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E-commerce Shipping and Fulfillment: A Complete Guide (2022)

So you've invested your energy and expertise to deliver a great experience to your customers.  You set up a nice image, tweaked your store, and created a compelling sales copy - to satisfy your customers. 

However, on the flip side, the e-commerce shipping process can make you feel like you're handing your entire business to a stranger. 

You don't have to feel this way because, just like every other part of your business, shipping is also a part of your e-commerce business. 

It's when your customers finally get to have physical contact with their order. It's the part where you may probably invest more money (depending on your e-commerce shipping strategy) 

Hence, it's critical to create a suitable shipping strategy. The truth is, the eCommerce shipping and order fulfillment process is not a walk in the park.

This post discusses all you need to know about e-commerce Shipping and Fulfillment.  

Basics of E-commerce shipping strategy 

The following basis can be the foundation of your shipping and fulfillment strategy. Although you can always "retweak" these strategies to your taste whenever you want to, keep in mind that these are the strategies of high-level e-commerce stores. 

E-commerce Shipping rate and strategies

Do you want your customer to bear the entire shipping costs or do you want to offer a flat shipping rate where you bear the entire cost? How will the order reach your local customers?  (We'll delve more into that later) 

Learn more about how to plan your shipping strategy from here.

Product weight 

Measuring and displaying the product weight can help streamline your order process. You should be able to measure and display the weight of each of the products you sell. 

Decide your packaging 

While there's a lot to say about packaging a product the right way (we're not going to dive deeper into that.), when you choose the ideal packaging, the packaging information will be added to Shopify for accurate calculation of shipping price. 

Prepare your shipping method and rate

First and foremost, it's important to decide pricing strategy before shipping orders. Of course, there are different shipping pricing strategies but your choice will be based on your financial capability. 

Some of the shipping methods and rates you can adopt include: 

Free shipping

If you want to reduce shipping cart abandonment, try to provide free shipping for your customers.  Truthfully, there's no such thing as free shipping. Someone will pay. For a free shipping strategy to work, here's what to do: 

  • Add the shipping cost to the price of your product ( customer pays) 
  • Pay the shipping price (you pay)
  • Slightly increase the product price and add your shipping cost (both you and the customers pay) 
  • Offer discount for higher orders as a free shipping 

Learn more about how free shipping increase sales in online e-commerce businesses from here.

Charge decent carrier rates 

You can also charge a decent carrier rate for shipping. The e-commerce shipping integration works with carriers like USPS to offer different shipping options and rates. That way your customers can choose the carrier's service and package that suits their needs. 

Offer a flat fee 

You can also charge a flat shipping fee. Just be sure that you don't undercharge or overcharge your customers. The most convenient situation to charge a flat fee is when you offer products of similar size and weight. It may be difficult to offer a flat rate when you sell products with varieties of sizes and weights. 

Provide local delivery 

Local delivery is another important shipping strategy to consider. This is suitable for businesses offering a simple delivery option to customers within the local region. 

Local delivery involves setting up your delivery location using a zip code. 

Local customers will be able to choose the "local delivery" shipping option at checkout. 

A good idea is to offer local checkout for free for a certain minimum order range or have it offered at a low cost. This simple strategy can get you more customers. 

Pro tip- lots of time is spent on product handpicking and packaging for order processing. Using the affordable service of a 3PL (third party logistics) can save you the time and the hassle of order processing. 

Monitor your profits 

Keeping an eye on your profit margin is one of the keys to e-commerce shipping success. Because of the huge expenses involved with e-commerce shipping, you may end up losing money if you don't keep track of your order processing. 

Pricing charts can be really helpful in mapping out your entire e-commerce shipping cost associated with getting your product to customers. It can be overwhelmingly shocking to realize how much you've spent on product shipping alone. Don't be a victim of this common shock. 

Packaging/Marketing 

Let's touch on a little on how packaging and marketing work for e-commerce. 

The e-commerce world has skyrocketed so do customers' expectations. Back then, the packaging process was only a way to get the product across to customers. But today, along with packaging are presentation and aesthetic product experiences.  

This means that product packaging for shipping is a way businesses compete for credibility in the business forefront. Not only are sellers expected to offer a reliable product but also a memorable packaging experience. 

Packaging options

Safety is a critical aspect of product packaging. Your products must be packaged for secure transport. So what are the best shipping options? You can have your product packaged with envelopes or boxes. Many businesses uses boxes and other packaging materials to get their product across to customers. 

Pro tips- keep your packaging as light as possible. 

Because it is the weight that determines the cost of a product, try to keep the weight to the barest minimum. 

Not only will this save your shipping cost and your customer's shipping cost, but also prevent packaging costs from affecting your profit. 

Final thought 

Business owners understand the challenges of e-commerce shipping. Every business owner faces a unique challenge that they must overcome to provide the best shopping solution. 

Like every aspect of a business, it may take time to know what works best. 

Understanding the best process and approach to your e-commerce shipping can help scale your business's success and health. 

Once you've figured out your e-commerce shipping, don't stop there.  

Always reevaluate your strategy and see if it's delivering the best service to customers.

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