It’s time to talk about the S word…Shipping.
*Shudders*. Yeah, we know. Since shipping costs can take a significant bite out of your profit margins, this expense has the potential to make or break a small business. Obviously, we want to opt for the former.
We’ve all been through the grueling negotiation process of determining topping choice whenever a large group of us have decided to order in pizza. Everyone knows the drill – the more toppings you select, the more expensive the pizza.
The same unfortunate reality applies when determining shipping costs for your goods. The composition of your packaging can add to your product’s weight, which will add to your cost. Like any good burrito (are these too many food analogies?), your stuffing matters.
Think about whether you want to use fancy packing material like embossed kraft paper, or environmentally friendly PCW materials. Does your stuffing weigh too much or does it take up a lot of space? Are you using extra stuffing as void-fill because your boxes are one standard slightly-too-big size?
Make sure your packing materials are protecting the toils of your labour, but avoid too many toppings to keep those shipping costs to a minimum.
In order to avoid overspending on shipping, ask yourself if you are using the right sized packaging. Is the structure of your packaging right for your product? You can get more bang for your shipping buck if you’re able to reduce the size of your shipping gear, and sometimes this means being more deliberate in how you choose packaging.
Try and choose packaging that matches the size of your product. If you have a small-sized product, don’t settle for a too-big box that you have to encase with bubble wrap and popcorn. Bigger packages are more costly because they take up more carrier space, so optimize your package size by going flatter, and more form-fitted. If you don’t need protective armor for your merchandise, consider less bulky packaging like padded envelopes, coffee pouches or cellophane bags.
This is a great opportunity to use your brand’s knack for ‘out of the box’ thinking ;)
There are several ways that Flat Rate shipping can be attractive to small businesses, but will depend entirely on your own brand’s logistics. While having a known cost variable to depend on is reassuring, make sure you research and shop around with different carriers to determine if a flat rate box or envelope is the best option for your business.
And don’t ever think you’re too small to negotiate with the big guys! Shipping companies in Canada and the US like FedEx, Purolator, USPS, Canada Post and UPS want your business just as much as you need their service. See if you can strike a deal for a certain outgoing box size and quantity and take advantage of any savings program to be as cost-effective as you can be.
Unexpected added expenses are not our friend. And the last thing you want is to run into this friend when you’re at the post office, ready and excited to ship out your product to anticipating customers. To ensure a successful e-commerce shipping strategy for your brand, look for transparency and pay that forward.
Make sure you understand the policies of the carrier company you’ve selected. This means understanding their liability with lost, damage or returned packages as well as rates and how charges can differ according to mode of transportation and delivery timing.
And would you believe it, your customers also do not like surprise costs! A study conducted by Forrester exploring why web buyers abandon their online shopping cart shows that shipping and handling costs are the #1 driver in cart abandonment. While losing some customers is definitely to be expected, the study also indicated that listing costs too late in the checkout process is also a major contributor to abandonment.
Be plain and straightforward about your shipping policy and make it clear whether or not they will be paying for delivery. If shipping is going to cost them, make sure to introduce it early on in the checkout process to avoid any shock.
Part of ensuring success in your brand’s shipping strategy is by remembering to link it back to your product roadmap. When you think about the vision you have in mind for your business, it is important to define them through a product strategy that has measurable initiatives to get there. And by linking shipping solutions as a specific initiative to achieve your long-term business goals, you remember to always think every decision all the way there.
‘Making more product’ isn’t just ending with pumping out more product, but making it all the way through shipping. Similarly, shipping your product also isn’t the end of your product roadmap- but in a way, a beginning (so profound).
Shipping initiates a feedback loop that confirms what your brand is doing right or challenges what you can be doing better for your customers. It gives you the chance to build on what you have, improve, and show off those results the next time.
Comments will be approved before showing up.
When was the last time you thought about your unboxing experience? For most online businesses, the answer is normally never. Packaging in the e-commerce industry is mostly seen as a necessity for protecting what the customer ordered. In any case, as e-commerce evolves further and as consumer habits change, delivering the ultimate brand experience will require extending beyond the product itself and into the whole experience.
In this post, you’ll learn precisely how critical a branded unboxing experience is along with all the instruments and assets you need to deliver that ‘wow’ to your customers.
For subscription box owners and subscription dreamers, recurring revenue on a monthly basis is the ticket to success; your gateway to the hills of Hollywood. No e-commerce entrepreneur has been able to reach stability with a one time sale- it’s all about repeat business!
Here’s a recipe to make sure you don’t skip a step as you grow your box empire.