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Shipping tools and tips.

After you’ve made a sale, the next step is to safely ship the order to the customer. Shipping can be a challenging aspect of your online business, but good organisation and solid strategies will take you a long way. Keep reevaluating your shipping every six months to see if you can make any improvements, as this is crucial for your success. It will take time and a few adjustments to develop the best and most efficient shipping service. Here are a few handy tools and tips:

Know your shipping costs

In general, a good understanding of all of your costs is vital to the success of any business, and shipping costs are no exception. Shipping rates vary according to package size, package weight, origin address and destination address, plus extras like tracking and insurance. This can equal a significant expense, and if you aren’t careful, you could end up losing a lot of money.

Always perform detailed calculations before finalising your shipping strategies and costs – you may be surprised by how quickly the charges add up! Never ever guess when it comes to costs. Despite your best efforts, you may still lose money on some orders, as the shipping cost could end up being more than you anticipated. However, the shipping cost on other orders could end up being cheaper than you anticipated, which means it is likely to all balance out in the end. This is why it is so important to know your costs, so that you can carefully assess all of your shipping transactions on a large scale (per month for example, instead of per order) and see where there is room for improvement.

Remember that you can also promote up-sells and cross-sells to your customers! Generally, the more products a customer adds to their shopping cart, the better it is for your profit margins. This is an effective way to help make up for possible losses as a result of high shipping costs.

Know your product dimensions and weights

When you are creating your product listing, be sure to measure and weigh your product so that you can add those details to your listing. This info will help streamline your entire shipping process. It will also allow you to research the shipping costs beforehand, so you know exactly what to charge your customer. Not only will this help you attain a better understanding of your shipping costs, it will also help you stay ahead of your competitors by being super efficient and providing your customers with all of the info ahead of time.

Create solid shipping methods

Before actually shipping any of your products, you need to decide how you are going to ship them. This means developing reliable shipping strategies and methods, which will vary according to your needs. At you can choose from the following shipping methods: Local Pickup, Flat Rate Shipping and Free Shipping. Using a combination of shipping methods and a little bit of ingenuity, you can deliver a 5-star shipping experience. For example, you could offer free standard shipping with a delivery time of 2 – 3 weeks, as well as expedited shipping for a flat fee with a delivery time of 1 – 2 days. This strategy allows you to balance your revenue needs with promotional opportunities, while providing the customer with various options. There are dozens of strategies to choose from, so carefully research and develop the best ones for your business.

Part of this process also involves meticulously comparing the shipping companies you could use – don’t just pick the first one you find. Some companies may offer better delivery times (such as same-day delivery instead delivery in 3 – 5 days) or better shipping rates. Choose wisely.

Display your processing time

As a customer, knowing when you can expect a delivery is very important. This is why it is good practice to show an estimated time frame on all product listings. Customers are becoming more impatient and have many online stores to choose from. Give them a reason to choose your store by setting realistic expectations, which could save you a few headaches later on. Even if your delivery times are longer than usual, don’t be shy about displaying them – providing some sort of time frame is better than nothing. More importantly, don’t lie about the delivery time or try to deceive the customer into thinking the time is less than what it actually is. Displaying a processing time that’s unrealistic will probably result in complaints and negative reviews. In contrast, offering a very short processing time can lead to mistakes. If you’re a new business, don’t feel pressured into offering speedy delivery times right away, especially while you are still trying to figure things out.

The Processing Time shown on your product listings should include the time it takes you to pack and ship items (your handling time), as well as the time it takes for your courier service to deliver. Add these two times together to determine your processing time, so that customers have a good estimate of their delivery date. To learn how to set your processing time, read this article.

Use fulfillment services

Fulfillment services, such as ShipStation, can help automate your shipping service, as they can handle the shipping for you. If you choose to use a fulfillment service, you store your products at one of their warehouses. When you receive an order, they will pack and ship it for you. This of course depends on the level of integration between your store and the fulfillment service. The benefit of this service is usually shorter shipping times, however, it might be more costly than your usual shipping methods. Again, carefully research all of your options to decide if this is the right route for your business. To integrate Shipstation with your store, read this article.

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