Business today is not the same as it was in the past. The advent of the internet has led to a sea change in numerous industries. According to eMarketer’s forecast, the size of ecommerce will expand to $4 trillion by 2020. Selling products online is now the way most companies make money period. As such, many small companies may wish to move into ecommerce. However, shipping and handling can be difficult for newcomers. Here are some tips you can use to improve your shipping up to professional standards that customers are sure to appreciate.
Provide Shipment Tracking
One thing that is absolutely integral to shipping these days is providing customers with the ability to track their packages as they make their journey from the warehouse to their doorstep. Another thing you can do is use drop ship companies to support your shipping. One of the keys to maintaining customer satisfaction is keeping customers updated on the status of their package. Without that information, they are more likely become frustrated and unsatisfied. Make sure your shipping partners can supply you with updated tracking that can be shared with customers. You may even want to send shipping updates via e-mail so they are never left in the dark.
Make the Return Process Simple
One of the biggest areas even the largest companies fail in regards to shipping is the returns process. A survey from a few years ago stated that 42 percent of respondents said they wished the returns process for ecommerce retailers was easier. Where you like it or not, returns will happen. However, how easy that process is will in a large part determine whether or not you will retain those customers. If they find the returns process difficult, they will likely flee to competitors. One good option you should consider is paying for the return through a carrier like UPS or the United States Postal Service. Expecting customers to pay for their own product returns will always produce a negative reaction. Such carriers also have convenient options for return pick up. The postal service, for example, can pick up the customer’s return in their mail box.
Offer Free Shipping When Possible
As you might expect, customers are most satisfied with an ecommerce website’s shipping and handling when that shipping comes at no extra expense. According to Marketing Land, 90 percent of customers want free shipping from online stores. Unfortunately, shipping and handling are not free for online retailers. Providing free shipping will come at a definite cost that could eat into profits. The solution, however, is to offer free shipping for customers that spend a certain amount in their online shopping cart. If the limit is a $50 minimum for free shipping, you may see many customers spend an extra $5 to $20 to obtain the free shipping. The customer spends more, and the profit margin for that business increases to the point that it helps pay for those shipping-related expenses.
Remove the Possibility of Human Error
Mistakes made during the shipping process can be costly. You could lose not only money on that shipment but a long term revenue stream from that customer. When you can, try to automate the process with software to help remove the possibility for human error. For example, you could implement address validation software. Before the package is mailed, the destination address will be checked to make sure it’s accurate. If there was a mistake, this can be addressed well before the package is sent into the mail.
These days, ecommerce is more important to the bottom line of companies than ever before. If you want to enter into ecommerce as a small business, one thing you will certainly have to focus on is the effectiveness of your system of delivering packages to customers. If you don’t make that a priority, you will most certainly fail.