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Initial considerations about shipping for e-commerce
Shipping is one of the most important parts of any ecommerce. In fact, from a personal point of view, packages are the only physical contact that the customer has with our business. It’s the final result of our entire business relationship and, in turn, our main business card. Packaging in this world was born out of the need to protect the order placed by the customer. However, as the world of online shopping has evolved, consumer habits have also changed, so the shopping experience has had to go beyond the screen to get even closer to the user.
In this blog we have already dedicated some posts to this topic, because we realized that there’s really a lack of content around this subject. At first we gave you these tips on how to pack correctly, because, precisely, the most important thing of all is that the package is safe enough to arrive in optimal conditions. It’s important to choose quality items and, especially, that they’re suitable for the type of product we intend to send.
Another topic that we’ve already talked about, directly related to packages, is the“marketing of shipments“. We did a post some time ago where we listed and detailed a series of marketing strategies when sending orders. Such as discount coupons, free merchandise inside the order, small surprises, cross selling, handwritten notes…
Well, this time we’re going to dedicate this post to this whole topic again, but instead of focusing on a specific thing, such as packaging or marketing that you can do in a shipment, we’re going to talk, in a generic tone, about what really worries retailers: How to improve your ecommerce shipping
E-commerce shipping, the most important things to take into account
Well, this is the main point and the first thing to do. Go to your logistics operator and ask for a price review, after having made a comparison with other transport companies. It is essential that you familiarize yourself with the history of your shipments. You need to identify the rates that appear most frequently and focus on negotiating those areas. Don’t be shy about discussing a better price for your shipments, because if you have a good number of them on a regular basis, they’ll be the first ones interested in having you as a customer (you provide them good work). Telling them about better quotes from other companies is usually a good way to get them to negotiate rates again. Don’t be afraid to be aggressive and haggle for better percentages (don’t push too hard either, because they’ll get defensive, but don’t fall short if you smell that they can go lower) Remember: They’re not doing you a favor, they’re offering you a service. If it doesn’t meet your expectations or generates unhappy customers, don’t hesitate to switch companies. You don’t owe them anything and they don’t owe you anything. Shipping is part of your business, even if you don’t take care of it yourself, that’s why it’s important that you have a company that lives up to the expectations you generate with your online store.
Elements that you have to include in each shipment (no matter what)
The box, whether it is made of one material or another, the most important thing is that it’s resistant and, if possible, attractive to the point of having some kind of personalization about your ecommerce (the logo, the colors, some drawings…it depends on how much you want to spend).
The stuffing of the box: No matter what you sell, all the products have to be protected and safe with some kind of material that maintains their integrity. Bubble wrap is old-fashioned, and besides, it’s not attractive to look at. Other more eye-catching types of padding can be crumpled cardboard or cardboard cut into strips, as well as air “sleeves”, although they’re very bulky.
The label: This is what identifies your business in the first instance, so it’s important. If you use tissue paper as a product wrapper, you can use a sticker with your brand logo to seal it, or you can also print your brand label on the box itself, as a return address.
Business card/flyers: Here you have an opportunity to put some advertising, as well as a “classic” way of contact. A way to introduce yourself to the customer, and even offer some kind of promotion or discount, taking advantage of the shipment.
The receipt/invoice: Many companies don’t send the invoice with the order, they just do it online, and that’s a mistake. Print your invoices and send them together (freelancers and companies will thank you) Also, think about restaurants’ delivers, they out it inside their boxes and so on, why not do something similar extrapolated to your business?
Handwritten note: We already said it when we talked about shipping marketing, but we emphasize it: In a digital world, where everything is automated and impersonal, a handwritten note thanking us personally for the order and wishing that we like it makes a lot of difference in the perception that the customer may have of our store.
The gift: As with the note, a small merchandising gift or something as simple as some candy puts a smile on the customer’s face.
The sample. Based on the profile of your customer you can consider including a sample of a new product doing a little bit of cross-selling.
Inform the customer at all times
Transparency and control; these two words must be engraved in your heart to manage your shipments. There must be constant communication with the customer, allowing them to know the status of their order at any time. Humans are super suspicious, impatient and complainers, so communication between the two parties will allow you to create a greater degree of trust from the user, and that paranoia of the species will be appeased a little. You also have to take into account the taxes and costs involved in shipping to another country or to a complicated geographical area (for example, the Canary Islands) and show it at all times, so that the user has a clear idea of the total price.
As you can see, there’s a lot of science to shipping. There are many possibilities to do things that reinforce the image and offer an added value of your online store and, above all, that generate confidence in the customer that completes and closes the experience completely. Many times these things are the ones that later generate positive reviews (especially if the customer comes rebounded from a bad experience with another store) and loyalty from your users. Keep in mind that the customer interprets the shipments as part of the shopping experience, so you’ll never be able to throw away the issue that the shipments are managed by a transport company.
We’ll be writing more posts on the subject, but we leave our comments board open, both on the blog and on social networks, so you can tell us your impressions on the subject and if you have any more ideas on how to improve shipments. For everything else, as always, you can find us on our contact form.