FirstMile specializes in complete front-end shipping solutions for domestic and international shippers in eCommerce and direct-to-consumer industries.
With eCommerce sales expected to surpass $7 trillion by 2025, you may be thinking about starting an online business. If you already operate a walk-in store, you’ve probably considered expanding to eCommerce sales. It’s hard to resist tapping into the increasingly significant portion of customers who prefer to shop online.
Whether your business is new or an expanding brick-and-mortar enterprise, don’t overlook the importance of choosing a shipping solutions professional retail managers can depend on.
Whether your customers make purchases online or phone in their orders, effective pack-and-ship solutions can streamline your operation and help your business build brand name loyalty. The right shipping companies should meet the unique needs of your operation and accommodate your customers’ preferences while also providing enough flexibility to expand your business.
Your choice of a shipping solution company should include the following considerations:
An additional factor to consider is whether your shipping partner can provide real-time rates. You’ll find that there’s an advantage to working with a shipping solution company that offers real-time delivery cost information.
Your customers can get accurate and immediate shipping costs that reflect their preferred delivery method and speed. Obtaining real-time carrier rates means your products will ship with the assurance nobody overpays or underpays for the delivery charges.
If you’re planning on entering the global market now or in the future, deciding on a shipping solution should include some important considerations:
Unless yours is a large enterprise with a well-staffed logistics department, you’ll appreciate investing in a company that will show you the best way to ship products for small business operations entering the international arena. You’ll also need to be sure that any online shipping arrangements you look into can service all the countries you may be shipping to.
Bear in mind that your global outreach could expand; you’ll be in good shape to accommodate your expansion if you choose a shipping solution that can cover a wide range of countries. You can add flags to your website’s header or navigation bar to let visitors know what countries you ship to.
Overall, you’ll be better off teaming up with a comprehensive shipping partner that provides international solutions even if you currently offer only domestic delivery service. Taking advantage of the increase in sales international deliveries will bring can boost your profit margin, but you should also remain prepared to facilitate that expansion without needing to go through too much fuss.
Consider partnering with a shipping provider that can easily turn on international services for you when needed.
One particular scenario that eCommerce businesses would prefer to avoid is customers adding one or more items to their online shopping cart and then leaving the retailer’s website without completing the order. You may see this referred to as cart abandonment; regardless of shoppers’ enthusiasm for their selected items, they don’t make it past the checkout stage.
Based on surveys, almost half of the cart abandonments in 2022 were the result of customers discovering the cost of shipping and other fees at the checkout stage. This can be especially relevant in international deliveries which could include hefty tariffs and import taxes. You can, however, take steps to mitigate the “checkout shock” factor that often leads to cart abandonment.
A no-surprises approach, which lets online shoppers know all costs before they checkout, can go a long way. You can, for example, clarify who will be responsible for paying international taxes and tariffs before more customers head for the checkout page.
You can also make note of the range of available shipping options so that customers can choose what best suits their preferences and cost expectations. Providing online shoppers with upfront real-time carrier rates can make a difference in reducing cart abandonment while also improving the overall customer experience. These capabilities should be part of the decision-making process when choosing a shipping solution for small business operations that don’t have full-scale logistics departments.
Once you have worked out the details with your chosen shipping partner, you can outline all of your customers’ delivery options and costs on your website’s policy pages. To help avoid any possibility of checkout shock and cart abandonment, consider posting the same information related to post-checkout and delivery issues in as many places as possible.
If you’ve teamed up with the right shipping partner, you may find yourself surprised to learn how easily you can resolve post-checkout issues.
When you choose your shipping partner, your primary goal should be lining up a service that can reliably get your products into your customers’ hands as soon as possible. Nine out of ten customers consider a two- to three-day delivery time as a starting point for their shipping expectations.
If you team up with the wrong shipping service your customers may end up with either long delivery wait times or unexpectedly high shipping costs. Neither result helps you build a loyal and repeat-purchase customer base.
The best shipping solutions for small businesses that want to provide a positive customer experience are those that can offer both speed and economy delivery options. Look for a service that can accommodate economy-based and speedy deliveries both domestically and internationally.
Make sure that your shipping provider can provide reasonable assurances that you’ll always get the best service and price combination available. It will help motivate site visitors to click on “Buy” when you offer a range of delivery options that can fit within your customers’ speed and cost expectations.
Based on what your shipping service can provide, you may also consider adding a delivery option categorized simply as “expedited.” You can use this option as a general term for a faster shipping option than “standard” delivery without committing your business to a specific time frame. Once again, you’ll benefit from discussing this with the shipping services you’re considering.
First impressions count. If a new customer makes an online purchase, has a great web-based shopping experience, and then has delivery problems, you may not see this individual showing up on your website again. How your business reacts to a late-arriving, damaged, or lost package will have much to do with the impression a first-time shopping experience creates.
Reimbursing the customer for the purchase cost of an item lost or damaged during shipment shows good business sense; it may also impress upon the purchaser that it’s great doing business with your company. It becomes impractical, however, for your business to absorb the cost of goods lost or damaged during shipping.
The cost of shipping and handling for small business operations can reflect an overhead that’s best kept under tight control; consider adding shipping insurance to your must-have list. You’ll appreciate the peace of mind and added sense of security to avoid any costly mistakes.
Look for a shipping solution that provides lost and damaged package insurance coverage as part of its standard service offering. The speed and ease of filing a claim are worthy of consideration; you don’t want to wait too long after you’ve already reimbursed a customer for a lost or damaged product delivery.
Reliable and updated tracking information also plays a major role in your shipping company’s ability to remain in control of the shipping process. Both you and your customers benefit when packages remain easy to locate throughout their journey to the customer’s door, especially in the case of international shipments.
Your ability to access helpful online shipping and tracking tools can help reduce your expenditure of time, effort, and money. The effectiveness of the shipping solutions professional online retailers rely on can often be a matter of how well their systems can track and locate in-transit packages.
Have you ever wondered “How do small businesses ship their products effectively and without incurring the costs of an onsite logistics department?” For the best answer, consider the many advantages of an offsite order fulfillment service.
Small business shipping services can also come bundled into an all-inclusive package that combines:
Successful online purchase transactions depend on everything going smoothly from the time of the customer’s online checkout up to when the package arrives safely at its destination. The entire process should progress quickly and accurately. These two factors can determine whether or not your business makes a positive first impression. You want a first-time customer to become a repeat customer.
The warehousing, order processing, and delivery costs for small business operations can often account for a significant portion of a company’s operating budget. Partnering with a professional order fulfillment and shipping service can reduce operating costs, speed up purchase processing (instead of the traditional manual process) and eliminate the need for expensive warehouse space.
It can also integrate into your fulfillment process a knowledgeable and experienced call center team to handle customers’ shipping inquiries and respond to issues involving lost packages or returns.
A state-of-the-art fulfillment service can add a wide range of additional capabilities to your order processing chain, such as SKU management. The alphanumeric scannable codes that make up stock-keeping units identify a retailer’s products and enable accurate and more efficient inventory tracking.
SKUs play an important role in making sure that inventory levels reflect customer demand. You’ll appreciate an integrated shipping solutions automation system that can help prevent customers from running into “Out of stock” advisories when they’re ready to purchase their favorite items.
It doesn’t matter whether your operation is a small business or a major enterprise with a global outreach; the way you ship your products to customers affects both your bottom line and your brand name reputation. The issues of cost and delivery speed are not the only vital statistics in your customer fulfillment needs. Your ability to accurately track your deliveries and update their recipients can play a major role in how your customers relate to your business.
There is a maze of shipping options and delivery services to choose from; you and your business will have much to gain from the guidance a shipping solution professional can provide. The expert team of shipping professionals at FirstMile can show you how all your specific domestic and international business needs can fit into one fully integrated, cost-effective, and time-saving solution.
FirstMile offers online retail businesses a fully integrated order processing, tracking, and shipping solution. Warehousing, inventory management, invoicing, and call-in customer service all come with affordable price plans and reliable professionalism.
When you take into consideration the included package insurance and tracking capabilities, you’ll be glad you didn’t wait too long to Contact Us at FirstMile for a customized service quote.