Order fulfillment and shipping are not always pleasant parts of running an e-commerce business. The costs of shipping are non-trivial (and the customer never wants to pay them), choosing a delivery method can be a hassle, and then there’s the whole issue of where you store all the stuff while it’s waiting to ship.
On the customer’s end, paying $10 for shipping on a $15 item is a bit ludicrous, and most items come in boring nondescript boxes that might as well be carrying an ugly Christmas sweater. It’s a less than appealing system.
For those looking to make the most of their shipping, to turn it into a customer touch point, and to keep costs down and avoid driving potential customers away, we have a few pieces of advice.
Form and Function in Packaging
Traditionally, packaging has been more “function” than “form.” It’s just a box intended to get the product there. In that sense, you’re looking to reduce size and weight, as that reduces the price of shipping. If that’s all you’re looking for, that’s an easy step to take—use the size of box you need, and nothing bigger.
But with a little creativity, you can turn this innocuous part of the transaction into a positive customer experience. Clever packaging can communicate your brand and can intrigue and delight your customer. Tickle their fancy enough, and you might have a repeat customer.
Don’t Make Money on the Shipping and Handling
It’s a fact: customers hate shipping charges. Especially when they sneak up on you and double the price of the item. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, we hate that, too. We may not always know the specifics of what the shipping costs, but we can tell when we’re being unfairly gouged. So do your customers a favor and cut them some slack on the shipping. You can:
- Charge at cost for shipping
- Offer free shipping and absorb the cost
- Take on some of the cost to reduce the price for the customer
You can even account for the shipping cost in the price of the item. That will make it more expensive, but at least it’s better than the surprise jump in shipping price at the end.
Choose the Right Logistics Team
There are a lot of options out there in regards to how you get the product from you to them. FedEx and UPS are convenient, but expensive. USPS is less expensive, but not as accommodating. And then there’s the issue of housing the product and boxing it up yourself. Or, if you’re so inclined, you can sidestep a lot of those processes and save some money by partnering with a third-party fulfillment team. For more information on how the right fulfillment team can make life easier for you, contact the pros at Elite Ops.