The client orders and pays online, after which you send the product to them. Easy, right?
The truth is that e-commerce shipping fulfillment is a bit more of a complex endeavor than that. Rather, modern e-commerce shipping is about creating a well-maintained experience for clients to receive their products while you profit.
Many people claim to have e-commerce fulfillment down to a science, but you may not be there yet. If you’re unsure about how to execute e-commerce shipping properly, here are the things you need to pay attention to:
Premium Packaging Boosts Customer Loyalty
Your packaging has to look good, no matter how well you pick-and-pack an order and bundle it up. That’s because recent surveys have shown that the branded packaging that encases the order plays a big part in inspiring customers to buy more from the same retailer. Premium packaging—slightly more expensive packaging that you design with a custom logo, slogan, and make using environmentally friendly materials—is often worth the investment. Also keep in mind that with social media and even m-commerce becoming so prevalent with younger buyers, people are looking for the images and logos they see on boxes, online, etc.
It might sound trivial, but what you put your materials into is important. Modern e-commerce clients know what kind of container they like to receive: a top-opening, corrugated cardboard box with a branding of the company on the side so they know who sent it.
Unwrapping a package is an enjoyable sensation that your business should attempt to recreate every time. Some securely wrapped tissue paper is often good enough, but customizing the packaging based on each product being shipped can help client satisfaction.
Keep Your Packaging Small
It’s good to keep packages small and light. This will not only help you compact your products and enable you to ship more, but it will above all, keep shipping costs down (more on that later).
Once again, make sure your package and wrapping has got your company’s name on it. If it’s well packaged and contains the product the clients ordered in mint condition, you can bet they’ll remember this quality when needing to place their next order.
It’s also good to make sure that your labels are built to withstand any particular weather conditions the product might be traveling through, has the product information on it, and follows its destination’s laws (what ingredients the product is composed of, the product’s class, etc.). Check with your local mailing services and related government departments to get this information.
Different Shipping Options
Shipping your products out isn’t just a one-size-fits-all situation; you have a lot of options. It’s important to consider all of them and incorporate the necessary ones into your shipping fulfillment services.
Free Shipping Options
Whether they are right or wrong to do so, a lot of consumers have come to expect free shipping for their order. According to recent statistics, many will choose retailers that offer free shipping over ones that charge for it; it’s just the way that it is. But don’t dismay, as these same statistics also say that clients are also prepared to wait that extra day to receive their items and will reuse a service if you pay the shipping, especially if it’s being shipped in your local area.
Real-Time Carrier Rates
Another interesting option you can apply is the real-time carrier calculation rate from whatever service you use for shipping. Once you register your account with your shipping carrier, they should provide you with an account and interface that allows you to access the carrier calculator and embed it in the order page on your web site. This allows both you and your customers the ability to see shipping rates as orders are being placed.
This is one of the simpler shipping options. Flat rates are charged by distance; you can use a flat rate calculator to determine shipping prices to specific locations. Digital flat rate calculators are also updated with changing shipping rates regularly to ensure that you always charge the right amount.
Shipping Information and Choices
Calculating Shipping Rates
A lot of factors determine shipping rates, including package sizes, weight, added insurance, distance, and any tracking services offered. Again, its best to get a digital shipping calculator to help you determine what fees will exist while also doing your homework to see what services are the most popular, are the lowest priced, and which will be the fastest. Shop around to get the best ones and see which services can help you ship to yield a profit in the end.
3. Product Insurance and Tracking
You want to offer your clients peace of mind and deliver based on the guarantee that you send your products as best you can. Offering product insurance and tracking mechanisms is one way to do just that. With large or specialty items, you’ll want to have insurance included with prices. In addition, things can happen to products in transit, and having insurance and tracking ensures that you can fix these problems when they happen.
If you don’t have insurance or tracking in place, make sure whatever courier or delivery agency you use does and that you can integrate those services into your client relations; for example, ensuring customers receive a tracking number and know which web site to visit to check the status of their package.
4. Custom Declaration and Forms
Moving products across international borders is no easy affair, even at the best of times. Make sure you fill out and submit any necessary documents when shipping internationally.
If you can’t get this information easily through government offices, check with your local mailing services. Being government agencies, they keep up-to-date on this information and can provide you with the necessary postage and shipping tools to help you continue to ship internationally without hassle. It’s also wise to inform international clients that they may have to wait a bit longer to receive their products due to customs delays.
5. Warehousing and Fulfillment
With so many products moving around the world, you can bet you’ll need a place for them to stay when not in motion. That’s where warehousing comes in.
Your warehouse’s location can vary from a large storage unit near the shipping docks to a storage locker elsewhere. Either way, make sure that you get one with the right amount of space needed to store your products and that they are kept under the right conditions, such as the correct temperature.
But finding the right warehousing fulfillment will require you to do a bit of research. Some locations offer big commercial units with all kinds of internal security, temperature controls, and service staff available 24/7, while others have fulfillment services built right into them, meaning they can take some of your orders or receive them from your fulfillment house, then do the packaging and distribution for you.
With digital technology making the world a smaller place and the subsequent more accessible services available, there are more viable options for you take advantage of, no matter how remote your location is. You just need to set up the right online services or even social media widgets that allow for the instant placement of orders.
E-commerce shipping, handling, and fulfillment might seem complex, especially with all the specifics of how you package, label, and store your shipped products. However, it’s not complex so much as it is multifaceted, and it features internal options for both you and your clients to take advantage of.
From the minute that new order comes in, you can make that product something special to those who receive it. With the current prevalence of e-commerce, adding some creativity and quality services to your professional palette will keep your clients keen on your business.
Need solutions to your product fulfillment problems? APS Fulfillment, Inc. has the knowledge and services to make your direct mail and product fulfillment ventures more successful. Contact APS Fulfillment, Inc. by e-mail at [email protected], visit their web site at www.apsfulfillment.com, or phone at (954) 582-7450.