1. Operations & Supply Chain

Five Shipping Tips To Benefit Your Ecommerce SMB Strategy

The growing ecommerce landscape represents an incredible opportunity for SMBs, allowing them to expand their reach into new geographies and connect with customers worldwide. That said, ecommerce growth does come with challenges to overcome. 

One of the most significant issues of all is figuring out how you’re going to manage the complexities of shipping, both domestically and internationally. More than ever, consumers are searching for ecommerce companies that make delivery fast, affordable, and convenient. 

That means you need to figure out how you’re going to deliver a shipping experience that’s transparent, reliable, and cost-effective. Today, we’re sharing our top tips on the best ways to optimize your shipping strategy and grow your ecommerce business.

Research Shipping Requirements in Advance

It might sound obvious, but one of the main reasons ecommerce companies struggle with shipping is that they don’t fully understand just how complex the logistics landscape can be. If you’re going to be shipping products internationally, you need an in-depth knowledge of the ins and outs of the process, including all the documentation you’ll need to use.

You’ll need to ensure you conduct thorough research so that you’re familiar with:

  • Customs regulations: Every region has its own customs rules to navigate. Working with the right partners on your shipping strategy can help you avoid costly problems, but companies like DHL also offer useful guides you can use to build a more effective strategy. 
  • Shipping methods: While 80% of the products transported worldwide are shipped via ocean freight, there are various ways to transport your goods, from land freight to air freight. You can also explore different strategies, like FCL and LCL shipping. Choosing the right shipping method can help accelerate delivery times and reduce costs. 
  • Insurance options: Investing in insurance is often crucial to ensuring you can protect your goods and your business from serious losses. Look into the insurance options available for your shipping strategy in advance.

Leverage the Right Ecommerce Software

The right ecommerce software is crucial to growing your business, regardless of the audience you’re targeting or your approach to sales. While many ecommerce platforms come with various shipping-focused tools already built in, allowing you to automatically access quotes, print labels, or send order information to partners, you may need additional tools, based on the nature of your business. 

For instance, if you’re looking for a way to expand your income and potential reach, transforming your standard ecommerce store into a comprehensive online marketplace could be an ideal strategy. In 2023, around 17% of all the sales that took place online happened through marketplaces. 

To take advantage of the momentum in this industry, you need a dedicated platform specifically designed for marketplace creation. CS-Cart offers companies a comprehensive toolkit for building custom ecommerce projects, marketplace environments, and more. Most importantly, it gives you the tools you need to manage a multi-vendor landscape, creating comprehensive product approval systems, shipping strategies, and configurable plans for customer experience. 

Partner with Digital Freight Forwarders

This tip is particularly crucial for ecommerce SMBs who want to expand their reach overseas and connect with new customers. Freight forwarders are partners that can connect you with third-party shipping companies around the world, offering access to cheaper rates, as well as support with other aspects of your logistics strategy (such as customs clearance). 

Digital freight forwarders build on the benefits offered by traditional freight forwarding companies by giving you a comprehensive online platform where you can manage the international shipping process. These platforms give companies an all-in-one environment for real-time shipment tracking, accessing quotes, booking shipments, and more. 

If you’re a small or medium-sized business, it’s worth checking out Ship4wd. The digital freight forwarder works only with SMBs to help guarantee container allocation, which is often heavily favored to larger businesses. Using its platform, you can track the progress of your shipments and speak with a live customer service rep at any hour of the day, ensuring you can rapidly respond to any delays or issues and keep your customers informed. In addition, SMBs can apply for flexible financing solutions and buy-now pay-later options to preserve a healthy cash flow, which can be crucial for SMBs. Working with the right partners can improve your chances of growing and free up your time to invest in new opportunities.

Use Technology to Increase Visibility

Ecommerce software isn’t the only technology you need to ensure you’re building the best possible shipping strategy for your SMB. There are various other tools and resources that can help you optimize your shipping strategy, reduce costs, and gain insights into opportunities for growth.

For instance, the Oracle SCM cloud software gives companies access to end-to-end views of their entire supply chain, helping them track everything from fuel consumption to inventory trends and more. These tools can help you forecast demand, optimize your inventory purchasing strategies, and even improve the flow of work in your warehouses. 

Other solutions can help you automate various processes, like tracking inventory levels, monitoring top-selling products, and even sending order information and details to third-party shipping companies like USPS and DHL. The right tools will give you the data you need to make intelligent decisions that reduce shipping costs and improve customer satisfaction. Plus, they’ll help you to streamline your operations, so you can focus more of your attention on growth.

Prioritize Customer Experience

Finally, perhaps the best way to ensure you’re prepared for success as you grow your ecommerce store is to put customer experience first. There are various ways you can improve your relationship with customers and increase customer lifetime value just by updating your shipping strategy. For instance, you can:

  • Optimize packaging and labelling: Mastering the packaging and labelling process isn’t just crucial for bypassing customs regulations. It can also help to protect goods from damage, improve the “unboxing” experiences for customers, and minimize delays.
  • Compare carriers carefully: When choosing which carriers to work with on your shipping strategy, don’t focus exclusively on cost. Remember that faster shipping leads to better customer satisfaction and many consumers will be willing to pay extra for express delivery.
  • Consider free shipping: 82% of customers consider free shipping to be the most important factor when deciding which retailers to purchase from. If you can access great deals by working with freight forwarders and shipping partners, you can infuse any leftover cost into the price of your products to provide customers with free shipping options.

Additionally, make sure you’re paying attention to the feedback your customers provide. Ask them to rate their purchase experience and let you know when products arrive late or damaged. This will help you optimize your shipping strategy in the future. 

Transform Your SMB Ecommerce Shipping Strategy

While there are numerous factors that influence how quickly (and successfully) your ecommerce business can scale and grow, few things are more important than shipping. The experience you give your customers when delivering their goods can make or break their chances of buying products from you again. Fortunately, with a few tips, you can create a shipping strategy tuned for success.

Just remember, as the ecommerce landscape evolves, your shipping strategy may need to transform with it. Keep an eye on your metrics and customer feedback to ensure you’re constantly adapting to the expectations of your customers.

The post Five Shipping Tips To Benefit Your Ecommerce SMB Strategy appeared first on Retail Minded.

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