Ship Like a Boss: The Ultimate Guide to Understanding Ecommerce Shipping Solutions
When you run an eCommerce business, keeping your customers happy is critical to your success. While there are a lot of things to think about, shipping belongs at the top of your list.
Not convinced? In a recent survey, a shocking 77 percent of people said they have abandoned their shopping carts due to unsatisfactory shipping options. Offering free shipping can also greatly increase the number of people who place orders and the amount of money they spend.
This makes choosing the right eCommerce shipping solutions a critical part of your business success.
The 6 Most Common Ecommerce Shipping Solutions
To choose the best shipping solutions for your business, you’ll want to start by understanding your options. Here are six of the most common solutions.
1. Overnight Shipping
Thanks, in part, to recent moves by Amazon Prime and other major retailers, overnight shipping is now the preferred method among online shoppers.
It used to be that 2-day shipping was the norm and offering an overnight option was a way to stand out. However, the trends point to a shift. Soon, retailers who don’t offer overnight shipping will find that they’ve been left in the dust.
2. Same-Day Delivery
Some retailers (cough… Amazon) are taking things to the next level by offering same-day delivery. This shipping option requires some serious efforts on the part of the seller. It requires top-notch technology, coordinated operations, and a reliable courier service.
However, in most cases, it’s definitely worth it. In fact, 61 percent of consumers are willing to pay more for same-day delivery. Further, 56 percent of shoppers between the ages of 18 and 34 expect this option when shopping online.
3. 2-Day Shipping
When Amazon Prime first started, 2-day shipping was the “holy grail.” However, it was also relegated mostly to eCommerce behemoths who could handle the logistics behind it.
Now it has become the standard for online shoppers. Any online retailer who wants to remain competitive should figure out how to offer a 2-day shipping option within the next couple of years, if not sooner.
4. Expedited Shipping
The term “expedited shipping” refers to any shipping method that is faster than standard ground shipping. While this doesn’t guarantee the delivery will occur within a specified number of days, it still appeals to shoppers.
Retailers who offer expedited shipping find that it helps to meet customer expectations, reduce cart abandonment, and build customer loyalty.
5. International Shipping
Opening up your business to international customers can be an excellent way to grow your customer base. However, international shipping often poses a challenge, especially to smaller retail businesses.
Not only do you have to handle your own logistics, but you’ll also have to deal with the other country’s regulations, taxes, and tariffs. If you choose to explore international markets, you’ll need a great shipping partner who can help you navigate these issues while still offering affordable services.
6. Freight Delivery
Finally, freight delivery involves the transfer of goods across the globe by air, land, or sea. Generally, if you’re going to ship items that weigh more than 150 pounds or are larger than 30 x 30 x 30 inches, you’ll need a freight shipping provider.
Ecommerce Shipping Options: How to Get Your Pricing Right
Now that you understand your shipping options, you’ll also need to learn how to price your shipping right. Set your rates too low and you’ll end up losing money, set them too high, and your customers will close their browsers and walk away.
Some of the factors that go into calculating the cost of shipping an item include:
- Package dimensions
- Package weight
- Value of the contents
- Shipping destination
- Shipping speed
- Carrier used
The three most popular ways to price shipping are flat rate, actual carrier rate, and free shipping. Here’s a deeper look into each.
Flat Rate Shipping
Retailers who choose flat-rate shipping charge the same rate for all orders that fall within a certain category. The categories are often divided by the weight of the items, their value, or some other determination.
This is often calculated as a blended average cost across the category, which means that some buyers will pay a bit more than the actual cost to ship their product while others will pay a bit less. The simplicity of this method is one of the major benefits.
Actual Carrier Rate
Another option is to pull the actual carrier rates into your website so you can charge the buyer the true cost for the shipping option they choose. This has the benefit of ensuring that the buyer covers the entire cost of shipping. It also allows the buyer to choose from different shipping options based on what it will cost them.
Another recent study showed that 88 percent of shoppers are more likely to shop at a site if they know they can get free shipping. While it used to be a nice touch, offering a free shipping option is now expected of most retailers.
While completely free shipping is the holy grail for shoppers, it might not be feasible for your business. Don’t make the mistake of doing this if it will put you at a detriment. Instead, explore some of these other options.
Free Shipping with a Minimum
This is important if you’re selling low-value items. Offering free shipping on a $3 order doesn’t make much sense. Most companies choose thresholds like $25, $30, $50, or $75. The right minimum will depend, in part, on the value of the items you’re selling.
Free Shipping on Certain Items
This is a great way to offer free shipping without cutting too deep into your bottom line. Consider offering it on expensive items, things that are going out of season, or items that aren’t selling well.
Free Shipping to Loyal Customers
It can cost up to five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep a current one. So, it makes sense to reward customer loyalty. One of the best ways to do this is to create a rewards program and offer free shipping once shoppers reach a certain threshold.
Let Us Help You Explore Your Shipping Options
Choosing the best eCommerce shipping solutions can feel like a real challenge. We can help! Contact us today to discuss your goals and get started.