How to Choose the Best eCommerce Shipping Provider
Are you looking for an eCommerce shipping provider for your business? Read this guide to learn how to choose the best one.
You've found your suppliers, made your website, prepared your product lineup, and set up your warehouse. Your eCommerce site is ready to go, right?
Not quite. If you're still handling shipments on a case by case basis, you're giving up more money and time than you need to be. The key is to choose a primary carrier.
How do you know which carrier is the best shipping company for your eCommerce shipping needs? These tips can help.
Tips to Select an eCommerce Shipping Provider
Your shipping strategy is a big part of your eCommerce business, so choosing the right online order fulfillment provider can make a huge difference in your bottom line. These tips can help you choose the best shipping company for your specific needs.
Make Sure Your Carrier Ships to All Your Locations
First and foremost, you need to make sure your carrier can access all the areas where you want to ship. If you want to do business internationally, don’t assume all nationwide eCommerce shipping companies will deliver overseas too.
Along these same lines, make sure you find out the rates for international as well as domestic deliveries.
One carrier might have better domestic prices while a different company is more affordable internationally. If the majority of your shipments are heading out of the country, it makes more sense to make your choice based on international rates.
Consider the Convenience
Price is a major aspect of choosing your carrier, but it isn't the only one. Time is money, so you want to make sure your carrier has a convenient set-up as well.
If you're not convinced yet, take a moment to calculate how much your time is worth. If it takes you an hour to go to your carrier's office, stand in line, check out, and get back to business, that's money out of your pocket.
Will your carrier come and pick up your packages, or do you have to go to their facility yourself? If they do pick-ups, how prompt and reliable are they? These are all questions you need to ask during your search.
Ask About Special Circumstances
A common mistake for new eCommerce businesses is that they forget to account for their packages' contents when they choose a carrier.
Certain items like chemicals and potential hazards require special handling. Some carriers charge far more for these types of shipments. Others may not accept these packages at all.
As you're comparing carriers, make sure you discuss the types of materials you plan to ship and whether each shipping provider can accommodate you.
Find the Best Rates for Your Volume Level
We've already talked about how the "where," "what," and "how" of your shipments will affect your price. Let's talk about the "how much."
Most shipping providers offer different price ranges based on how much you ship too. Make sure you find out the pricing for each volume level.
For instance, let's say your business is small now but you're planning to scale up in a major way over the next year or two. You don't want to pay out the nose today for a carrier that won't have reasonable prices until your business has grown.
Speaking of scaling up your business, you want a carrier that can go the distance with you. Choosing a shipping provider can be a tedious process, and you don't want to go through it all again in a year.
Instead, look for a carrier who can provide you with great service today but also has the resources to serve you when you're much larger.
Your shipment is a major part of your customer service experience. You make promises to customers about when their items will arrive, and your carrier needs to be able to live up to those expectations. You're the one whose reputation suffers if your carrier lets you down.
As you consider each carrier, ask about their typical delivery times to various regions. Go a step further, though, and find out how often they actually meet those time expectations. You need a carrier who can deliver your items on time every time...or as close to it as possible.
Ask About Tracking Procedures
Today's customers have expectations when they shop online, and shipment tracking is one of those expectations.
Customers want to know when their packages will arrive. This helps them know if they're on time while also letting them make arrangements so they're ready when the package arrives.
Likewise, you want to be able to track shipments yourself. You need documentation to ensure that your shipments reach your customers on time.
Talk to each carrier you're considering to see what tracking procedures they have in place. Make sure their interface is easy to follow and that they keep up with your packages' progress.
Don't Force Yourself to Stick to One Carrier
There are many different shipping services for businesses. To make things as easy as possible, every business wants to align with a single carrier. That might not be realistic, though. Don't be afraid to have multiple carriers available for different circumstances.
For example, you probably want to have a primary carrier for most shipments. When you have a local delivery, though, you might want to call on a short distance courier or local shipping company. Perhaps you have other times when you're shipping chemicals that need to be handled with care, and a different carrier is better with these types of packages.
While you'll mostly work with your primary carrier, there's nothing wrong with having arrangements with other carriers too. Have their information handy so they can step in when you need them.
Setting Up Your Business for Success with Shipping
Your carrier will have a large impact on your business. Their prices will affect your bottom line and can destroy your profit margin if you aren't careful. If they don't do their job well, they can also damage your reputation with your customers.
Choosing a primary provider for your eCommerce shipping isn't a process you should take lightly. The tips above can help you find the best shipping company for your unique business.
If you're ready to start streamlining your business' shipping process at great prices, contact our eCommerce shipping experts.