Most business owners will know that shipping can be an expensive, albeit significant, business cost. It’s also vital that they have a strong shipping and logistics strategy if they want to keep customers happy.
So if you’re a new business owner, or perhaps you’re just struggling to keep up with the expectations of modern consumers who have become accustomed to speedy (and often free) shipping from many e-commerce businesses, we’re here to help.
In this guide, we’re going to take you through some of our top shipping tips to help you boost your profits and keep customers happy this year.
Read on to find out more.
Tip 1: Fully understand your shipping strategy and related costs
Firstly, you need to make sure that you fully understand how your shipping costs are calculated and what you want to achieve from your system. This can stop any nasty surprises later on and also means you might find you can offer more beneficial shipping options to your customers, such as free delivery.
To do this, you need to consider the following essential aspects:
- Which courier you are using (more on this in the next section)
- The speed of delivery you require. For example, do you/do you want to offer next-day delivery?
- The weight, dimensions, and fragility of the items you’re shipping. If you’re shipping huge, heavy, or perhaps fragile items, this might affect your shipping cost and strategy.
- Where you want to ship to, for example, will you only be selling to local or national customers, or do you want to go international?
- How much are you shipping each week or month? This means working out the average amount of orders you’re sending out during that period.
If you take some time to get to grips with all of these aspects, you’ll be better equipped to get a firm shipping strategy in place. This is crucial for businesses and will also allow you to offer your customers the most desired delivery options.
It can also help you to choose a suitable courier, but more on this below.
Tip 2: Choose the suitable courier or delivery options
Believe it or not, though they aren’t a natural part of your business, your courier is going to play a massive role in building your customer base, reputation, and profit.
Well, firstly, customers know what they want when shopping online, and they have certain expectations. For example, nowadays, most people are unwilling to wait more than a few days for their parcel to arrive, so if your delivery takes a week or longer, they’ll probably shop elsewhere.
Not only this, but a quick delivery that offers features such as tracking links and live updates or free delivery on larger orders can add to the overall customer experience. This can keep them coming back for more.
But if your delivery is slow or expensive, then consumers are unlikely to shop with you again in the future.
See where we’re going with this?
Keeping all of this in mind, you must choose the exemplary courier service or delivery options for business.
And if you have an existing courier that you’re not happy with, it’s never too late to change! When choosing a provider to partner with, you need to consider:
- The services they offer include next-day delivery, overnight delivery, international delivery, etc.
- How much they charge – Because shipping costs will directly impact your profits and whether you can offer delivery options such as free shipping to customers
- If they offer updates – As we’ve said, consumers like to be updated on the whereabouts of their goods, so make sure you choose a courier who can provide updates with or tracking numbers.
- The type of support they offer – Do they have people on hand to help you if you face a problem with their services? If not, they might not be the best company to put your trust in
Think about all of this carefully, and you’ll be able to find the perfect courier service for you or to upgrade from your current provider for a more cost-effective solution.
Tip 3: Negotiate on shipping rates
If you’ve got a new courier in mind, or you’ve been with your existing one for a while, it might be time to start negotiating on shipping rates, particularly if you plan to spend many packages through their company.
This can help you save even more money on your shipping and logistics, thus boosting your overall projects.
Though haggling and negotiating prices can be nerve-wracking, it’s worth it when you get the results you want. So don’t be afraid. After all, the worst-case scenario is that they say no, and you move on.
Tip 4: Offer free shipping to customers past a specific value
Did you know that one in four (25%) consumers will spend more money to qualify for free shipping? Therefore, this can be a brilliant way of keeping customers happy and increasing your sales.
Make sure to advertise this clearly on your website. For example, a banner on the front page says ‘free shipping on all orders over £55’. This way, if people are already close to the limit, they’ll be more inclined to buy that extra one or two items to get free delivery.
Of course, if you can offer free shipping for amounts less than £55, you’re more likely to secure sales. It would help if you thought about what will be cost-effective for your business as you don’t want to decrease profits by offering free shipping.
Tip 5: Don’t neglect your packaging
It might seem odd, but your packaging also plays a significant role in your shipping strategy. Firstly because you need to make sure you’re choosing appropriate packaging to protect and send your products.
But more importantly, because your packaging can say a lot about your business, therefore, you shouldn’t neglect this part of the strategy.
Today’s consumers love beautiful packaging, particularly when this is branded, and they love the extras that come with it. For example, little freebies or beautifully wrapped goods. This can lead to repeat sales and people willing to pay more for the extra quality and visual appeal.
So, if you haven’t put much thought into this in the past, now is the time to do so! Choose or create beautiful packaging that adds to the user experience, and you’d be surprised how much this can boost not only your sales but your reputation this year.