Here's What a Shipping Guide Should Ask of You
Just like their subject, shipping guides can be rather complex and confusing. Shipping, which has become a top priority for customers and businesses alike, remains consistently complex. From hidden charges and contract negotiations to packaging concerns, shipping is hard to get a handle on, let alone to figure out a way to do it quickly and free, as all consumers want. This short shipping guide presents some of the most basic concerns every eCommerce business must consider, while more in-depth information about given topics can be found elsewhere.
To begin with, what is your shipping process? Do you fulfill orders daily, or bi-/tri-weekly? If fulfillment is its own branch of your business, is it in constant (automated) communication with other arms of your company? If your shipping needs vary dramatically due to seasonal shifts, how does your shipping process compensate?
Once the basics have been nailed down, it’s time to create a concise shipping policy that’s as clear to you as it is to your customer. Consider questions like:
- How much does shipping cost, how fast is it, and who pays? Though these questions may seem entirely basic, they can be surprisingly difficult to answer.
- Have you built the price of shipping into your products such that all shipping is free and fast, or have you allocated marketing funds to cover shipping costs, allowing that such expenditures are part of the CAC (customer acquisition cost), as many companies do?
- What carrier(s) do you use, and do you and/or your customer have access to quotes from them in real time?
- Do you have a process in place that updates customers as to the status of their orders, most likely offering tracking and delivery options?
- In the case of returns, do you have this whole process considered and ready in reverse?
Though it might sound simplistic to say, your shipping policies should make the most sense for your particular business. For example, you might sell oversized but inexpensive items, making free shipping impossible due to profit loss. Consider a different strategy such as free shipping past a certain cost threshold; in other words, your shipping policy should strive to help your business grow and thrive, not hamstring it with growing losses.
When dealing with any kind of shipping in volume, the need for shipping software becomes inevitable. As can be seen from the very few and basic questions listed here, shipping is too complex and confusing to attempt to do without at least some automation in place. Whether you’re considering using a software direct from your primary carrier, or are looking into a third-party option, all shipping guides eventually point you towards the time, energy and money saved by shipping software, along with added benefits unique to different vendors’ offerings.
Want to learn more about shipping best practices? Reach out to a shipping expert today!