Although the number of companies that operate in the online environment continues to grow steadily, fuelled by the digital revolution and the widespread access to the internet, building a successful e-commerce business is anything but easy. That’s partly due to the intense competition in the field that forces entrepreneurs to come up with new methods and strategies to stand out from the crowd, but also because of the complexities that stem from the shipping process.
From receiving customers’ orders, picking and packing the items at the warehouse, printing labels to having the parcels delivered at the customers’ address on time and in perfect condition, and managing returns, there are multiple steps and procedures that online businesses have to get right, and just as many things that can go wrong along the way. A few bad reviews from unhappy customers who haven’t received their order on time is enough to hurt your company’s reputation and make other clients doubt the quality of your services.
Therefore, the way you handle your shipping can make or break both your customer experience and your business’ chances of making it to the top. So, if you want to ensure a smooth and hassle-free shipping process, here are a few things to take into consideration.
No matter what type of items you’re selling, you have to make sure they’re packaged properly, not only for safety reasons but also for branding purposes. You’ll obviously need adequate shipping supplies to ensure parcels reach their destination undamaged and offer clients a rewarding unboxing experience.
Make a list with the necessary materials– from mailers and boxes to bubble wraps, and honeycomb wrappers– to protect your parcels during transport. Keep in mind that shipping rates vary based on various factors such as weight and size of the parcel, quantity, and shipping distance. Therefore, it’s recommendable to choose quality post boxes that are of suitable size for your items in order to prevent damage and avoid extra charges.
You can have all the best shipping supplies in the world, but the products that you have to deliver to your customers aren’t going to pack themselves. If you want your items to be packed properly, you must give clear instructions and train your employees on adequate packaging methods.
To make the process easier for your staff, you should create a standard packaging procedure that explains in great detail all the steps they have to follow, such as selecting the proper container types and sizes, using protective materials like bubble wraps, printing and attaching labels to the parcels correctly, and checking them twice before they are handed to the carrier to spot any mistake that might have sneaked in.
Preparation is key when it comes to shipping your items efficiently. Fortunately, you can anticipate many of the changes and challenges that await you, so you can get ready for them in advance. It’s a well-known fact that shipping volumes fluctuate throughout the year, with the demand increasing considerably in certain periods, such as holidays, seasonal sales, or Black Friday.
The way you manage peaks in high-demand seasons is definitory for the success of your e-commerce business. Things can quickly go south without proper planning, which often implies purchasing extra packaging materials and supplementing current staff with temporary help to ensure you don’t get overwhelmed by the large number of orders you have to process.
Part of the responsibility for ensuring fast and efficient delivery falls on your carrier’s shoulders. Therefore, choosing the right carrier plays a very crucial role in the shipping process. Different carriers will charge different rates for delivering your parcels, and obviously, the options they provide and the quality of their services can also vary widely.
It’s important to research various carriers and choose the one that best suits your shipping needs and requirements. Also, depending on your company’s shipping strategy and the volume of items you have to deliver, you might have to work with more than one carrier to fulfill your orders effectively.
We live in a digital age and that means many of the tasks and activities that were once performed manually are now being streamlined by implementing tech tools and devices. That’s also the case with shipping procedures, where the use of shipping software allows businesses to process and manage orders in real-time.
Relying on traditional methods is extremely time-consuming and inefficient, so the time has come to move away from these practices and invest in reliable shipping software. Automating shipping procedures can save you a lot of time and money, helping you prevent and eliminate human errors, and giving you greater control over the entire process.
It’s not just how fast and effectively you deliver your items that matters, but also how you handle returns. As any other e-commerce business out there, you’re bound to deal with a fair share of returns from customers, either because they change their minds or they’re unhappy with the products they’ve received.
The idea is to make the return process simple and easy for your clients. You can choose to include a return label in every parcel you send out, or provide an address and let them pay the cost of return. Regardless of the option you choose, it’s important to explain the procedure clearly to your customers.
Last but not least, you might want to consider getting insurance for the items you deliver. Even if you work out a shipping plan down to the very last detail, there’s no way of knowing what might happen to your parcels on the road or controlling all the variables that are at play.
If something unexpected were to happen that could damage your products, having insurance can offer financial protection and peace of mind. Insurance plans vary from carrier to carrier, so shop around until you find a solution that suits your needs.
As an e-commerce business, shipping items poses a series of challenges as there are numerous aspects to take into account. Taking the time to establish a foolproof shipping strategy can help you navigate these challenges effectively and smooth your company’s growth path.short url: