the responsiveness of the carrier company that matters then. Do question whether they have other options, like to send it through other services so that your customer is not kept waiting.
5. Updated Technology
Nothing sells without technology today. Since the very base of your business is technology, the partners who are facilitating the growth of your business to a considerable level, should also be technologically updated. Your shipping partner must have up to date shipping technologies and an ability to integrate with other companies to complete the task in case their services are interrupted for some reason.
Effective Shipping Strategy
Shipping is an undoubtedly a critical aspect for your ecommerce business. It directly influences customers’ experiences and therefore makes or breaks the reputation of your business. Therefore, it becomes really important to adopt a proper shipping strategy for your online store. Here are some crucial points to keep in mind to enhance your store’s sales through an effective shipping strategy:
1. Free Shipping
When it comes to online shopping, additional shipping costs were found to be the primary reason for abandonment of shopping carts. Free shipping definitely acts as a consumer driver. If providing free shipping is keeping your sales at loss, you can try distributing the shipping costs evenly among the products. The buyer won’t feel the burden of that ‘extra cost’ then. It hence enhances your sales without affecting your revenue accounts.
2. Cash on Delivery
Cash on delivery of a product is the most popular thing about e-commerce businesses these days. People love to shop when they are certain that they are not spending a penny before they get to hold their product. You will need to tie up with your carrier partner for this service but it’s definitely worth it. Most people are now looking for Cash on delivery as one of the factors while buying any product online. If your carrier partner is an expert at this, there is less at stake and a lot to win back.
3. Same or Specific Day Shipping
Now when the seller is alluring customers with new and different facilities, one of the latest’ happens to be same day delivery. Now a customer doesn’t have to wait for days to receive their product. This surely makes online shopping experience better for them. You can charge some extra bucks for that but demand transparency from your carrier partner about the places/ cities where they can provide these services hassle free. You can also provide specific day delivery to lure customers who might want to gift to their acquaintances on special days.
Shipping is an integral part of any e-commerce business that deals in selling of physical products. It might break or make your company’s branding. A customer will stay and come back when they know that their products will be delivered in its best form. One messed up transaction might lead your business to lose that customer forever. A well formed shipping strategy does not only satisfy your existing customers but helps in boosting your sales to a significant level.
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