In eCommerce, customer experience plays a vital role that can help build a brand by improving customer loyalty. Delivering the product to the customer marks the end of the order journey with the fulfillment of the order.
Shipping plays a vital role in the order fulfillment of the eCommerce businesses. Here, in this article, I have covered everything you need to know about Shipping Carriers for your eCommerce business.
What is a Shipping Carrier in eCommerce?
Shipping is an important part of any eCommerce business that delivers the product to the customers and completes the last stage of order fulfillment. Your audience base expands significantly when you are selling online and you may receive orders from customers sitting thousands of miles away from your warehouse.
In such cases, you may find it difficult to deliver your orders to the end customers. Shipping carriers are the service-provides that can help you deliver orders to the customers. It acts as a postman between the customer and the eCommerce merchant that facilitates order delivery.
It delivers the order to the end customer from the warehouse through road, air, or marine transport. Shipping carriers usually have a wide network of locations with numerous active vehicles running between those locations, making the order delivery faster and more sustainable.
A good shipping carrier can help the businesses deliver the order conveniently to the customers. It also facilitates the customers to track their orders in real-time through carrier trackers. Providing such a facility to the customers that are eagerly waiting for their orders can improve the customer experience with the online store and help enhance brand image.
In a survey conducted by OptimoRoute, 87.4% of the participants answered that a real-time order tracking facility makes their buying experience more enjoyable.
How to Choose the Best Shipping Carrier for eCommerce?
If you are running an online business, it can be a challenging task to choose the best shipping carrier for your business with plenty of local and international shipping carriers already available.
Choosing the perfect shipping carrier for your eCommerce business can help to excel at providing a satisfactory shopping experience to the customers. United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, UPS, and DHL are some of the well-known shipping carries in the USA that you might consider for your eCommerce store.
Google trends show that the volume of internet queries on “USPS tracking” is more than that of any other shipping carrier in the US. It simply implies that more people are tracking their orders on USPS, making it the most popular shipping carrier in the US.
There are a number of factors to consider while choosing the right shipping partner for your online business, budget and service coverage being the top ones.
Choosing the Best Shipping Carrier for eCommerce – 8 Factors to Consider
Right shipping carrier for your eCommerce store can help you enhance the order delivery experience of your store. Here are some of the important factors that you must consider while choosing the best shipping carrier for your eCommerce store.
1. Service Coverage
Shipping service coverage is the top thing to consider while choosing the right shipping carrier for your eCommerce business. This is the point where you may require to figure out the possible locations where you’d require to ship your products based on your target audience.
For an instance, if you are thinking about selling your products globally, you may require to opt for an international shipping carrier, whereas you may go with a local shipping carrier if you are about to sell products locally. Make sure that the shipping carrier you are choosing provides services in the locations that you are about to sell.
2. Brand Reputation
Delayed delivery or lost product can hit you hard in terms of bad customer experience to the customers. Going for a cheap alternative to the reputed shipping carriers can end up in such instances. In order to avoid that, it is highly important to perform a background check of the shipping carrier that you are choosing.
Rather than relying merely on statistical figures, you can look up the customers’ reviews on various online platforms to canvas a clear idea about the brand reputation of the shipping carrier. You can also go deep and research the customer satisfaction of a particular shipping carrier in a particular location through Google Maps.
3. Shipping Charges
Shipping charges can be a profit-loss deciding factor when you are offering free delivery on your eCommerce site. In such cases, a high shipping charge can eat away your profits and can end up the order into a non-profitable deal.
Apart from choosing the shipping carrier with the optimum rates, it is crucial to make sure that the orders are going to be in safe hands. Make sure to choose the shipping carrier that fulfills your service coverage requirements, has a good reputation, and makes the most sense to you in terms of pricing.
4. Latest Technology
One thing to look for while choosing the best shipping carrier for your online store is the technology and features. In this fast-paced world, the customers want to get their order delivered in no time while keeping track of the latest events of their shipment delivery.
Nowadays, many shipping carriers provide a real-time order tracking facility that allows the customers to keep track of each and every event about the order delivery. It is crucial to make sure that the shipping carrier makes use of the latest APIs to integrate the order tracking facility with your online store.
5. Shipping Policy
Shipping policy is one of the most important things to consider while choosing a shipping carrier for eCommerce, however, it is often overlooked by a majority of businesses. Go through the shipping policy of the carrier that you are choosing to make sure that it complies with that of your online store.
It may define important aspects of the shipping such as cost, rates, restricted locations, missing packages, order returns, and much more. It will help you determine if the shipping carrier is the right choice for you or not.
6. Guaranteed Delivery
Most of the shipping carriers provide an estimated date of delivery, which is usually subject to change. Choosing a shipping carrier that offers guaranteed delivery of the order to the customer can help ensure shipment fulfillment and reduce the chances of inconvenience.
Generally, the guaranteed delivery providers cost higher than the regular shipping carriers. However, it is worth the high cost associated with it as it helps enhance the customer experience and improves their loyalty. It is highly advisable to go for guaranteed delivery or overnight delivery for expensive products that have high-profit margins.
7. Shipping Insurance
You can not overlook the possibilities of adverse events such as product damage or loss when you are sending it through third-party shipping. Such an instance would turn into a disaster when you are selling expensive items such as jewelry, laptops, mobile phones.
Therefore, it is wise to have shipping insurance of the products to claim losses in case of any such instances. Most of the shipping carriers provide standard shipping insurance with their services with limited coverage. In case you are into the business of selling expensive stuff, you may require to opt for add-on insurance.
8. Other Things to Consider
Provided above are some of the most crucial points to consider while choosing the perfect eCommerce shipping carrier. However, there are some other things to consider as well during the comparison part.
Provided below are some other points to consider while choosing the best eCommerce shipping carrier:
Global warming and other consequences of non-eco-friendly practices have created awareness about the importance of eco-friendly and sustainable solutions.
Shipping sustainability is also one of the things to consider while choosing the right shipping carrier for your eCommerce store as more and more brands are moving towards becoming a member of eco-friendly solutions.
Another thing to look for while choosing an eCommerce shipping carrier is the facility of contact-less delivery. It became essential during the peak times of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Packaging for Fragile Items
If you are selling fragile items, you may require to opt for a shipping carrier that packs and handles them with extra care. UPS provides extra facilities to the eCommerce store to pack fragile items in a more secure manner with the right type of packaging materials to ensure safe and damage-proof delivery.
Ways to Cut Down the Shipping Costs for Your eCommerce Business
In eCommerce businesses, the shipping costs can sometimes eat away your profits with the high hidden charges. If you are running an online business, here are some tips to reduce shipping costs.
1. Move Closer to Your Customers
A large shipping distance can cost high shipping costs. If you are getting a considerable amount of sales from a particular region that is located far away from your warehouse, it is advisable to transfer your warehouse to that particular area or build another small storage house to cater fulfill orders from that area in a more efficient manner.
Implementation of multiple warehouses spread across a wide geographical location can also allow you to offer faster deliveries and therefore can improve customer satisfaction.
2. Light-Weight Packaging
Generally, most shipping carrier charges the shipping cost based on the weight of the package. Therefore, it is highly advisable to reduce the weight of the package through lightweight packaging. In case the carrier is charging the shipping cost on the basis of dimensions, you can replace boxes with polythene packages for cost-efficient delivery.
3. Third-Party Shipping Insurance
Most shipping carriers provide shipping insurance with their service that might be adding to the shipping cost. Generally, these insurance providers are tied up with the shipping carrier and may cost you a bit higher than others.
You can reduce the shipping cost by opting out of the insurance provided by the shipping carrier. In case you are selling highly expensive items and still require insurance, you can opt for third-party shipping insurance.
4. Go with Discounts
Generally, the shipping carriers provide discount rates based on the shipping volume. You may consider approaching your preferred shipping carrier and negotiating the shipping rates based on the volume of shipments that you’ll be processing through it.
5. Prepaid Shipping
If you are planning big, and about to sell a guaranteed number of items online, you can save a part of your shipping cost by going prepaid. The majority of the shipping carriers provide discounts up to 20% on prepaid purchases of a certain amount of shipping labels.
The choice of the eCommerce shipping carrier depends on your overall requirements, budget, and other factors. Plenty of shipping carriers are available to choose from, USPS, FedEx, and UPS being the leading ones.
Online business owners may find it difficult to choose the perfect shipping carrier for their store while juggling between the cost and the facilities. There are some proven ways to cut down the shipping costs for eCommerce.
However, one should note that customer satisfaction is a valuable asset and one should not compromise with it while opting for a cheap shipping carrier.