Questions You Should Ask About In-Cart Rating
  • Michael Stivers
July 20, 2023
Posted by Michael Stivers
Michael Stivers

Shipping solutions integrated with e-commerce software typically offer multi-carrier support, providing access to the shipping and service level rates available from various carriers such as UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, and more. These solutions can provide shipping rate data you can use as part of the shopping cart checkout process. In e-commerce, this is often called “in-cart rating.”

But when your online customer is ready to purchase your product, the final speed bump in the checkout process is how you present your delivery commitment and cost to your customer. The way you make this in-cart delivery commitment can lead to a purchase, or to an abandoned shopping cart. To offer the best options and experiences, you need to integrate a dynamic best-in-class shipping solution with your e-commerce, warehousing, and ERP systems. 

Ask These Questions to Select the Best Shipping Solution

To select the best shipping solution for your business, what kind of questions about in-cart rating should you consider?

  • Do you want to use flat/static rates, rates identified based on your previously used shipment practices? If only using flat rates, you could be losing money or not providing competitive shipping rates if you are not checking the rates in real time.
  • Can your shipping solution dynamically check with the carriers for the best rates in real-time? Do you want to use these real-time rates, rates based on immediate data from the various carriers you’re using?
  • Do you want to choose between using flat rates and real-time rates, depending on the customer and business context? For example, do you have a VIP customer who has special rates that you only want to offer them?
  • Do you have situations where your business needs to mark up or mark down rates automatically, depending on the business context, such as the type of product, a promotion, shopping season, or customer location?
  • Before displaying the in-cart rates, are you identifying the most effective shipping mode (Parcel or LTL) and service level options (Overnight, Two Day, and so on),  to make sure you are using the best possible rates?
  • Can you easily configure and fine-tune rules for automatically managing the rates you offer?  For example:
    • Can you manage rates based on the carrier, service, warehouse, packing material? 
    • Can you adjust rates by some amount, percentage, or rounding? 
    • Can you offer free shipping for specific SKUs or product categories/sub-categories?
    • Can you offer free shipping if using the carrier with the cheapest rate?
  • Before displaying the in-cart rates, are you doing packing optimization to make sure you are finding the best possible rates for the packages being shipped?
  • Before displaying the in-cart rates, are you identifying the most effective shipping mode (Parcel or LTL) and service level options (Overnight, Two Day, and so on),  to make sure you are using the best possible rates?
  • Before making a delivery commitment, do you want to check your inventory and product availability at different warehouse locations to make sure you can complete the delivery as expected?
  • Will your shipping solution be fully connected to all the other related systems (e-commerce, warehousing, ERP) to make sure you can fulfill delivery expectations?
  • Will special instructions or additional information requested by your customer upon checkout be fully conveyed throughout the shipping process to make sure the items are delivered successfully, such as information about accessorials (e.g., white glove or liftgate delivery)  or details about the exact delivery location?
  • Will all information about the delivery commitment (carrier, mode, service, and so on) be fully conveyed throughout the warehousing and shipping process to assure optimal fulfillment?
  • Is the in-cart rating part of a full and complete solution, one that can provide a fully integrated warehouse management system (WMS) and shipping solution that can streamline and automate your fulfillment process?

Learn More

These are some of the questions that you should consider when looking for not just any shipping solution, but a best-in-class solution that will help you reduce your shipping costs while providing an outstanding customer experience. To learn more, contact us today. 

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