5 Tips to Optimise Your Ecommerce Delivery Process
If you’re in ecommerce, you probably know the feeling. You’re in full control during the entire creative and manufacturing process, you A/B test your landing pages to make sure that they are fully optimised for customers and you do everything possible to ensure that your users have the best possible experience. Then you ship your product and your brand and product are suddenly in someone else’s hands.
Naturally, the experience that your customers have during the delivery process can significantly impact whether they will continue to shop with you, so in order to make sure that you are retaining these customers it’s essential that you do all you can to ensure customer satisfaction. And, with the effective planning of your ecommerce delivery process, it’s simple enough to do just this. To help you do just this, here, we’re going to take you through five tips to optimise your ecommerce delivery process.
Tip #1 – Determine what to charge
You need to determine how you will price shipping before you can even start sending packages. There are a few options when it comes to this – you could offer ‘free shipping’, charge the customer for the actual courier rates, or alternatively use a flat fee. Finding the right way to charge customers means that you can make choices accordingly.
If you want to ensure that your customers aren’t going be scared off by additional costs as they check out, free shipping is perfect. However, the actual cost of ‘free shipping’ still needs to come from somewhere. You can factor in shipping in your overall product costs (which means the customer ultimately pays but your prices might not be competitive) or you narrow your margins (which means that your profit goes down). We do see ecommerce providers offering free shipping on orders over a certain amount, which can mean that you offset the shipping costs with the overall margins.
Often, the simplest solution is to charge customers the rate that you’ve established with your courier service. If you’re able to establish a regular relationship with a service provider, you’ll likely get better rates than you otherwise would. This will help to keep costs down long-term, while likewise it might also make more sense to use a London courier rather than relying on large international brands like UPS. Build a long-term relationship with a local delivery provider and you’ll be able to save on costs while also offering your customers a more competitive rate.
A flat rate
Flat rate shipping means that some customers are overcharged while others are undercharged. If you have a similar product line-up, this option is definitely viable, however if you sell a wide range of products it becomes less effective and can quickly become complicated.
Tip #2 – Choose your packaging
If you haven’t already, it’s well worth checking that you’re using the best packaging option to ensure the lowest cost. To do this, you need to understand the dimensions of your package and product as often delivery services will charge based on dimensions as well as package weight.
Ensure that you’re not using any unnecessary packaging and are fully aware of your products’ dimensions to avoid paying more for your shipping. Do this by first establishing what packaging your products use before then optimising this. Not only will this help you save on shipping fees, it’s much more cost effective to use less packaging. Work this out early on and you can ensure that this part of the process is streamlined.
Tip #3 – Shipping selection
You’ll need to choose the right courier service based on price and service, ensuring that you’re able to offer a high-quality service without overpaying. For this reason, it might well make more sense to use a London courier rather than relying on large international brands like UPS. To you, what service offerings are most important for your courier to offer? Do they provide live tracking to customers? And perhaps most importantly of all, do they give you the chance to be as flexible as you need to be to service your customers?
Tip #4 – Let picky buyers be picky
Consumers know what they want and what they like, which can in some cases mean preference for a particular shipping service. While you by no means have to meet each customer’s individual preference, offering as many options as possible will never be a bad thing. And, if a shopper is willing to pay more for a preferred shipping service, who are we to say no?
Anything that helps to reduce potential friction points and ensure that customers convert is worth investing in. Alternatively, if you’re not able to offer multiple service providers, ensure that you have a page on your site explaining your choice of courier and why they are the best and most secure option.
Tip #5 – Offer greater visibility
All shoppers appreciate transparency and the ability to check in on the progress of their order. In fact, Dotcom Distribution’s 2017 eCommerce Study found that visibility as an order is in transit heavily influences repeat purchases. In order to manage this you would typically need to have:
- Transportation management systems (TMS)
- Inventory management systems (IMS),
- Order management systems (OMS)
However, even without these systems you can offer greater visibility before a purchase by providing users with accurate delivery times and estimates of shipping costs. With unexpected costs being one of the most common reasons for abandoned carts, providing this visibility as early on as possible can play a significant role in conversion rates.
Optimising your delivery process
Shipping will never be the most simple part of your ecommerce operation. However, this part of the process is undoubtedly one of the most important, having a significant impact on whether a customer will continue to shop with you in the future. Use these tips as a starting point and you’ll be able to ensure that you’re offering the best possible service to your customers.