All About eCommerce Shipping [Infographic]
Shipping is one of those many things that can make or break your business. Giving a poor shipping and unboxing experience can make you loose a customer. If you don’t plan out your shipping strategy, you can end up completely unprofitable.
Packaging and Marketing
Don’t Skip Out on the Marketing
Packaging is a huge part of the overall shipping, packaging and unboxing experience. You may not think that shipping needs to follow your brand or that shipping and marketing don’t go hand-in-hand. However, that is completely inaccurate. If you have a great shipping and unboxing experience that’s worth customers sharing with the world, you will get the most profit out of it. Unboxing videos are huge on social media right now and you want to be able to exceed your customer’s expectations and impress them.
Incorporating your brand into your packaging and really giving it some thought will go a long way in making an impression. Some of the most successful brands are the ones that take real thought into their shipping and packaging experiences. Ask yourself how you can use your brand and incorporate it into your packaging in a creative way. “Regardless of what your products are, if they’re tangible, you should consider how unboxing videos might play a role for your brand. Food and drink, fashion and style, and mobile phone unboxing videos have seen 42%, 90%, and 200% growth in popularity, respectively. (2014)“
Packaging Elements that Shine
A box doesn’t have to be plain and boring. Try thinking of ways to make the box that your product comes in creative and show your brand.
Wrapping your products in tissue paper is a nice touch to make sure your product is safe in the shipping process. Try getting custom tissue paper with a design or logo on it for an extra level of excitement in the unboxing process.
Bubble wrap, foam inserts, and packing peanuts are traditional fillers. If you don’t think the traditional fillers fit with your brand, try using colored crinkled paper or even shredded fills such as wood wool, shredded tissue paper, or natural excelsior.
A branded sticker may seem too “easy” or “simple” of an idea, but a simple idea like this goes a long way and it’s quite versatile.
Promotional Material/Business Card
Adding a business card to your package doesn’t just have to be a plain old business card. Include a promotional card or discount card with your business information on it.
Receipts are definitely common and needed in every single package you send. Just because it’s standard, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to look good. Try giving the receipt a design makeover that screams your brand. It may not be something you’ll want to spend time and energy on because not everyone keeps receipts, but the effort will still go a long way.
Check out these extremely creative, highly branded packaging examples!
General Shipping Options
Before you even consider shipping, you need to make sure that your packaging strategy allows for safe transport. There are a few options for packing, including the most common, boxes or padded/unpadded envelopes.
All shipping couriers base shipping rates on a variety of factors including:
- Package Size
- Package Weight
- Departing Country
- Destination Country
Shipping Destinations is just as crucial to consider as the product dimensions and weight. In domestic shipping, a flat rate or free shipping option works well. A good idea is to set shipping rates based on zones.
Charging too much for shipping means more likely of a chance of losing a customer but charging too little means you are losing money. You need to find the perfect balance for both your customers and your business. These are the things you need to consider when working with your own shipping.
Free In-store Pickup
Best for: Retailers with a brick-and-mortar location
LTL Freight Carriers
Best for: Shipping large items/orders, especially when selling primarily B2B
Best for: Retailers selling perishable or time-sensitive goods
Best for: Promotions to entice customers to add more items to the cart to qualify
Product Size and Weight
When selling products, it’s important to keep their size and weight in mind. If your products are quite uniform in size, going with a per-item, zone-based approached where the shipping price varies only by your customer’s location and not the product’s size and weight works well. When thinking about shipping, you need to make sure your products have accurate weights and dimensions so that the rate you get back from the carrier is as accurate is possible.
Because most shipping couriers and shipping options are charged based on size and weight, you want to try to keep your packaging as small as possible. This will help you save on shipping costs and will keep packaging costs from eating away your profit margin.
Increase Your Revenue
Shipping represents a significant expense for eCommerce merchants. Shipping represents a significant expense for eCommerce merchants. Use a chart like below to map out all of your costs associated with getting your products into your customer’s hands. Use these numbers to finalize your pricing and shipping strategy.
The shipping options and rates you provide have a huge impact on your conversion rate. Try offering the shipping rates that customers are expecting and see how well that goes.
Increase Average Order Value (AOV)
Offer promotions that entice your customers to buy more. Use recommended products to increase your AOV while you have their attention.
Expand Market or Target Audience
Try offering to ship to new areas or to people who couldn’t access your products before. For example, offer international shipping or in-store pickup or utilize your local delivery to help extend your customer reach.
Make changes to your fulfillment process and use a cheaper shipping service. Carriers like UPS and FedEx offer alternative shipping services like UPS SurePost and FedEx Smart Post that can help cut costs while still offering a high-level of service.
Improve Operational Efficiency
Make sure your fulfillment teams have the proper information on how you want your packages packed and shipped.
Dropshipping is a popular method of selling online where a store doesn’t keep the products it sells in stock. How it works is when a store sells a product, it purchases the item from a third party and has it shipped directly to the customer
- Customer places order online
- Store places order with supplier
- Supplier ships order to customer (invisibly)
- Store alerts customer the purchased item has shipped
Do Your Research
Before you dive right into dropshipping, there are some things you need to pay close attention to. Dropshipping is often associated with scams, rip-offs and get rich quick schemes. Make sure to do lots of research. Real wholesalers don’t charge monthly fees. Directories are just a list of wholesale suppliers and they often charge a one-time or ongoing fee. Usually, to get sincere wholesale pricing, you’ll need to apply for a wholesale account, prove you’re legitimate and be approved before placing your first order.
Some dropshipping suppliers charge a pre-order dropshipping fee ranging from $2-$5 or more. This is normal because the costs of packaging and shipping individual orders are much higher than shipping a bulk order. Dropshippers will often offer a minimum order to filter out window-shopping merchants that will never become meaningful business.
Picking Products to Dropship
- Selling products with many accessories to improve your overall margin
- Products that aren’t updated on a yearly basis
- Products that aren’t easily found locally will increase your chances of success
- Smaller items that are easier to ship cheaply