eCommerce Shipping Solutions
As the field of eCommerce expands, one thing has crystallized: shipping is important. Survey after survey recounts how crucial shipping is for customer retention and brand loyalty, not to mention one of the top reasons for slipping in said metrics when ship time and/or price are found to be less than desirable. And yet, shipping also seems to be one of the most underserved, or, in keeping with the language of e-commerce, undisrupted industries. There are thousands of brand consultants and advertising or public relations firms to help with a company’s image, manufacturing experts for physical product details and design, warehousers for storage, and so on. But when it comes to the necessary step of getting the item to the consumer, companies are often left feeling that they must fend for themselves. This is where eCommerce Shipping Solutions can help maximize your business strategies.
Shipping is a notoriously difficult arena in which to attempt to fend for oneself. There are a seemingly exponential set of factors to consider, from mail or package class to delivery speed to tracking to distance, weight, packaging materials--the list goes on and on. Hidden or unclear surcharges and accessorial--along with the growing consumer expectation that this shipping be free, fast, or both--can often push shipping margins far into the red, leading to an inevitable loss in profit. A common strategy of taking these losses from marketing budgets as a form of customer acquisition cost can obfuscate just how much money a company is losing on any given shipment.
There are, thankfully, a growing set of solutions available for eCommerce shippers! In considering solutions, however, it’s a good idea to begin by taking a look at your business’ general and specific needs. How much money are you spending on shipping, and where is it coming from? Are you passing full or partial shipping costs on to your customer, either directly or indirectly? Do you use shipping to incentivize higher purchase amounts? Once these and other more general questions are resolved, it’s time to look at your company’s shipping data. Are a fair percentage of your shipments to nearby customers? Hyper-localized delivery services might make more sense than a web-based shipping platform that pairs you with a major carrier. And are another high amount of shipments regularly going across the country? Partnering with a 3PL that specializes in shipping to your geographic areas might be the best strategy for routine long-distance deliveries.
Finally, there are many web-based software solutions to help once these easier-to-identify areas are assessed. As many small, independent merchants know, it’s difficult to answer the most basic shipping question without such software: Are you able to give accurate, real-time price predictions of ship time and cost to both yourself and your customer? Given the constant flux in carrier times and prices, these tools are invaluable. Beyond that, these platforms can also help recommend packaging strategies to avoid dim-weight overcharges--as well as environmental waste--offer discounts with major carriers usually only available to high-volume shippers, streamline inventory procedures, and more.
To learn more about eCommerce Shipping Solutions, schedule a call today!