Key shipping strategies for your e-Commerce Business

Key shipping strategies

A shipping process is quite intricate when it comes to running an e-Commerce business. You can sell a large number of products on your e-Commerce site but your online business cannot be successful if can’t get those products in customer’s hands safely and at an affordable cost.

Many online customers reconsider their purchase decisions when they realize that shipping and handling charges are quite high. This often leads to shopping cart abandonment that can be quite frustrating for any business owner.

Today, we will discuss some key shipping strategies that can be useful for your e-Commerce store.

Offering free shipping

Should you offer free shipping? This question is equally important as – Can you offer free shipping? Offering free shipping can certainly give you an edge in competing with your competitors but at the same time it can also affect your profit margin. There are two ways to look at it – You can either slightly increase the price of the item to cover up the shipping cost while offering free shipping or keep your profit margin low by offering free shipping and hope for higher sales. There is nothing wrong in trying both strategies and see how your customers react to it and how it effects your sales.

There is one rule of thumb when it comes to shipping – In order to be successful in an e-Commerce business, never try to make money on shipping costs because your customers will notice this trend and won’t be happy. There are several ways you can offer free shipping in order to give incentive to your customers:

  • You can offer free shipping based on minimum purchase or minimum number of items. Many times you will see online offers like free shipping with minimum $50 of purchase. Do not follow this strategy just because other businesses are doing this. Create your own strategy according to your sales and customers. If the average order total is $20, majority of customers will be reluctant to add more items to complete an order of $50 in order to get free shipping. Try to set minimum purchase on $30 as a customer is more likely to spend extra $10 instead of $30.
  • Another option is to offer free shipping based on coupon codes which many customers might find interesting or a better deal.

Tip: According to a survey by Monetate; 61% of customers are at least “somewhat likely” to cancel their purchase if free shipping is not offered and 52% of abandoned online shopping carts are triggered by shipping and handling costs. For more information, see: http://www.monetate.com/2011/11/infographic-free-shipping-nice-to-have-or-essential-for-purchase/

Keeping a constant track of your shipping costs

Keeping a track of your shipping costs should always be an ongoing process. There are many tools offered by shipping provides to calculate rates online: FedEx, UPS & USPS. Based on your products and packaging, you should always keep an eye on all the vendors and their services. It is always a good idea to look for small areas where you can save some money. A small saving of ten cents per box can quickly add up and turn into a big savings for your online store. Many vendors offer difference incentives or discounts if you stay with them for a longer period of time because their business is as competitive as yours so why not take advantage of it?

Some other shipping strategies

There are a many different ways you can create shipping strategies for your online store based on your market/industry, customers and average order value.

  • Always ship the product(s) on time – It is always a good practice is to ship the product next day or same day (if possible)
  • Always provide the tracking number to your customers
  • The way you ship the item, the condition of the box and the packaging – Everything matters!
  • Pay attention to the shipping promotions that are being offered by your competitors
  • It is always a good idea to include shipping insurance while shipping expensive items / products
  • Keep your shipping calculation variables simple – Trying to apply all kinds of variables (such as flat rate, weight based, dimension based, per unit and percentage of order total) at the same time might hurt you because it will make things more complicated for custom / special orders
  • Try to display the shipping rates on the shopping cart page – It is not the best practice to ask the customers to login or register only to see the shipping rates
  • Always be clear when it comes to your shipping policy and make it available on your store site

An online e-Commerce business can be quite challenging. Testing different strategies will not only help you to survive in today’s competitive market but it will also help you find what strategy works best for you as a business owner and for your customers.

nopCommerce offers a variety of shipping features that includes configuring shipping rates based on order weight or order totals, specifying additional shipping charges per product, creating shipping discounts, limiting available shipping methods per country and much more. nopCommerce also offer options for your customers to choose their preferred carrier based on experience, price, or destination: UPS, USPS, FedEx, Australia Post, Canada Post etc.

Author: Lavish Kumar

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