Getting the user to place an order is just half the battle in ecommerce. The second half is shipping the right product to the user in the right amount of time. Doing shipping right is all about meeting customer expectations and meeting them in an efficient and hassle-free manner. Here are few pointers you can use to make ecommerce shipping experience smooth both for the user and your team.
Don’t miss out on free packaging supplies
If you have just started with your online store business you might be looking at minimizing costs and testing out various packaging materials. You can avail free packaging supplies from your fulfilment partner by ordering them online. Here are few popular one’s Fedex, UPS, DHL.
Ship Your Products Safely
Few products are inherently fragile and need a lot of care in packaging and delivery. If the customer finds the product you just shipped is broken she might take to social media and potentially harm your brand. Nothing can be more damaging to your brand and revenue than breakage of a high priced item during transit. You must use a good quality packaging box to ship your product. The box should be taped well. The product should hold its position in the box in spite of rough usage in order to prevent damage. Safety material like styrofoam, bubble wraps, newspaper, and foam can be used for the same.
Keep it light and small
Apart from delivering timely service and great packaging, you will want to ship products in a way that it is cost effective. Shipping pen drives? You don’t need a wooden crate. Shipping t-shirts? You don’t need bubble wraps. Have packaging material of all sizes and types so that you keep it light. Remember that heavier and larger the package higher the shipping rates.
Have shipping info on all pages
Shipping is an important aspect for an online shopper. Your shipping policy should be communicated to all pages including home, category, product and shopping cart page. The advantage with this is that the user is clear about your policy and will not hinder his buying process.
Bellroy places delivery terms on all product pages with an option for users to calculate shipping costs and estimated time of arrival for the country of their choice.
Communicate Delivery Updates
A user is eager to know when the product will arrive once he has placed the order. You can help him fight this apprehension by communicating his order status frequently until the time he receives the order. This can be done using
- Website – While placing the order you can communicate to the user how many days it would take for him to receive the order based on the pin code he enters.
- Email – You can communicate progress about order fulfilment through email. You can start the series with an order confirmation and follow it up by communicating expected time of arrival and delays in delivery if any. You should even place a link wherein the user can track his order online.
- SMS – You can send personalized SMS to the user to inform when his order will be delivered. This will make him be available during that time of the day to receive the order. This will result in higher delivery success rate.
- Current orders in user account – You can show a timeline of events like Order Placed > Order Dispatched > Order Shipped > Order Delivered to the user account.
- Give users a tracking link – This helps users understand where exactly the product is and when they can expect the product delivered. Amazon uses a timeline of updates and keeps notified about each update on its order tracking page. It gives users an option to track the delivery on their mobile phones too.
Have A Refund Policy
The refund policy is set of terms you have to communicate to the customer in case the user decides to return the product. If you have a product return policy you can have a refund policy which claims initiation of payment the day you receive the product. Refund policy has to mention other nuances about the product state and quality received upon return and the conditions in which refunds are held true or false.
Made.com uses refunds section to explain the number of days the refund will be made in based on payment method.
International shipping cost and country regulations
International shipping costs are usually high and are subject to country regulations. Your ecommerce platform has to have an international shipping calculator. You should have a plan on how you want to treat users who expect products delivered abroad. Your shipping policy might be different from within the country and abroad. You must also be aware that not all products are eligible for shipping to every country in the world. Countries have their own import and customs policies which you must abide by. You can use UPS Import/Export country regulations tool to see which countries accept shipping of your products.
Allowing free returns will eliminate the fear of a wrong purchase from the eyes of the customer. Giving users the option to return the product in case they didn’t like the product will help them have the courage to check out in the first place. An online store should have a clear return policy. Return policy should mention the following aspects to the user while he or she is purchasing the product.
- Return Window – You must clearly mention how many days a product return holds true. For perishable goods, you might not accept returns but for Jewelry, you might have a return window of 30 days.
- Return Condition – Not all returned products come in the same condition as it was shipped. A damaged product which is received at your warehouse is a customer liability and no refunds should be made from your end. This needs to be mentioned clearly on your end.
- Refunds – Customers expect a refund the day they initiate a return. But the product needs to be checked for damages once it is received at your warehouse and then a refund has to be initiated.
- Return Logistics – In case the user wants to return the product do you have an arrangement which can help him do the same? Or does he have to reach out to a courier company to return the product by himself?
Place a plan for Return Logistics
Returns instil buying confidence in the user. Return logistics is shipping the product back to your warehouse when a user decides to return the product. Your fulfilment company should offer this service. If not you have to tie up with another third-party service which deals with returns. Having good return logistics makes it easy for both the customer and your business.
As per VWO survey high and unexpected shipping costs are one of the reasons most customers abandon shopping carts. At the same time giving away free shipping on all products is very taxing for any business. For a low priced item giving away free shipping could imply losses in the long run. Online retailers can solve this by having a smarter shipping strategy.
- Have free shipping if the checkout cost reaches average order value. Example: Free shipping above $100.
- Have free shipping only on select items which have higher profit margins
- Reduce checkout surprise by mentioning shipping costs upfront
- Know import and excise duty on your products using online dutycalculator
Give Users Multiple Delivery Options
Giving users multiple delivery options will increase the likely hood of conversions. Shipping costs have long known to be a barrier to conversion. Giving options to a user will give them an option to choose between cost and convenience.
- Make a list of top Shipping and Fulfillment partners in your target market area. Start by looking up their reviews online and do background checks of its authenticity in your local business groups.
- Gather your team and brainstorm on the best shipping terms you can provide to your customer without affecting your per unit margins. Decide on shipping costs, the time needed for refund, return policy, the possibility of international shipping and order communication.
- Once you have agreed to terms document them. These terms should be added to your website and should be communicated to your fulfilment partner.