There are plenty of factors that can influence your chances of success in today’s ecommerce landscape. The quality of your products, your branding, and even your marketing strategies all play a role. However, few things are more important than the right shipping strategy.
Studies show that nothing alienates loyal customers faster than failing to fulfill your orders. 43% of shoppers will turn their back on retailers that deliver a poor shipping experience.
Investing in an exceptional shipping strategy ensures you can elevate the shopping experience for your customers, improve your brand’s reputation, and increase loyalty. The path to success all starts with making your shipping strategy more efficient.
6 Steps To Succeed In Ecommerce Shipping
An efficient ecommerce shipping strategy leverages technology, resources, and data to ensure you can deliver products to customers or warehouses on time, minimize disruption, and reduce costs.
Here are some of the best ways to make your strategy more efficient.
1. Assemble the Right Team
One of the first things you’re going to need to boost the efficiency of your shipping is the right team. Delivering products to customers across various cities, states, or countries isn’t easy. You need employees who can reliably streamline the process.
Make sure you have a comprehensive, well-trained fulfillment team, who know how to use the right technology to track orders and inventory, package goods according to the right standards, and collaborate with carriers.
If you don’t have your own in-house fulfillment team, the next best option is to consider hiring the services of a fulfillment company. Some brands outsource their fulfillment and delivery strategies to teams that can handle everything from stocking inventory to shipping goods.
2. Work with an Online Freight Forwarder
Outsourcing isn’t the only way to unlock the benefits of partnerships for successful ecommerce. If you’re planning on shipping products to customers around the world, like most ecommerce businesses today, you’re going to need the help of a freight forwarder.
These partners act as intermediaries between your company and shipping carriers. They use their robust network of connections to negotiate great shipping rates, routes, and deals for ecommerce brands.
An online freight forwarder can offer a host of great benefits over traditional freight forwarding partners. With online freight forwarding companies, you can compare shipping rates from multiple carriers on the web, using a simple, up-to-date tool. You can also track the progress of your orders, and communicate with suppliers without endless phone calls.
Not only does all of this make managing global shipments more efficient, but it also means you can take advantage of off-peak rates to send products to warehouses close to your customers in advance. This ensures you can deliver faster global shipping speeds, without higher costs.
3. Leverage the right technology
Speaking of technology, it’s an incredible tool for boosting the efficiency and performance of any ecommerce business. When it comes to optimizing your supply chain and fulfillment processes, there are tons of tools you can use to help you, such as:
- Order management systems: Order management systems help you keep track of your orders and their current status. You can monitor things like which orders are in progress, and even which items have already been delivered to customers or warehouses.
- Warehouse management systems: Warehouse management systems, or “WMS” software, help you organize your warehouses and distribution centers. They can assist with tracking inventory, and ensure your employees can quickly find, pick, and pack orders.
- Inventory management tools: Inventory management tools and software give you a behind-the-scenes view of your current inventory. You can use these tools to track products you’re running out of, and to find your best-selling items.
4. Integrate Tech with your Ecommerce Platform
While the tools mentioned above are excellent for giving you the data and insights you need for an effective shipping strategy, using them all separately isn’t very efficient. Ideally, you should be using tools you can integrate directly with your ecommerce platform software.
Integrating your inventory, warehouse, and order management tools with your ecommerce platform will help you to create automated workflows that speed up processes. For instance, you can use automation features with integrations on platforms like Shopify to ensure that whenever a customer places an order, their information is passed directly to your warehouse team.
The warehouse team can then automatically send information about an order’s progress through to the order management system, and so on.
5. Seek Expert Support
The more your ecommerce business expands, the more complicated your shipping strategy will become. As you branch into new markets and products, you’ll have new challenges to consider. For instance, you might need to think about changing your container choices if you’re shipping easily breakable or perishable goods overseas.
You might need to look into new types of freight, such as ocean, land, and sea freight. You may even need to navigate different customs regulations depending on where your products are heading. Accessing expert support from a freight forwarder, fulfillment company, or shipping expert can help you to prepare for these challenges in advance, and so reduce delays.
6. Track Data and Metrics to Optimize Over Time
Finally, once you’ve implemented your shipping strategy, it’s important to ensure you’re monitoring its success, and looking for ways to constantly optimize and improve your results.
Monitoring things like order fulfillment speeds and accuracy will show you if your packing team is running smoothly. Tracking the number of return requests you get for broken and damaged goods will help you to determine whether you’re using the right shipping methods and packaging. Even reviews and testimonials from customers that mention your shipping times can help you to pinpoint potential issues with your shipping plan.
The more data you collect, the more you can find smart ways to reduce costs, improve customer satisfaction, and preserve audience loyalty.
Investing In Your Shipping Strategy Will Pay Off
While your approach to shipping is just one of the factors that influence the success or failure of your ecommerce company, it’s something you can’t afford to overlook. Investing in making your shipping strategy more efficient will help you not only to save money, but also improve your relationships with customers, and increase your profits in the long term.