If you’re starting an eCommerce business or a professional in the industry, shipping is undoubtedly the most fundamental aspect.
This guide explores all the basic and advanced concepts on eCommerce shipping.
Keep reading to learn more.
- What is Ecommerce Shipping?
- What are the Best Practices in Ecommerce Shipping?
- How much will Ecommerce Shipping from China Cost?
- How do you Control Quality during Ecommerce Shipping?
- What are the Goals of Ecommerce Shipping Strategy?
- What are the Critical Considerations in Ecommerce Shipping?
- How do you Set your Ecommerce Shipping Rates?
- What are the Product Packaging Tips in Ecommerce Shipping?
- What Customs Information do you need in Ecommerce Shipping?
- How do you Label Goods in Ecommerce Shipping?
- How do you use Fulfillment Warehouse in Ecommerce Shipping?
- Which Ecommerce Shipping Strategy should you Adopt?
- Which are the Ecommerce Shipping Service Providers you can Recommend?
- How do you Track Shipment During Ecommerce Shipping?
- How do you Manage Orders in Ecommerce Shipping?
- How do you Handle Ecommerce Returns?
- What is Ecommerce API?
- Which Ecommerce Shopping Cart can you Integrate with Ecommerce Shipping?
- Which Ecommerce Shipping Software Tools can you Recommend?
- Which Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Models should you Choose?
- What is the Cheapest Means of Shipping for Small Business in Ecommerce?
- Which Document do you need in Ecommerce Shipping?
- Which Incoterms can use in Ecommerce Shipping?
- What Role does Freight Forwarder Play in Ecommerce Shipping?
- What are the Mode of Payments in Ecommerce Shipping?
What is Ecommerce Shipping?
It is the service, which suppliers, manufacturers, and vendors utilize to transport commodities bought from them to buyer’s delivery destination.
It incorporates necessary facilitation for ensuring the products purchased from online dealers are shipped to the customer within the agreed terms.
What are the Best Practices in Ecommerce Shipping?
The customer’s expectations are always high irrespective of what they purchase.
Appropriate practices in ecommerce shipping are thus essential in enhancing seamless shopping experience.
Some of these best practices include the following;
1) Assemble the Correct Team
You must find the right people to assist you in decision making in this business.
Bring into all the stakeholders within your organization into a conversation.
In essence, make each department in the organization to understand its role in relation to enhancing shipping experience.
2) Provide Free Shipping when you can
It can be one of the hardest practices to execute in ecommerce shipping.
You need to find a balance between lower profit margins for you or costly prices for your customers.
Nowadays, with the existing stiff competition, most customers expect free shipping.
Additionally, statistics are quite clear that most cart abandonment arises due to shipping costs.
Therefore, you just have to provide free shipping by adopting a working strategy.
Ideally, set a minimum amount, which the customer’s order must meet to get free shipping.
This model comes in handy in saving costs,mainly when shipping multiple small orders.
Additionally, it encourages shopper to spend more on your platform hence a win-win situation.
3) Make the Shipping Costs apparent at Checkout
Make sure the shipping cost is evident at the checkout, whether it’s free or based on a certain order quantity.
Integrate your system to enable the users to see the shipping charges added to the sub-total.
Customers hate surprises and can easily abandon the cart if they only see the costs at the end of process.
Therefore, let the customers know the charges for the order as they continue placing items in the cart.
It makes it easy for them to manage their expectations.
Shipping cost at checkout
4) Let the Buyers know Expected Date of Delivery
Integrate the system to enable the shopper to know the delivery estimate for the commodity.
This should be dependent on the date of their order as well as their preferred method of shipping.
Show them particularly at the check-out section.
Statistics show how shipping duration is a fundamental element in buyer’s shipping decision.
They want to know when they are likely to get the item to guide their purchasing decision.
It helps in providing them with necessary information hence unlikely to abandon their cart.
5) Always Update the Customers during Shipping Process
Ensure you have a system, which keeps on communicating with the buyers during the shipping process.
Provide notifications to the customers based on the status of their shipment.
It contributes significantly to a positive experience.
It also goes a long way in building trust since the customers stay informed throughout the process.
6) Take Responsibility whenever there is an Issue
At times packages get lost or damaged by the shipper.
The customer will hardly view it the same way.
Whenever a shipping problem arises, take full responsibility, and act on the issue immediately.
Confirm the tracking details of the shipment, and find out if more information were captured correctly.
Inquire from the carrier about the details and status of the consignment.
Follow it up until you resolve the matter.
You must maintain customer relations and satisfaction.
Arrange to replace and ship the item to the customer.
Never wait until the shipment is found or compensated to sort out the buyer.
These practices are vital in boosting customer experience rates, tapping in more of them, and converting most visitors to actual buyers.
Remember, the buyer’s journey ends the moment the package arrives at their address in good condition and timely.
And not necessarily at checkout and purchasing from your online outlet.
How much will Ecommerce Shipping from China Cost?
You have to factor in the following elements in determining the cost of ecommerce shipping from China;
· Distance from Country of Origin to Country of Destination
If you’re shipping a product from China, the cost will depend on the specific distance it covers.
Different carriers offer varying rates based on the distance between country of origin and destination.
Ideally, the shorter the distance, the cheaper the rates, and the longer the distance, the higher the shipping cost.
· Weight of the Package
The dimensional weight of the package considers its size to determine shipping cost.
Most couriers multiply the length, width, and height of the package and divide it by standard DIM advisor to get the weight.
Heavier packages are a bit costly to ship compared to relatively lightweight packages.
· Size of the Package
A bigger package will definitely occupy a larger space in the vessel and vice versa.
Therefore, a package with bigger dimensions will naturally be expensive compared to one with smaller dimensions.
· Mode of Ecommerce Shipping
You can choose air freight, trucking, rail freight, ocean freight, and express shipping as the modes of transporting shipments.
However, the rates vary based on numerous factors.
Express shipping is the most expensive mode of ecommerce shipping.
On the other hand, ocean freight is the cheapest means of ecommerce shipping.
You have to be particular when selecting the mode of shipping depends on your various demands and budget
There is need to make sure you buy an insurance cover for your shipment.
Most suppliers often use relatively cheap and substandard export packaging.
Buying an insurance cover guarantees compensation in case the consignment is damaged during transportation.
You can find a variety of affordable insurance providers for as low as 0.02% based on 110% of FOB rates.
In most cases, compensation claims are reasonably simple to make.
You merely need to provide sufficient evidence and a protocol listing value and quantity of damaged commodities.
· Handling Costs
It primarily refers to the chargeable amount pegged on time taken in the preparation, packaging, and loading of the order.
It is mostly associated with labor involved in the overall order fulfillment process.
The higher the number of touchpoints in order fulfillment process, the more expensive the handling costs.
And where there are a few touchpoints, the handling cost will be lower.
In all aspects, it is advisable to always use shipping calculators from the respective shipping service provider you’re seeking.
This tool helps you to compare pricing options of different players in this industry.
Some of the calculators you can use in comparing ecommerce shipping costs include the following;
Sample shipping calculator
- USPS – Shipping Calculator
- Hong Kong Post –Shipping Calculator
- China Post –Shipping Calculator
- Canada Post – Shipping Calculator
- TNT – Shipping Calculator
- UK Royal Mail – Shipping Calculator
- SF Express – Shipping Calculator
- Australia Post – Shipping Calculator
- UPS – Shipping Calculator
- FedEx – Shipping Calculator
- ePacket Shipping Cost
Also, you can consider other cheaper alternatives such as ePacket shipping from China.
In fact, if you an ecommerce seller based in the U.S., you can easily ship your products from China, Hong Kong or Korea.
It is an affordable and faster ecommerce shipping option.
You can easily monitor the ePacket shipping process through the China post.
Remember, with low shipping cost, you can price all your products competitively.
In fact, it is perfect for drop shipping.
How do you Control Quality during Ecommerce Shipping?
Ecommerce shipping has made online shopping faster, relatively convenient, and more global than before.
As much as customers buy online, manufacturing and shipping processes must uphold high-quality standards.
The commodities you obtain from the supplier to the customer must never lose any quality along the way.
Some techniques of controlling and maintaining quality in ecommerce shipping include the following;
· Accurate Order Fulfillment
You have to counter-check the order upon arrival from the supplier or manufacturer.
Pull the order to confirm it is picked and sorted appropriately.
It helps to establish quality concerns such as detecting deformities or wrong packaging before the order gets to the customer.
Also, check whether or not the quantities specified in the order match what’s supposed to be shipped.
Ensure all items are included as per the specifications provided.
Accurate order fulfillment, of course, guarantees ultimate experience for the customer.
· Proper Packaging
Different commodities destined to various destinations require unique packaging.
An ideal way is to make sure the shipment is securely packaged using the right packaging materials.
You should never leave any chance for elements, which can cause damage to the consignment.
This should be irrespective of the distance, whether for local or international shipping.
Safeguard the items from weather and other physical elements to ensure they get to the customer while intact and in good shape.
· Accurate Labeling
Once the orders are received from respective suppliers, picked and packed, you have to label them accurately.
It is a critical element, which helps in preventing mis-shipping incidences where small orders are involved.
Labeling also becomes imperative in case of an order misplace or should it get lost.
It becomes easy to track, retrieve, and redirect it to the respective destination.
When labeling, you must verify the destination details such as customer’s name, address, and other contact information.
· Appointing the Right Team for the Task
You can choose to appoint an in-house team or third party agency to handle quality control in ecommerce shipping process.
Even so, the team must be competent and duteous in all aspects of quality control.
The team must know quality control protocols and should always offer best results.
A competent team will hasten the process and ensure quality is upheld throughout.
· Complying with Regulations
All products have specific regulations, which they have to conform to.
It could be health, safety, industry, or government directives.
You have to check the compliance as stipulated by the regulators.
Also, ensure the product hardly poses a threat safety of the handlers and users.
Confirm that the commodities also match up with the regulations of the industry and government.
Factor in the destination of the shipment, and all the possible checkpoints it may pass through.
It helps you to enforce necessary compliance is attained everywhere. And this improves quality of the service.
· Selecting Competent Courier Services
Once the items leave your warehouse, it is apparent you have little to no control of the quality.
However, the carrier you pick for the service plays a fundamental role in upholding the standards.
The trucks, vessels, or aircrafts the shipper uses should be in good condition always.
Where possible, ensure you liaise with the inspection, loading, and unloading units of the courier service provider.
It enables you to be in the loop during the shipping process.
What are the Goals of Ecommerce Shipping Strategy?
Here are the most common goals for shipping strategy in ecommerce;
Enhancing operational efficiency – always make sure the teams working on fulfillment of orders have the right details.
It helps in bettering the decisions regarding aspects of selecting, packing, and shipping orders.
Expanding the market – penetrate new terrains as a way of expanding the target market.
Alternatively, you can reach out to new areas or people who couldn’t access your services in the past.
Increasing conversions – make sure you provide the types of shipping alternatives and rates, which are in line with customer’s expectations.
Evidently, the rates and shipping options are great determinants of conversion rates.
Reducing costs–integrate the necessary incremental changes regarding fulfillment process and the services your company offers.
Incorporate other services as affiliates of your brand to help in reducing the overall operational cost.
But at the same time, you must maintain the service delivery is top-notch.
Increasing average order value – introduce promotions and programs encouraging users to purchase more.
For instance, you may offer free shipping on certain order limits or free expedited shipping at particular subsidized rates.
You can also choose to offer flat-rate shipping on certain commodities considered to be high-profit.
The bottom line is to add value to the existing services you are providing.
What are the Critical Considerations in Ecommerce Shipping?
The imperative considerations in this service delivery include the following;
1) Shipping Options
You must establish the most appropriate shipping carriers and services, which cater for unique demands.
When you manage your shipping options, it becomes easy to fascinate your clientele.
At the same time, it enables you to keep the costs in check.
Several couriers companies are available.
Don’t always consider the big-name shippers in all circumstances.
Some local courier companies offer more efficient services at cost-effective rates.
The shipping options you should look at include same-day delivery, free in-store pick up, free shipping, and LTL freight carriers, among others.
2) Product Size and Weight
Ensure you determine the size and weight differences of the consignments you are shipping.
It gives you an easy task to identify the ideal approach to undertake.
If you’re shipping different commodities, but with uniform size and weight, it becomes easier to establish the pricing.
Nonetheless, you have to ensure the weight and dimensions of the package are accurate.
It makes it easy for you to obtain the best rates from a carrier, which guarantees best ROI.
3) Delivery Destination
It falls into two categories; domestic and international.
But it is a crucial element to consider in ecommerce shipping.
For instance, you can always choose to free shipping or flat-rate shipping options for domestic shipments.
However, for international shipping, you may choose to set the rates depending on the zones.
An ideal strategy is to offer cheaper rates for areas within a closer zone and increase it as you radiate outer the zone.
The crucial considerations in ecommerce shipping revolve around the cost of the service.
It makes a great difference on whether or not the customer will abandon the cart.
You need to find the right balance on how to offer lower shipping rates and, at the same time, cover the costs.
Moreover, you must be able to offer as many shipping options in tandem with your customers’ demands.
How do you Set your Ecommerce Shipping Rates?
In ecommerce shipping, it’s imperative to choose your pricing strategy meticulously.
The fundamental financials of your business should guide you.
Here are some of the ways you can use to set your ecommerce shipping rates;
· When to Offer Free Shipping
It is proven as one of the most appropriate ways of reducing shopping cart abandonment when buying online.
However, shipping can never necessarily be free since there has to be a way of recovering the cost.
When offering free shipping, you can choose to offer a discount code to particular customers to enjoy free shipping.
The other strategy would be to inflate the price of the goods to cover the shipping costs.
In this case, it is the customer who, in turn, pays for shipping.
Better still, you can increase the cost of goods slightly, to cover the shipping costs partially.
In such a scenario, both the seller and buyer contribute to the shipping cost.
Additionally, you may choose to take care of the shipping costs from your profit margins.
· Charge Flat Rate for Shipping
It is also another popular option you can explore in setting your ecommerce shipping rates.
In this case, the best approach is to try and ensure you never undercharge or overcharge the buyers drastically.
This strategy always works fine when you have a reasonably standard product line of commodities with similar sizes and weights.
Even so, it can be a bit challenging and ineffective if you’re selling various products of different sizes and weights.
· Consider Real-Time Carrier Rate
It is another ideal option you may consider.
If possible, you may choose to integrate with various carriers in real-time.
It helps to generate live pricing as well as shipping alternatives from various carriers.
The essence of this option is it allows your customers to select and pay the particular service they require.
Tentatively, you can choose to use an ecommerce shipping calculator.
This tool guides you in finding the ideal ecommerce shipping rates for your consignment.
But you have to know how to use this calculator to get effective results.
Bansar, for instance, has an ecommerce shipping calculator, which you can easily access and use to set the rates.
What are the Product Packaging Tips in Ecommerce Shipping?
Packaging for ecommerce shipping
Product packaging creates a lasting impression and fantastic customer experience in ecommerce shipping.
It also influences the client’s purchasing decision and allows you to stand out in the prevailing stiff competition in this industry.
If you care about your brand, you need to devise and execute creative, safe, and effective product packaging ideas.
Here are some of the ideal tips you may consider for product packaging in ecommerce shipping;
· Select the Best Fit
The container must be the right size for the shipment.
Both internal and external packaging should fit tightly around the commodity.
It is vital first because tight fit guarantees the items can’t move around inside the container hence eliminating the cause of damage.
Secondly, it helps in reducing cost since the smaller the container, the cheaper the shipping rates.
Thirdly, right-sizing packaging helps in reducing the amount of void fill used for every package.
Thus, it lowers your total material cost.
Finally, customers find it happy to unbox a product, which is not excessively packaged.
· Use Unique Packaging Materials
Be conscious of the materials you are using for packaging the shipments for ecommerce shipping.
Look for different solutions for a single product.
Exploring the necessary unique packaging materials may as well go ahead and provide amazing cost benefits.
· Use Return-friendly Packaging
In ecommerce shipping, at times, returned products are inevitable.
Therefore, invest in return-friendly packaging solutions.
It can go a long way to help you save money in the long run.
Naturally, the initial packaging always guarantees protection, unlike the return one.
The customer will always choose any means to return the item to you and may not consider its safety.
Return-friendly packages maintain the safety of the product on its way back.
· Switch Rigid Boxes for a Flexible Mailer
Where possible, swap boxes for mailers.
The latter are often affordable, lightweight, and user-friendly.
For relatively fragile commodities, you can use bubble linings or fiber padding.
Mailers are also return-friendly since the customer will only use a second adhesive strip for returning the package.
·Know your Target Market
Package the items according to the market you are targeting.
Markets are different; hence they are fascinated by different elements.
Do your research to establish the end-users to enable you to design a cost-effective and sustainable packaging for ecommerce shipping.
· Leave a Lasting Impression
Product packaging for ecommerce shipping provides a unique way of interacting with customers.
It is an incredible aspect of creating a fantastic customer experience, especially during unwrapping.
Be strategic regarding the materials you use, messages you print, and anything else you include in the packaging.
It is the ideal way of creating a lasting impression on the customer.
Ensure you customize the packaging design where possible in a creative design.
· Use Customized Packing Tape
Using a custom packing tape is a great way of making your mark on ecommerce deliveries.
It makes your brand stand out and exhibit a high level of professionalism.
· Use Reusable Packages where Possible
Depending on the item you are shipping, you may choose to use a reusable container.
This is particular in products, which do not need or rely on bulky and protective packaging.
It makes shopping more sustainable, especially in instances where the customers are willing to return the containers by post.
What Customs Information do you need in Ecommerce Shipping?
Customs services offered – this involves customs support, standards as well as requirements.
Customs process – It entails restricted or prohibited goods, goods classification, and role of the customs agent.
Customs documents – They include a commercial invoice, profoma invoice, Bill of lading, C/O, insurance certificate, test report, and export license, among others.
Customs terminologies – You need to be conversant with a wide range of customs jargon, acronyms, and terms.
How do you Label Goods in Ecommerce Shipping?
In ecommerce shipping, each order requires a label.
It is a critical touchpoint between the vendor and the customer.
The label makes it apparent to tell your story.
Here arethe steps for labeling commodities on ecommerce shipping include the following;
Labelling goods for ecommerce shipping
1. Find the Shipping Labels
You can find the shipping labels from the shipping confirmation email of the customer.
Alternatively, you can retrieve it from the customer’s account on your platform.
2. Print Two Copies of the Shipping Labels
Once you retrieve the customer’s details from either their account or confirmation email, print the hard copies in duplicate.
One copy should be for the inside, whereas the other copy should be for the outside of the container.
Each label has a unique barcode, which is vital when it comes to tracking the commodity.
3. Attach the Shipping Labels
It is recommended to attach the shipping labels to the upper part of the container.
Fix the label on the container surface using a clear packing sleeve or a packing tape.
If you are using tape, remember to apply it over all the four edges of the label.
4. Double-check the Shipping Label
Confirm whether the shipping label is securely attached on the container surface.
It is a critical step, which determines successful delivery.
How do you use Fulfillment Warehouse in Ecommerce Shipping?
A fulfillment warehouse comes in handy in ecommerce shipping as follows;
Amazon Fulfillment warehouse
Receiving inventory – It is the place where products for distribution are received and stored awaiting further actions.
Storing inventory–The space is also used for keeping the stock received from manufacturers or suppliers.
The inventory can stay safe in this space until the moment of distribution.
Order processing – Fulfillment warehouse is also used in general order processing for ecommerce shipping.
This involves generating pick lists and picking commodities, kitting and arranging products, packing, and labeling shipments.
Managing returns – It also plays a pivotal role in organizing returns from customers.
Space is used for reconciling the stock returns for efficient inventory management.
Which Ecommerce Shipping Strategy should you Adopt?
They are quite a number, and the most appropriate one depends on your demands as well as the budget.
Some of the common option you can adopt in ecommerce shipping include;
· Same Day Delivery
It is one of the most efficient and requested services in ecommerce shipping.
The customer receives the order within 24 hours upon placing it.
This strategy is ideal since it improves customer satisfaction, reduces friction in a purchase decision, and enhances consumer confidence.
However, it requires extreme precision from the teams handling logistics.
It also requires huge initial investment capital to maintain reliability and efficiency.
· 2 Day Shipping
It refers to the strategy of shipping commodities from the shipping carrier to the customer within two business days.
It is expected of a seller to ship the product to the customer within two business days on all service levels.
· Overnight Shipping
It is a shipping option guaranteeing customers to receive their shipments the following business day upon placing the order.
It is relatively synonymous with one-day or next-day shipping.
Affordability of overnight shipping is dependent on different criteria such as carrier, distance, package dimensions, and weight, among others.
· Freight Shipping
It refers to the transportation of comparatively large consignments, be it domestically or internationally.
It is an ideal and cost-effective option for shipping cargo, which weighs over 100kgs.
Freight shipping includes several options, including LTL, FTL, intermodal and expedited.
It is a safer option and also enables you to work with some of the top-notch carriers across the world.
· Expedited Shipping
It refers to any shipping method, which promises the customer to receive the order faster than other standard shipping options.
This method often varies depending on carrier.
However, it tends to fall between overnight and two-day for most domestic deliveries.
It is an essential strategy in ecommerce shipping since it eliminates cart abandonment.
It also helps in building customer loyalty and meeting buyer’s expectations around ship time.
Which are the Ecommerce Shipping Service Providers you can Recommend?
Here are the recommended companies, which you may consider using for ecommerce shipping;
It’s known as the market leader in ecommerce shipping business.
It has a large network and can deliver up to over 120,000 locations in more than 220 countries across the world.
It is an ideal choice for delivering compact size shipments to various destinations. It guarantees between 2-4 days to complete delivery and has a quicker response rate.
· ePacket Delivery
ePacket shipping is an effective and reliable options for ecommerce shipping from China to global destinations.
Unlike other ecommerce shipping service provides, this is a special solution that brings other courier providers on board such as USPS and EMS.
It is a popular Middle-East owned express companies for ecommerce shipping.
It offers more affordable rates, especially for deliveries in Middle-East, North Africa, and South Asia, among others.
Aramex also has better customer engagement methods and offers free charges for remote regions.
However, it only has strong dominance in Middle-East hence not good enough for other regions.
United Parcel Services is also an ideal company for ecommerce shipping, which offers many options to suit your needs.
The UPS shipping options include Worldwide Express, Worldwide Express Plus, Worldwide Saver, and Worldwide Expedited.
It offers premium services with a fast turnaround and has wide coverage in over 200 countries.
Even so, it is comparatively costly and strict in regards to merchandise requirements.
It is among the leading delivery companies in the world right now with a massive number of loyal customers.
It covers most parts of the world and takes an average of 2-4 business days to complete an order.
It offers order tracking system with an effective response unit in place.
Nevertheless, it imposes a rigorous restriction on merchandise, and it’s somewhat expensive with limited volume weight.
It is a Dutch-based delivery company both for large entities and individual customers.
It takes its premium pack between 3-5 days and an economic pack about 5-7 days to complete the delivery.
It offers quick customs clearance, free order tracking services, and accept bigger shipments to different areas.
Nonetheless, it charges high rates, especially for bulky cargo.
How do you Track Shipment During Ecommerce Shipping?
Tracking during ecommerce shipping
The seller has to provide the information you are supposed to use for tracking ecommerce shipping progress on order page.
The website should be user-friendly to enable you to access and view the status of your shipment.
Primarily, you’ll need to visit your account and check on orders.
The next step involves viewing the details of the order you are tracking.
Follow the details and prompts accordingly on the website, and you’ll be able to monitor your order status.
Alternatively, if you feel the information provided on the seller is insufficient, you can as well seek services of a third-party tracking company.
How do you Manage Orders in Ecommerce Shipping?
There are several approaches you can undertake to manage ecommerce shipping orders effectively.
Some of the best practices you can put in place include the following;
· Managing Customers’ Expectations Upfront
Let the customer know how the process works and what to expect beforehand.
It makes it easy for them to make informed decisions.
Therefore, always provide correct product information and confirm availability of stock for the product.
Explain all important information regarding terms and conditions, refund and return policy, and shipping policy, among others.
It makes the buyers feel secure, satisfied with results, thus gaining trust, and building loyalty to your brand.
· Automate the Order Processing
Find a way of eliminating any possible human error once the customer has placed an order.
Also, get the fulfillment cycle in motion within the shortest time possible.
Naturally, the faster the customer receives their package, the happier they will be.
And this translates to more sales and more money.
Therefore, integrate your system with other software to enhance efficiency.
Systems integration helps in streamlining the process.
· Arrange your Warehouse for Efficiency
A well-organized warehouse enhances efficiency since you know exactly when a particular product is.
It increases speed of picking and packing of the orders.
You end up saving on time and cost, making your customer happy, ultimately.
· Focus on Speed and Accuracy
Always ensure you pick and pack the right commodities for each order accordingly.
Double-check to confirm whatever is packed is correct and not damaged.
It prevents cases of returns and denting of your brand’s reputation.
· Ship as Faster as You can
Irrespective of the mode of shipping the customer chooses, when they get their orders faster than expected, they become happier.
· Loop your Customer throughout the Process
You must communicate with your customer all through.
Keep them informed and let them know the status of their orders.
You can automated communication but also ensure you personalize the message to every customer.
It helps in building more trust and strengthening the relationship.
How do you Handle Ecommerce Returns?
In ecommerce shipping, the aspect of returns is inevitable.
It usually arises for different reasons.
However, how you deal with the issue has a significant impact on your business.
Studies show that ideal return policies tend to increase sales without necessarily increasing volumes of the returns.
Unquestionably, returns, if not handled appropriately, can be costly to your business.
It can attack your profit margin gut conversion rates and, in the long run, threaten sustainability of your business.
Here are some of the best approaches for handling returns in ecommerce shipping;
· Have a Clear Ecommerce Return Policy
Illustrate and publish a transparent policy regarding returns.
It should also be easy to find on your website or portal.
The reason here is a clear and easy to read return policy has a way of building trust with the buyers.
It helps in increasing the likelihood of someone to shop on your portal.
It also helps in reducing the number of calls to your representatives concerning returns, which is vital in saving time and money.
· Cater for Returns Shipping Costs
Returns can attack your margins significantly, but you have to bear the cost of shipping the same.
Even so, you do a few things to reduce the margin should instance of returns increase.
For instance, you can choose to limit your return policy by providing clear terms.
One way is by limiting free returns only if a customer meets a specific cart size.
You can say return shipping is only offered on orders above a certain amount.
In essence, it prevents you from spending more shipping costs on a relatively low-cost product.
· Re-engage the Clients
Naturally, the customer will be the first to call for the need to return the shipment.
Most of them are always upset and frustrated.
However, you can still get creative and lure him/her to ensure you maintain the relationship.
After a return, and successive re-shipping where applicable, re-engage with your customer to maintain the vibrancy of your relationship.
· Design Easy-to-print Return Labels
Make the return process as simple as possible.
It enables the buyers to return the shipments faster and with less hassle.
Faster returns also allow you to manage your inventory effectively.
Faster return process also protects you from return fraud, which can be occasioned by some buyers who want to take advantage.
Therefore, create a return list outlining all items, which are sent back.
The picklist makes it easy to keep your customers honest and enhances efficiency in order re-fulfillment.
· Make the Deadlines for Return Clear
Set and print a clear timeline for the returns.
It should be practical from the aspect of setting expectations for the period for customers to return the items.
It prevents you from blame should the customer fails to return the consignment within the deadline.
It allows you to predict revenue given you book profit for sales older than return deadline without any fears of possibility of giving a refund.
· Accept Returns via Ecommerce Shipping or In-store
Studies show that many customers often prefer to make returns to a physical store.
If you have a physical store, this is advantageous since it gives you the chance to upsell.
Chances are high; a customer returning a product in-store will buy another product if convinced to do so.
What is Ecommerce API?
It refers to the communication model, in which various ecommerce applications share information between them easily and seamlessly.
Simply put, it refers to how different ecommerce programs are integrated and share data among them flawlessly.
Most ecommerce software developers provide developer APIs, which enable easy integration of their programs with other systems.
The essence of ecommerce API is to improve your platform’s functionality as well as enhance user experience.
Some of the common examples of ecommerce application program interface (API) include the following;
Amazon API Gateway
- Log in API
- Product information API
- Cart API
- Shipping API
- Payment API
- Price comparison API
- Currency exchange API
- Catalog API
- Site search API
- Sales tax API
- Marketing automation API
- Anti-fraud API
- Affiliate API
Which Ecommerce Shopping Cart can you Integrate with Ecommerce Shipping?
There are quite several ecommerce shopping carts in the market to choose from.
Some of the popular ones include the following;
- X cart
- Zen cart
- Royal Mail
- Global post
- Australia post
- DHL express
Which Ecommerce Shipping Software Tools can you Recommend?
Ecommerce shipping software are fundamental tools in enhancing efficiency, quality, speed, and overall experience of this service.
Nowadays, there are a myriad of software you can use for ecommerce shipping. But you have to be particular when picking the right one, which suits your needs.
Some of the recommended ideal options include the following;
Shippo – It is a comprehensive-serviced platform, which offers a solid solution with plenty of features. It has a flexible pricing model and includes integration of various ecommerce shipping platforms.
Sellbrite – It is a full-serviced platform, which you can customize to include inventory management plans. It is easy to use and to integrate with your pre-existing system.
Shipstation – It is a cost-effective, web-based platform, which is reasonably intuitive to use.
It offers dozens of integration with other software, ideal for ecommerce shipping, tracking, and payment methods.
Ordoro – This is an ideal ecommerce shipping software, which offers basic features such as automation and barcode scanning.
You can also access advanced plans such as dropshipping, kitting, and supply management, among others.
Shippingeasy – It is a suitable, beginner-friendly ecommerce shipping software to go for.
It enables you to calculate shipping for various classes and services.
You can also synchronize and track orders remotely through an intuitive board.
Metapack – It is a program, which serves as a single integration point for several carriers all over the world.
This software is suitable for larger brands and retailers, and it offers efficiency in streamlining operations.
Shipmonk– This is a computer program, which offers comprehensive order fulfillment services.
It also features inventory management, discounted shipping rates, multichannel integration, and email notifications, among others.
Which Ecommerce Order Fulfillment Models should you Choose?
Several factors determine the choice model for ecommerce order fulfillment.
For instance, order volume, type of products, or what you’re willing to manage, among others.
The common models you can opt for include the following;
Ecommerce order fulfillment
· Merchant Fulfillment Model
It is also known as in-house order fulfillment or self-fulfillment.
It refers to the type of model, which occurs when a merchant accomplishes every step of the fulfillment process internally.
In other words, the merchant requires zero assistance from a third-party or drop-shipper in terms of providing logistics.
It is a popular model among startup merchants trying to manage their inventories and pack orders at home.
It is ideal for small to medium order volumes fulfilled from home to businesses in a comparatively large scale and extensive facilities.
However, it gets to a certain level where a merchant outgrows this model and begin to outsource fulfillment services.
It is less intensive and requires aspects of securing a warehouse space, acquiring necessary equipment, and staffing it.
It also calls for obtaining ideal licensing warehouse management software and acquiring comprehensive and liability insurance cover for workers.
The advantage of this model is that anyone can do it as long as you have space for storing commodities.
It also provides full control of inventory and the entire process, including picking, packing, and shipping.
Merchant fulfillment model is cost-effective and offers a competitive edge when negotiating shipping rates for large volume shipments.
Nevertheless, this model is time-consuming, and the process can take up most of your time as orders increase.
It also becomes costly as the business grows since you’ll need to upgrade in all aspects.
· Dropshipping Model
A simple meaning ofdropshipping is that the merchant hardly holds commodities in their online outlets.
In this case, the manufacturer is responsible for producing, storing, and shipping the products.
The buyer places an order to the merchant’s online store.
It is then forwarded to the manufacturer or supplier, be it manually or automatically.
The supplier gets order notification and dropships the commodity directly to the customer.
In simple words, the buyers have to wait for shipping of the product from different parts of the world.
This model is in full hands of the supplier hence restricting your control over order fulfillment and inventory management.
One advantage of dropshipping is that it’s quite affordable since it has low overhead costs.
It is also easy to start as long as you can fully focus on strategic sales.
It also allows you to expand to newer markets quite faster where you can set up dropshipping services.
Additionally, it enables your brand to grow as you continue establishing and building businesses with different suppliers.
However, one shortcoming of this model is a competitive disadvantage.
You are competing on several grounds, including price, which is difficult to control.
It also doesn’t provide quality control since the merchant is eliminated from the fulfillment process.
This model also hardly supports customization of products, which can be disadvantageous to some buyers.
Logistic issues can become tricky, the more the business expands, particularly when it comes to coordinating with multiple dropshippers.
· Third-party Fulfillment Model
Models of ecommerce fulfillment model
It involves outsourcing an independent entity to accomplish the entire order fulfillment process on your behalf.
It often occurs when the merchant has limited space for stock or doesn’t have any interest in managing the inventory.
It can also happen when the seller has a tight schedule, limited staff, or needs more time to focus on other projects, among others.
The advantage of this model is it allows you to cut on cost revolving around warehouse space, software, license, and staffers, among others.
It also enables you to purchase inventory in bulk as a way of enhancing profit margins.
Moreover, it increases convenience since you’ll entrust the entity with the entire process.
The main shortcoming of this model is possibility of compromising quality.
This can lead to dent relationships with your customers.
What is the Cheapest Means of Shipping for Small Business in Ecommerce?
It varies depending on many factors include the specific timeframes, weight, and size of the cargo.
It also depends on the delivery destination and the particular courier service provider.
Nonetheless, Ocean freight remains the cheapest mode of ecommerce shipping for a small business.
Most of sea freight shippers often charge relatively low rates for transporting goods to different destinations.
Ocean freight also offers the most competitive freight rates for shippers, particularly for long-distance.
Which Document do you need in Ecommerce Shipping?
Commercial invoice – It is a document issued by the seller to the customer.
It captures the nature of transactions, such as the quantity, description, and cost of the items.
Bill of Lading – It is a comprehensive list of a carrier’s cargo in form of a receipt issued by shipmaster to the consignee of the goods.
Packing list – It is a document that displays all the items the shipment contains. It also shows the quantity and weight of all the goods of the shipment.
Comparatively, ocean freight is about four to six times less expensive than other means of ecommerce shipping methods.
Clearly, it explains the reason it is the most affordable means of shipping for small businesses, especially over long distances.
Certificate of origin – It is an official document substantiating the country a consignment comes from. It is the dealer or vendor who prepares it.
Insurance certificate–It is a document outlining the terms and conditions under which the shipment is covered from imminent shipping risks.
Freight invoice – It is a document indicating the shipping details and applicable charges.
Test report – It is a document demonstrating the commodity you are shipping meets the minimum quality standards.
Seller guarantee – It is issued by the seller as a guaranteeing the genuinity of the product.
Technical write-up – It is a document illustrating the purpose or function of the commodity the online merchant is selling to the customer.
Which Incoterms can use in Ecommerce Shipping?
It’s important to understand the ropes of international shipping to satisfy the foreign customer base.
Ecommerce shipping incoterms primarily describe roles of each party, costs, and corresponding party bearing them.
It also explains the logistics and transportation needs, risks as well as management from the country of origin.
Some of the common incoterms you can use in ecommerce shipping include the following;
It refers to Delivered at Place Unloaded.
It implies commodities can be unloaded at any point in the delivery destination as long as there are facilities.
For instance, warehouse or factories where the goods can be unloaded.
It is an acronym for Delivered Duty Paid.
It means the seller should deliver commodities ready for unloading at a specific named destination.
Such commodities should be cleared for importation with all applicable taxes and duties paid.
It refers to Cost Insurance and Freight.
In this case, it’s the seller’s responsibility to bear the cost of delivering and freight charges.
The seller is also under the obligation to obtain insurance against buyer’s risk of damage or loss during transit.
It stands for Free On Board.
It implies the seller’s obligation is to deliver the commodities on board the vessel at a selected port of shipment.
In this case, the risks and costs are transferred to the buyer.
It stands for Ex-warehouse or Ex-works.
In this case, the seller is regarded to have delivered the goods to the buyer’s premises.
The seller here is not responsible for loading the cargo to a carrier.
It stands for Cost and Freight.
It means the seller bears the responsibility regarding cost and freight in relation to delivery of goods at agreed port of destination.
The risk, in this case, is transferred to the buyer from the seller once goods pass ship’s rail.
FCA or Free Carrier terms spell out that it’s the seller’s responsibility to deliver goods to the carrier at a place designated by a buyer.
The seller’s obligation is only fulfilled upon goods handed over to the nominated carrier or person.
What Role does Freight Forwarder Play in Ecommerce Shipping?
The operations of ecommerce shipping involve a sequential order thus the need for a freight forwarder to perform the following roles;
- Prepares and presents shipment documents necessary for exporting the goods, including bill of lading, airway bill, and CMR, among others.
- Acts as an intermediary when it comes to customs negotiations around the world as a way of guiding the shipment effectively.
- Advices on the best means possible for transporting cargo and conduct procedures for packing, stowing, and loading of the commodities.
- Liaises with the customs agents to confirm items and paperwork comply with the customs regulations.
- Advices on cost of export, which include documentation fee, freight cost, insurance, and port charges, among others.
- Reserves and contracts necessary cargo space on an aircraft, ship, truck, or train.
- Advises and contracts insurance for transportation of the consignment on behalf of the customer or importer.
- Plans the most suitable route for a shipment while factoring in the perishable or hazardous goods, transit time, cost, and safety.
- Uses ecommerce satellite systems and internet services to facilitate real-time tracking of the shipment in transit.
What are the Mode of Payments in Ecommerce Shipping?
You can use a myriad of payment options in ecommerce shipping.
The popular ones, however, include the following;
Credit/debit card payment – It is one of the most convenient payment options for customers to pay online.
Most ecommerce shipping platforms have integrated a credit-debit card payment gateway into their business.
E-wallet – It is a form of payment, which requires users to sign up, create an account, and get it verified.
It allows users to deposit and withdraw money from linked bank accounts.
Some of the popular e-wallets platforms you can use include Alipay and PayPal, among others.
Net banking– It involves the user paying for their transaction directly from their bank account without their debit card.
You merely need to redirect the user to the bank’s website where they can enter their login details.
Money is then deducted from the customer’s account.
It is a convenient, fast, and simple payment option to consider in ecommerce shipping.
Direct carrier payment–Some customers prefer direct billing through their existing utility carrier.
It is thus an ideal payment option you may explore in this business.
Cash on delivery – It simply implies that customer pays for the shipment once they receive it.
It still a popular method among customers who still feel a bit uncomfortable with purchasing online.
Pay on delivery – It is a method of payment method where the customer decides on how to pay once they get the shipment.
It broadens their option based on what suits their needs.
They can opt for credit/debit cards, cash, or mobile wallet.
In this case, the delivery agents need to carry the POS machines and e-wallet details, among others.
Mobile payment – It is a common payment method, especially in regions with low banking and credit card penetration. It offers a quick solution for buyers to pay for ecommerce shipping services.
UPI payment – It is a virtual payment technique, which does not involve sending sensitive details such as account numbers.
In this case, UPI allows you to transfer funds in real-time using a virtual payment address (VPA) via a mobile application.
In summary, once you follow everything highlighted in this guide, you can successfully handle ecommerce shipping from China.
However, in case you have inquiries or questions, feel free to contact BanSar team – we are here to make your ecommerce shipping easy and simple.