Let me say straight out this is a huge topic for a short post. However, there is one small aspect that I want to address here—and yet it’s so big it can affect a seller’s entire business. That is, the lack of clarity about how to charge customers for shipping.
This decision, although seemingly small, is of major consequence. So in order to have an effective ecommerce shipping strategy, and, by extension, a successful business, you need to dive in, do the research, and gather the facts and numbers.
Then develop a plan.
But be flexible. For instance, your method of shipment may vary depending on what is being shipped and where it is being sent. Likewise, you may decide that it’s best to have several contingency plans when it comes to how you handle shipping charges.
The major shipping carriers (USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL) calculate shipping costs based on three things:
- Destination and origination
- Weight and dimensions of package
- Shipping times requested
It’s always good to compare pricing to see who offers the best deals over time.
Defer Live Rates to Customers
Live rate shipping is not necessarily a great promotional tool. However, it can still be a competitive and dependable way to defer costs to the customer.
Use a One-Size-Fits-All Flat Rate
Charging a flat rate can be an effective ecommerce shipping strategy, especially if your products are small and easy to ship.
Offer Free Shipping or Alternatives
Let’s face it. In this day and age of Amazon Prime, it’s hard to stay competitive without at least considering offering some kind of free shipping to your customers.
But if free shipping is not your thing, then here are some good alternatives to offer:
- Standard shipping + Expedited shipping
- Free shipping + Standard shipping + Expedited shipping
- Heavily reduced shipping rates: cut by 50-75%
In the end, a successful ecommerce shipping strategy is one that satisfies both you and the buyer. Not only that, but it is also plays a major role in converting visitors into paying, repeat customers.
What are your thoughts on this topic? Please feel free to leave a comment below!
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