Even after your customer decides to make a purchase from your e-commerce site, you still need to give them excellent service. The experience they have with their order fulfillment can make the difference between keeping them loyal and engaged or irritated and disappointed. Our top five e-commerce fulfillment considerations can help by keeping your shipping affordable, fast, easy to understand and engaging.
1. Balance Free Shipping with Profits
Offering free shipping is a powerful way to draw in customers, and some studies show that customers spend more when shipping is free. On the other hand, when your customers don’t cover the cost of fulfillment, you have to divert more money from your revenue to meet the expense. Each business has to find its own balance between enticing customers with low shipping costs and building profits. Use these tips to find your best strategy:
- See what works for your competition. If free shipping is the norm in your industry, it will be hard to compete without offering the same. For unique or high-end luxury items, or impulse buys that customers want to receive as soon as possible, a reasonable shipping cost is less likely to turn them off.
- Test different options against each other. Use A/B testing to compare free shipping for all orders versus free shipping with a threshold amount, or with low-cost shipping at lower prices. Compare which option brings you the most sales and the lowest cart abandonment rates.
- Make free shipping one of many choices. Offer free shipping on the option that is least expensive for you, and then give your customers the option to pay more for faster delivery times.
2. Clarify Shipping Options
As many as one out of four e-commerce shoppers abandon their carts because of unexpected shipping costs. This is an especially frustrating loss because many of those sales could be saved when you make your shipping options affordable and easy to understand.
First, make sure that at least one of your options is very low-cost or free. The most cost-conscious shoppers will usually choose this rate, even if it means waiting a few extra days for their delivery. Next, for each shipping option, include how many days the order may take to arrive, as well as its cost. Many customers will pay more for faster shipping, but they will want to know exactly what to expect.
3. Track Where Your Orders are Sent
Over time, you will begin to know where most of your orders are delivered. Keeping track of this data can help you make better shipping estimates and reduce costs. If you have enough orders going to a certain region, you may be able to negotiate a discounted rate with your carrier for packages sent there.
If you are selecting a third-party fulfillment provider, ask them how they track and use this data. The right fulfillment partner for you will be one that has already negotiated low shipping rates to the areas where most of your packages will be sent. If you are handling your own e-commerce fulfillment, make use of warehouse management software to spot useful shipping trends.
4. Know Your SKU Weight and Dimensions
Knowing the weight and dimensions of each stock-keeping unit (SKU) can help you price your shipping costs more accurately, and even open the possibility of saving money.
The larger and heavier your package, the more it will cost to send. With the help of someone experienced in shipping (a third-party fulfillment provider can be invaluable here), you can design packaging that protects your products without wasting any extra weight or volume.
If your SKUs are all of a similar size and weight, you can also opt for zone-based shipping. If most of your customers live near your distribution center, this can reduce your shipping costs.
5. Let Your Packaging Help Your Marketing Efforts
Once you have offered your customers prompt shipping at a price they like, the next step is to consider the impression your packaging makes. Packages from Amazon are instantly recognizable with the simple A-to-Z arrow in their logo. Some subscription box services, such as GlossyBox, will package their products like gifts to generate excitement when they arrive. Your product may even be featured on an unboxing video, where showing off the attractive packaging is part of the fun.
Reflecting on these e-commerce fulfillment considerations can play an important part in keeping your customers happy and ready to return to your site for more sales.
To find out how EWorld Fulfillment can help meet your customers’ expectations, call us at (888) 324-9464 or use the form here.