The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Shipping and Fulfillment

The Beginner’s Guide to Ecommerce Shipping and Fulfillment

As a store owner, you put in a lot of work to offer a great experience to your customers. You enhance your store, write emails and edit photos just so your customers can be happy. 

This is why shipping can be a challenge. It is like having a stranger handle your brand. 

Careful planning will make this easier. 

Shipping Strategy 101

Here are key steps and decisions that set the foundation for your shipping strategy. You can always change them as you grow.

Shipping methods and rates: are you going to offer flat-rate or free shipping? Alternatively, will your customers have to cover the shipping cost?

Product weights: how much do your products weigh? 

Your preferred packaging: having a packaging option in mind will help you estimate the shipping price.

Source the packaging: get free packaging from DHL, UPS and USPS. You can also opt for branded packaging.

Shipping Methods and Rates

Your pricing strategy will determine your shipping rates. 

You can offer free shipping and raise the price of the products or pay from your profits. You can also balance both.

Another option is to choose flat rate shipping or charge real-time carrier rates. 

Calculate Shipping Costs

Shipping rates are often based on the following:

  • Destination country
  • Origin country
  • Package weight
  • Package size

Other options like insurance and tracking are involved too. 

Consider your profit margins. As you do your calculations, incorporate all costs involved.

Packaging and Marketing

Packaging is not just about getting the product to the customer. Buyers have higher expectations. You need to compete effectively by going out of your way to impress customers. Offer your buyers an exceptional unboxing experience.

Packaging Options

The common packaging options include envelopes and boxes. Uline has a wide range of shipping materials for all your needs. Other packaging suppliers include eSupplyStore, Fast-Pack and ValueMailers. 

Insurance and Tracking

Tracking and shipping insurance offer security. Carriers do not charge much for this service. If you can, buy insurance on big-ticket products to ensure that you are covered when your package gets lost. Some couriers incorporate insurance in their shipping costs. Have this in mind when comparing courier prices. 

Customs Declarations and Forms

Proper customs documentation is required if you’re shipping to another country. The forms are available at the shipping retail location or your local post office. Make sure you fill up the forms clearly and honestly— otherwise, your package may get held in Customs.

In your shipping policy page, include any additional custom fees that the customer may be required to pay on delivery.

Business Accounts

After deciding on the carrier, it is time to set up business accounts. These accounts have tons of benefits for your business. 

Label Your Packages

Labelling your packages by hand can be tedious and time consuming. If you are using Shopify, you can pay for their labelling service to save time.

Fulfillment Warehouse

A fulfillment warehouse gives you benefits such as short shipping times and cheap shipping rates. They also have disadvantages; do your due diligence.

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