August 25th, 2014

E-commerce Challenges: Choosing a Shipping Partner.

Category:E-Commerce, Hara Partners | Posted By Mai Erne at 10:00 AM

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Finding the right shipping partner is one of the biggest e-commerce challenges.

One of the biggest e-commerce challenges is finding a sensible middle ground for shipping charges. Charge too little and there’s no profit left, charge too much and your shoppers will go elsewhere. In fact, research has shown that shipping charges is the single largest cause of cart abandonment, with over 44% of buyers ditching because delivery fees were simply too costly.

Still, shipping is perhaps the most vital aspect of e-commerce as far as consumer perception is concerned. Evidence of this is that the paramount feature of the Google Trusted Stores designation is verified shipping estimates.

Read on for some insight into finding the right shipper for you.

Your Market:

Do you ship locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally? For local and regional shippers smaller, region-based shippers may be the best option, but if yours is a global operation, the smaller carriers clearly aren’t for you.

Your Products:

Many carriers are unable to ship “specialty” items. Some won’t ship very small packages, and some won’t ship overly large ones. Items requiring special care – electronic or medical equipment, food items, etc. – will also limit your options. Finally, if your products are consider offering insurance options

Tracking:

Providing tracking information to your customers is an absolute must. Whether shopping on Etsy or Amazon, consumers in today’s market take it for granted that tracking information will be provided, not fulfilling that expectation is one way to guarantee a customer won’t be back for a second purchase.

Average Order Size:

Regardless of how great the prices your shipper offers, if they can’t meet your demand they are useless. One thing to be wary of; shippers will usually charge different prices for different size packages, makes sure to read the contract carefully to ensure your biggest needs get the best prices.

Shipping Speed and Reliability:

An important question to ask a prospective shipping partner is how long it will take for your products to reach their destinations. Customer expectation is very high in this regard, and speedy shipping is a big factor in customer retention. A second question, perhaps of even greater import, is whether the shipper will meet his stated delivery dates. Slow shipping can be forgiven, missed delivery times never are.

Integration:

Does the shipper have an API that will work with your e-com platform? Robust integration will save you time when it comes to processing. And time, as everyone knows, equals money.

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