If you run an online shop and do not think about the shipping process of your products, you may be losing more than you think. One study indicated that up to 77% of abandoned shopping carts are related to factors in the shipping process.
There are many shipping methods, matching the different types of customers you have. Many consumers look for the most reliable shipping method, although the price also influences the choice of the chosen shipping.
For instance, many Americans prefer faster shipping over having the absolute cheapest option. Of course, delivery time is a determining factor to a certain extent. The large online retailers and their express delivery methods have made everyone, as consumers, more and more demanding in this regard. 44% of consumers perceive same-day delivery as a sign of trust and are willing to pay more for this method.
We understand that with so many options it can be overwhelming to make a choice and meet all the requirements demanded of your clients. However, we are here to help you make that choice! Below is a list of 6 key points to help you create a strategy that best suits your online shop.
6 key points to consider when creating your shipping strategy
1. Carriers and shipping methods
Not all products sold online today have the same characteristics. When considering the most appropriate shipping method for the items you sell in your online shop, you should not only focus on the product itself, but also on consumers. What kind of customers do you have?
Depending on the type of customer and the type of product, consumers will not be surprised to have to wait a couple of days until they receive their order. Therefore, a carrier with ultrafast shipments and very expensive rates may not be the best choice. Some customers will focus more on economic factors than on delivery time, while others will simply take what is presented. Our tip? Know your customers and their needs, and then offer the best method to meet their needs.
2. Shipping costs
Shipping costs are one of the most decisive factors when completing a purchase process. The US is a particularly demanding country with regard to shipping costs.
Free shipping is the best option to get customers to complete their purchase. However, you have to take into account certain factors so that absorbing shipping costs on behalf of the customer does not result in losing money.
Free but controlled shipping costs are an excellent marketing strategy to target who can access free shipping without a loss for your business. For example, shipping can be free or not depending on the location, weight, and total of the order.
In the US, a common practice is to offer free shipping when standard delivery is chosen or if a product is over $20, for example, but may require payment in other countries or for an expedited option.
When determining different methods, consider the all rates that carriers apply and stay within a margin that benefits your business.
3. Automating the shipping process
It is estimated that the average time spent processing an order is around 10 minutes. From the moment a new order enters the system until the package is ready to be picked up, the carrier must perform a series of tasks that many retailers continue to handle manually. However, automating the shipping process can save up to 3 minutes per order.
- Shipping rules: configure custom shipping rules to detect the appropriate shipping method for each type of order.
- Automated pick-ups: with an automatic shipping list you can instantly schedule a pick-up for your orders once enough have been placed.
- Creating and printing labels: nobody should be “copy and pasting” or typing the addresses of clients separately. Automatically creating a label list is essential to help the flow of your products.
- Documents, tariffs, and taxes: the bane of every retailer, customs and tax forms, invoices, and personal income tax / VAT. There are now tools available to automatically generate these documents.
- Automated update emails: no longer will you have to worry about keeping the customer aware of the purchase process, as these emails are automatically sent at predetermined intervals, updating the status of the order at all times.
4. Tracking emails
A satisfying shopping experience does not happen by just clicking a button and filling in some fields. Up to 90% of follow-up emails are opened and read. This presents an opportunity to promote other items, sell more items, and build customer loyalty.
One sneaky idea is to add related articles, banners, or information about your business in the mail with the shipping information. The chances of customers opening and seeing this information will be high.
5. Return strategies
67% of consumers read the return policy before deciding to buy from an online shop. For 84% of them, this is one of the most important factors when making a purchase online. It is important that the customer can access clear policies about the return period of a product and what are the options to return it. Your return policy must appear in a visible place on your website and be written in a clear and concise manner.
Create your own return policy with different methods for different countries or types of shipping, offering options that fit the needs of your customers. Can you afford to offer free returns or should return costs fall on the customer? Depending on the nature of your products, you can also consider a subscription model that includes free returns to subscribers as an advantage of their membership.
Finally, it is important to create an organized and detailed return form. Collecting the reasons for each return, which specific products are returned and the reason. Just as you manage each order that leaves, you must keep track of each item that is returned.
6. International strategy
Many online shops want to take the international leap and introduce their business abroad. A good international strategy may begin with the Amazon EU seller programs.
The most important points to consider for a good international sales strategy are the following:
- Negotiating international rates is essential when agreeing with carriers on shipping rates abroad.
- Transparency in shipping methods and delivery times is another factor to consider. Customers want to know the details about delivery time and shipping costs before making a purchase. This way you will avoid abandoned carts from unexpected expenses or duty tax fields that can appear at the last moment.
- Applying for European legislation is essential when you are going to make international shipments within the European Union. Check with the official website of the European Union to ensure that your shipping process meets the requirements.