Like several others, you have taken the digital leap and spent months building and perfecting your online store. You have a foolproof marketing strategy in place and you have streamlined other essentials as well to conduct business online. You finally launch yourself online and ka-boom! You’ve successfully made your first sale hoping for many to follow… so what comes next?
A lot of new ecommerce entrepreneurs often end up neglecting their strategies for shipping and fulfilment when they launch. The chief reason behind this is the fact that the world of shipping is one that is rife with complexities not to mention, it’s a tad bit confusing as well! However, a shipping strategy that is planned to the T is crucial and is at the heart of every flourishing ecommerce venture.
This post will highlight some of the most useful and essential resources, apps and tools that will help you come up with a shipping strategy that is rock solid for your business!
Let’s get started!
The Not So Subtle Art Of Packaging
For any ecommerce venture, packaging is an important aspect that serves multiple purposes. A well packaged product not only protects materials in transit but also serves as an extension of your overall brand experience. Luckily there are several packaging options available at your disposal.
Some well-liked online packaging suppliers that you must definitely consider are:
You might want to look into some local packaging options as well. Many a time, opting for packaging options that are available to you locally can be rather cheap as you will be saving up on the shipping costs. Run a search online for packaging suppliers and box manufacturers in your vicinity.
The General Shipping Information And Options To Be Equipped With
When choosing the ideal shipping courier, there is an array of shipping options and variables that come in the picture and these will be responsible for what you finally opt for. Each of these courier services offer rates that may vary slightly in rates and the assistance that they provide.
Mentioned below is a list of shipping services from some of the most famous couriers that will give you a better understanding of their individual shipping options and utilities:
- UK Royal Mail – Tool Kit
- FedEx – Service Guide
- UPS – Service Guide
- USPS – A Customers Guide To Shipping
All About The Rates
A variety of factors are responsible behind the rates that shipping courier companies fix for themselves. This includes everything right from size and weight, departing and destination country coupled with add-ons like tracking of shipment and its insurance.
Mentioned below is a list of shipping calculators available for some well-known shipping couriers so you can find the most economical option that best caters to your business needs:
- UK Royal Mail – Shipping Calculator
- FedEx – Shipping Calculator
- UPS – Shipping Calculator
- USPS – Shipping Calculator
Behold Custom Duties And Taxes
If you are going to deal with international shipping it is very likely that your customers will be charged with customs and duties that you will be sending on their behalf. These charges will depend on a number of factors and at times can be rather confusing to figure out. In order to get an understanding of what your customers will be charges with, check the customs duty calculator. All you have to do is key in your country and also the country where the parcel is headed to, the type of product and its value. Once you do this, the calculator will let you know how much your customers are likely to pay in duties.
Having Business Accounts In Place
When it comes to shipping, business accounts can swoop in to save considerable time and money. Each courier service provides somewhat different discounts and services which make it important to know about them all and take full advantage of the ones that are most relevant to you and your business needs.
Packages, Labelling And The Likes
Just like every new business on the block, you are likely to start off with handwritten customer addresses on your packages and taking them all the way to the post office to pay for postage. As your business grows, there will come a point where it is no longer feasible to continue with this practice. Fortunately, there are several great options available when it comes to labelling your packages and paying for the resulting postage from within the comfort of your home or office.
Putting A Fulfilment Warehouse To Use
To aid the process of ecommerce order fulfilment, you can opt for the services of a fulfilment warehouse as it is a brilliant option to automate order execution and completion. If you pick a fulfilment company you can store some or all of your products at one warehouse. When orders are received, the warehouse personnel can pick up your items, pack them and ship them away to your customers. Apart from this, they can also take care of the returns on the behalf of your company.
Tracking Them Orders
As your business gradually grows and you start sending off more and more orders, one thing you will notice is that you will start getting more and more emails from your customers enquiring about the status of their shipped package. To simplify this process you can sign up for AfterShip which is available in both free and paid versions. This is an automated email customer notification application that will help you track all your shipments from Fedex, UPS, USPS and 120+ other courier services. It also displays tracking results right from the store and informs customers as soon as the shipment is in transit, out for delivery or after being delivered.