Shipping: the key to a successful online store!
It may seem simple, but in reality, shipping parcels is quite challenging. Consumers are becoming more and more demanding, and logistics can make a world of difference. Iris Dings from SendCloud shares some precious tips and tricks to make your online store even more successful through shipping.
How should I send parcels?
Once you’re getting more and more orders, it’s virtually impossible to manage the shipping of parcels yourself, so it can be more than useful to find a flexible, automated shipping partner.
Many shipping companies offer a wide range of contracts and shipping options. You should choose a partner based on the product range you sell. There are countless companies on the market, each with their own shipping services and fields of expertise:
- Regular post (with or without ‘Track & Trace’)
- Regular parcel post
- International shipping
- Shipping of larger items, such as furniture
- Shipping to collection points
- Custom collection by the customer
This option allows your customers to pick up their own parcels, and includes automatic emails to the recipient.
What should I bear in mind when it comes to shipping?
Once customers have paid for their purchase, the sale has been completed. But has it really? The shipping process is actually the most important part of the sale, and if you can’t guarantee a smooth shipping process, you’re bound to lose customers. Therefore, you should be aware of all your shipping partner’s rules and agreements.
For example, did you know that you, as an online merchant, are responsible for any loss or damage to the products sold until your customers have received their parcels, unless you explicitly opt for insured shipping? Also make sure you know what your products are worth, because shipping companies often have specific rules for the transport of valuables. The bottom line? Find a shipping partner to suit your needs.
Shipping parcels in 2017 – the latest trends
The focus is nowadays increasingly on fast and flexible parcel shipping. The latest trends in this view are:
- Free shipping for purchases starting from a certain amount
- Custom delivery, a system that allows your customers to choose the date and time of delivery
- Delivery to collection points
- Parcel machines, where customers can pick up their parcels 24/7
- Evening delivery
- Delivery on Sundays and Mondays
- Same-day delivery
In the spotlight: Same-day delivery
Same-day delivery has been popular for a few years now, but relatively few online stores actually offer this service. However, things are expected to change in the years to come. Variants are being developed, such as local bicycle couriers for same-say deliveries. In most cases, same-day delivery is more expensive than regular shipping, which doesn’t make this an interesting option for every single product. However, it’s important to give customers the choice so as to meet all their requirements and put you one step ahead of your competitors. In a nutshell, it’s a win-win!
Clear shipping information on product pages
Don’t underestimate the power of consumers. If an online store doesn’t meet all their expectations, remember your competitors are only a few clicks away. So make sure your online store boasts the right content at exactly the right time. Include clear shipping information up-front, so on the actual product page, to boost your conversion rate (source MetaPack: Delivering Consumer Choice, 2015). And don’t forget to mention whether or not the product is still in stock!
Tip: offer a free-shipping option
“Free”… for many people, it’s the magic word! Free shipping plays a key role in e-commerce. Forrester Research has revealed that consumers by far prefer free shipping, but this does, of course, affect your profit margin.
When it comes to free shipping, you can offer different options. The most common form of free shipping only applies to orders above a certain amount, which increases your chances of upselling. Another great option is to temporarily offer free shipping, because it implies urgency and consequently, it pushes consumers to place an order.
In a nutshell, offering various shipping options can create added value for your customers and help you reach your ultimate goal, namely boosting your conversion rate.