The Quick Guide to eCommerce Shipping for Beginners

ecommerce shipping

The basics of eCommerce shipping

To create an effective eCommerce shipping strategy, you need to understand the basics.

What is eCommerce shipping?

eCommerce shipping is the process of getting products to your customers once they’ve made a purchase. The delivery method you choose will determine how quickly the package arrives and how much you charge for shipping.

Why is eCommerce delivery important?

A recent study found that 62% of U.S. customers value “fast shipping speed” as the most important factor when defining a positive experience with an online retailer. An “easy delivery process” (54%) closely follows this.

5 shipping rates for eCommerce

There’s a variety of shipping rate options for you to choose from. Ideally, you’d offer your customers a few of these options so they can choose what works best for them.

1. Free shipping

A lot of eCommerce businesses offer free shipping as a way to reduce cart abandonment and increase conversions.

  • Increase product prices: This means that the customer covers shipping costs by paying extra for the product itself.
  • You pay for the shipping: You cover shipping costs out of your margins.
  • Set a minimum order amount: You offer free shipping when customers spend over a certain amount. This offsets the shipping costs by increasing your average order, but you’ll still have to pay for shipping out of your margins.

2. Real-time carrier rates

Real-time carrier rates provide customers with live shipping options and prices from various carriers. Based on their location and delivery preferences, customers can choose the delivery option that is suitable for them.

3. Flat-rate shipping

Flat-rate shipping involves offering the same shipping price no matter what the product is or how much the customer spends.

4. Expedited shipping

Expedited shipping provides customers with a quicker delivery time. It gives the customer a specific delivery date and time, so they know exactly when to expect its arrival.

5. Local delivery

Local delivery is exactly what you think it is — delivering products locally, whether that’s delivering them yourself or hiring a driver to deliver for you.

Best practices for eCommerce shipping

Now that we understand the different shipping rates, let’s look at some of the best practices for eCommerce shipping.

Offer free shipping

We’ve already touched on free shipping and the different ways you can offer this to your customer.

Display shipping costs

As we’ve already mentioned, unexpected shipping costs are one of the main reasons consumers abandon their shopping cart.

Estimate expected delivery times

People like to know when their order will be delivered, so make sure you provide them with an expected delivery date.

Provide customers with shipping updates

As well as letting them know how long their delivery will take, it’s good practice to tell your customer when their item is en route. Whether that’s via email or text, let them know it’s on its way.

Keep your products safe and secure

Although this doesn’t directly relate to shipping, it’s an important element of the shipping process that you need to consider.

How to reduce shipping costs

With so many consumers looking for low shipping costs, what can you do to make sure you keep your costs low?

Keep packaging light

The smaller the packaging, the less money you have to spend on it.

  • Choose wrapping material that’s light: Lighter packaging is less expensive than large and heavy packaging. Of course, if you have some heavy-duty items, you’ll need something sturdier. But for the smaller and less fragile items, light packaging can save you some money.
  • Choose the right size: How many times have you ordered something tiny, only for it to arrive in a giant box filled with unnecessary wrapping and bubble wrap? Take this hydrating serum, for example. It’s pretty small, so a large box would be a waste of packaging and a waste of your money. To avoid throwing money away, make sure that your packaging is the right size for your products.
  • Talk to your shipping provider: Some shipping providers offer free packaging. Carriers such as USPS, UPS, and DHL certainly do. So make sure you find out if this is something you can get hold of.

Buy bulk

A simple yet efficient way to reduce costs: buy your packaging in bulk.

Accurately measure product size and weight

To make sure you’re charging customers the right amount for shipping, measure the weight and size of your packages.

Review carrier options

There are many companies out there to choose from, so spend some time reviewing who can provide you with the best service for the best price.

Consider investments

Depending on the products you’re shipping, delivery costs will vary.

What next?

Now you have a solid understanding of how to maximize your eCommerce shipping strategy. You know the steps you can take to reduce costs and provide your customers with a better service.

About the Author

Vikas Kalwani is a product-led growth hacker and B2B Marketing Specialist skilled in SEO, Content Marketing, and Social Media Marketing. He works at uSERP and is a mentor at 500 Startups.

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