Shipping & Logistics.
I recommend that you decide what ecommerce shipping options, methods and services you plan on offering to your online customers, before you start on your website development.
- Will you use one shipping company or multiple ones, depending on the product and/or country?
- Will you use the national postal service as a cheaper option?
- Alternatively, will you give multiple service, price and country options?
Speak with a few shipping companies, get price tariffs, and ask about bulk shipping discounts, and what targets you can aim for as you grow and ship in higher quantities. The more you ship, the cheaper each delivery will cost. Also, establish who your competitors use, and other sites you like and trust for ideas.
You need to weigh up the shipping costs you charge to your customers. Decide if they will be free and absorbed in the product price or if you will charge an extra shipping fee on top of the product price. What shipping services will you offer? ‘Next Day Guaranteed’ or a slower service, and will you give various price options? Offering different shipping options gives customers flexibility, as many people are at work Monday to Friday, and may only want their product delivered when they take a specific day off. A next day shipping option would give them this flexibility.
Hot Tip: You may make savings on shipping fees if you ship the products yourself, this can make a huge difference to your profits.
Things do not always go to plan when using third party shipping companies. So expect it, and be ready to get reimbursements when things go wrong: weather delays in winter, busy periods like Christmas and holidays, broken down vans, theft, etc. All of these and more can affect shipping times.
If your customer is out when your courier attempts delivery, you will normally get 2 to 3 more attempts at no extra charge, before your product is ‘Returned to Sender’. You can then resend the item to your customer—but be sure to bill them again for shipping, as your courier will charge you. Detail this in your website shipping terms and conditions in the help or support section of your site.
The more shipping options you offer, the more complex your website shipping module will be. So plan ahead, get all the required data into a spreadsheet and hand this to your site developer to import into your site, and things will run smoothly from here. In the shipping module, you can stipulate different prices, different services (Next Day, 2 Day, 1st Class, and 2nd Class), different countries and different weights.
Popular Courier, Shipping & Logistics Companies.