How to Optimize Your Online Shipping Logistics

April 14, 2015 - Holly Cardew

When it comes to running an eCommerce store, your online shipping logistics can make all the difference.

The key to a successful eCommerce store is making shipping work for your business, so without further ado, here are five tips that’ll help your business run smoothly and ultimately keep your customers happy!

1. Consider outsourcing your online shipping

If you have certain items that fly off the shelves, it may be worthwhile to partner with a dedicated warehouse operation that can package and deliver orders more rapidly and efficiently than you can in-house.

Services like Shipwire have networks of distribution centers around the world and can scale shipping logistics for small- to medium-sized businesses with minimal hassle, so you can focus on creating and selling great products and leave the delivery to others.

shipwire

2. Tell customers when their orders will arrive

One great way to increase conversions on your eCommerce site is to let your visitors know when their orders will arrive. Amazon is the most prominent example of this; almost any Amazon product page will let the customer know that they can ‘order within X hours for delivery this Friday!’

This message creates a sense of urgency in the customer and is more likely to make them purchase. By giving an actual date — instead of just an open-ended time like ‘within 48 hours’ — the customer can imagine what they will do with the product once it is delivered.

Amazon Online Shipping

3. Throw in free online shipping over a certain minimum order

Research shows that the vast majority of customers prefer free shipping over discounts on the products they purchase — even when the discount saves them more money than the free shipping.

Most people believe that’s because of the psychology of paying for a one-time service (shipping) versus an actual product customers get to enjoy for a long time later.

To make the most of this psychology, it’s best to offer free shipping whenever possible, even if you have to increase the price of your products slightly to do so. Many stores take advantage of the free shipping psychology by offering the perk when customers make a minimum order (often $50-$100). This gives the customer a great incentive to buy a few more items than perhaps they had originally planned.

Zappos Free Online Shipping

4. Get (some of) your boxes and labels for free

UPS, FedEx and USPS all offer free shipping supplies — if you know where to look. USPS only offers Priority Mail supplies, but makes it easy: Just visit this website and request whatever you need.

USPS free supplies for Online Shipping

UPS makes it a bit more difficult. To get free supplies, visit their website and click the ‘Order Supplies’ button on the left-side menu. You’ll need a My UPS account to see what is there, and UPS will limit the amount you can request at any one time.

UPS free supplies for Online Shipping

FedEx follows a similar process. On their website, click the ‘Ship’ menu then select the ‘Order Shipping Supplies’ option. You’ll need a FedEx account, a FedEx ID number and a shipping address.

(Note: FedEx allows you to order a larger amount of free supplies, but all three of these carriers will cut you off if you’re ordering too many!)

Once you run up against the limit of free boxes, take a look at a shipping supply company like ULINE, which offers great prices and all sizes and shapes of shipping packages.

Online Shipping - Box supplies

5. Print your own shipping labels

One of the painful things about shipping logistics is dealing with labels. As a business owner, you don’t want to be running to the post office and waiting in line all the time. The only way out of this is to create and print your own mailing labels at home. It’s not that difficult to do. One of the best services available for this purpose is Endicia.

Endicia is a shipping platform that lets you create and print USPS Priority Mail shipping labels directly from your computer and printer. The software is compatible with Mac and PC, is scalable to your business size and helps you choose the right label for any given package size.

Another great option is Shipping Easy. This platform requires a subscription fee but saves you shipping money by giving you the bulk prices that mail carriers only offer to their highest-volume clients. Even better, Shipping Easy integrates with Endicia to make it easy to print your own labels, all in one convenient and integrated platform.

shipping easy

So put in some work on your shipping logistics!

Your shipping policies, and how well you handle your shipping logistics, can make or break your business. It’s important to take a close look at how you’re getting your products to your customers in order to delight your customers each and every time. So, take a good look at how you’re doing in the shipping department — and don’t be afraid to make smart changes that will improve the customer experience.

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