In our past posts, we’ve discussed critical steps that small business owners can take to successfully launch eCommerce sites. Once you have created your eCommerce plan and determined which eCommerce platform works best for you, it’s time to consider shipping and fulfillment. There are different methods for shipping and fulfillment, but whichever route you take, it’s important that you deliver quickly and on schedule while still making a profit.
In this guide, we’ll break down shipping and fulfillment, giving you a great place to start.
Choose Your Packaging
One of the first things that you will need to do is determine which type of packaging to use for your product. Once your product leaves either your store or your manufacturer, you have little control over what goes on. Thus, it’s important that you invest in sturdy and supportive packaging to prevent wear and tear along the way, especially if your product is fragile.
Here are a few of the top suppliers:
Paper Mart is a great full-service option to consider. They provide high-quality packaging at affordable prices, specializing in packaging for retail, food and industrial items. Check out their online store to see the wide variety of options that they provide.
Pregis offers innovative packaging and protective solutions. Their packaging is durable and guaranteed to keep your product safe and secure during transit. They also provide a variety of industry-specific solutions. If your product is fragile, they could be a great option to consider.
If you are expecting to ship a high volume of goods, eSupplyStore could be a great option for you. They offer great discounts that can help you save when shipping larger volumes. They are guaranteed to ship quickly and offer same-day shipping.
Determine Your Shipping Method
Once you have selected your packaging, take some time to consider the right shipping method. According to Baymard Institute, 70% of consumers “abandon their shopping carts online” after analyzing the pros and cons. Since shipping is one of the factors that you can control, make sure to provide options that will appeal to your customers.
It’s important to find a balance between shipping cost and delivery time to ensure that you make a profit while providing your customers with a high level of convenience. ZhenHub provides an excellent guide that outlines differences among various shipping methods that can help you make this important decision.
Determine What to Charge for Shipping
Once you determine your shipping method, you need to consider what to charge your customers for shipping. Many vendors who ship a high volume of orders offer free shipping. Free shipping often leads to more sales, so depending on the price of your product and the cost of shipping, determine if this would be a profitable option for you.
If you feel as though this is not the right solution for you, you can consider charging what you get charged for shipping. If you decide to take this route, make sure that your customers know that you are being completely transparent about the shipping price. Many small businesses even add a “shipping calculator” to their site, which adds a greater level of credibility and makes your customers feel as though your shipping fee is fair.
Set Up an Account on Your Carrier’s Website
You should take some time early in the process to set up an account on your shipping carrier’s website. Even if you are not ready to launch your eCommerce site, doing this ahead of time may allow you to gain loyalty status, which provides various perks, such as faster service and often cheaper shipping rates.
Once you’ve gone through each of the steps above, you will be in a great place to launch your eCommerce site.