With millions of eCommerce shopkeepers operating in the U.S., it’s safe to say that the competition is fierce and unforgiving. Certainly, online shoppers are looking for a great bargain and value when they come to your store. But your online sales are dictated by more than just that. In fact, many shoppers are also interested in how much money they are going to pay in shipping and handling, because the cost of shipping can ultimately denigrate any offered value – as it compares to retail pricing – if the cost of shipping is too high. While you strive to offer a great value to your prospective customers, bear in mind that your shipping system should also be one that enables you to access affordable shipping rates with fast delivery windows. Find out why you ought to integrate such a system into your online store by using these tips, and learn why and how such a solution can help you increase sales by attracting new customers and retaining the ones that you currently have.
Your Customers Want Low Shipping and Handling Costs
According to a third quarter North American Technographics Retail Online Survey (2009), you stand to lose as much as 65 percent of your customers if you don’t offer low shipping costs. The problem is that many businesses simply are not able to access the Commercial Plus pricing that’s offered by USPS on Priority Mail shipments, purely for the fact that they don’t meet the required 150,000 packages shipped (or more) per year. The good news is that providers like Express 1 offer you these same big volume discounts with your membership. What’s more is that the best small business shipping solutions integrate with Express 1 and most major eCommerce shopping carts.
Automating the Information Export Process
If UPS and FedEx can successfully deliver over 25 million packages per day, according to a CNBC report, by using their own integrated shipping software, your business can also do the same thing, too; albeit on a much smaller scale, of course. With an integrated solution, your eCommerce orders can be automatically exported to your software solution, where shipping carriers, and their aggregate rates, can be compared, enabling you to choose the lowest rate and fastest delivery window for your customers, thus helping you to sustain growth and retention. The truth is that this process is often manually completed by eCommerce owners when it could be automated. Processes that can be automated include things like: exporting orders, checking for errors, updating order statuses, adding comments, updating customers with tracking information and printing shipping labels. By automating these processes, you can focus your core efforts on expansion and growth; and not remedial and tedious pack and ship processes.
Tips on Finding a Small Business Shipping Solution
With a number of providers that are out there, all who offer viable solutions, knowing what to look for when choosing one can be downright baffling. These tips can help you better search through the amenities offered by leading providers to find a solution that best fits your business model.
- Compatibility: Research each provider to assure that the solution is compatible with your shopping cart and website. Some providers offer a plethora of integrations whereas others only offer a few.
- Compare integrations: What other integrations does the shipping solution provider offer? Can you export data to your QuickBooks for easy accounting? Are you able to integrate inventory management software like OrderMotion? Can you use SalesForce CRM to increase sales?
- Multi-carrier support: Make sure that the solution supports the carriers that you are considering using, like FedEx, USPS and UPS. Don’t limit yourself to just one carrier.
- Discount shipping integration: Providers like Stamps.com, Endicia and Express 1 all offer discount postage. The best shipping solutions will integrate with these providers to help you offer lower shipping prices and faster delivery windows.
- Test-drive the solution before buying: Always try before you buy. Most providers offer a complementary trial period. Be sure that you use this to gauge whether or not you prefer one provider over the other.
- Rate the customer and technical support: You will assuredly experience a few bumps when you are first getting started out. Integration may be finicky and there may be a few problems that arise. So be sure to assess the level of customer and technical support being offered to know that you will be taken care of with your elected provider.
Competing in the big world of eCommerce these days takes grit and determination. With shipping solutions for small businesses in place powering your operations, you can reap a mountain of benefits which include: offering lower shipping prices, delivering packages more quickly to your customers and improving upon sales and retention. The integration of such systems will also benefit you in the form of more reclaimed time, which you can allocate to expanding your operations and growing your enterprises to secure future business accolades.