Shipping is more than just a necessary cost. In fact, when purchasing a product, the ease of delivery is right up there with the price when it comes to what is most impactful on a consumer’s decision to buy. No matter how many things go right, if the shipping experience goes wrong, you’ve likely lost yourself any repeat business from that customer.
Here are some tips to help you get your small package shipping right, the first time and every time thereafter.
Keep your customers in the know with package tracking
Consumers appreciate being in control, but when a sale hits the shipping phase, things become decidedly out of their control. That is why giving them the ability to track their packages is so important to their overall experience.
If your customer can log on and see where their packages are, it brings them peace of mind and allows them to better anticipate delays. Some companies like to offer a simple tracking number and portal combination, while others prefer to send the customer emails directly updating them on the whereabouts of their package.
Partnering with a courier that communicates with your customers frequently can be the difference between a happy and loyal customer and a disgruntled one-time shopper.
Keep your prices reasonable by offering the right services
Say what you will about Amazon, but it’s impossible to argue with the effect they’ve had on the supply chain. Today, customers want fast and free. Most companies can’t afford that like Amazon can – so how do they compete?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer. Expedited shipping is expensive, and unless your business is doing extremely well, you likely can’t afford to eat those costs. That means passing them on to the customer. And the customer doesn’t want to pay them any more than you do.
Weight, dimensions, destination, volume, speed – all these things affect the price of shipping. The most cost-effective solution if you ship multiple different products is to make sure you’re offering the right service for the request. While flat rates are convenient, they’re not flexible.
Choice is important. Give your customers the choice between fast or cheap. Don’t offer overnight shipping on products that people don’t urgently need. You’re only increasing your processing costs in the long run.
Be accurate, predictable, and accountable
Consumers hate surprises. They want to be in the loop every step of the way. They want to decide what is going to happen and see it go their way. And they should – after all, they’re paying for it.
The best way to avoid surprises is to have an accurate and effective way to keep track of your inventory. There is nothing worse than not being able to fulfill a customer’s order after the fact because your inventory wasn’t tracked properly. It is absolutely vital that you know exactly what you have, how much you have of it, and how fast it’s going out the door. And it’s equally as vital that you communicate that information to your customers accurately. One thing is for sure: a customer will always prefer to see an out-of-stock sign before they’ve paid opposed to after.
There are tons of factors that go into shipping – from return policies and processes to e-shop tools and packaging practices.
Fortunately, they’re all sides of the same coin. If you can keep your customers informed, offer reasonable pricing, and keep an accurate account of everything you’re sending out, the rest will begin to fall in to place.