Creating a memorable shipping experience is an often overlooked way of increasing consumer confidence. Certainly, the easiest customers to advertise to are the ones that have already shopped with you. However, if the shipping experience is suboptimal, this will stick out in customers’ minds—leading to them being less likely to shop with you again in the future.
Branding Your Shipping
Packaging is an extension of your brand. While “brown paper packages” may be good for The Sound of Music, it’s not exactly music to most customers’ ears. You need to let your brand shine through in packaging. You don’t have to gift wrap it for your customers, but 80% of eCommerce customers we interviewed said that shipping stands out most for them when ordering online. Perhaps hindsight is 20/20, but since 88% say a positive shipping experience makes them more likely to shop from a retailer again, that’s pretty good! Here are some things you can do to increase your brand’s presence in the shipping experience.
Send a Good Shipping Confirmation Email
A good shipping confirmation email starts the package’s journey from your warehouse to the customer. It doesn’t need to be too busy or to wow your customers too much. Include the items ordered, your logo, recipient information, and a tracking link. Shipping can be nerve-racking for customers and merchants alike. Making sure that your customer has as many questions answered in the email reduces inquiries that can be a real drag on your workday. Luckily, customers do read shipping emails—they have the highest read rate of any eCommerce email. This affords you opportunities to include any promotions or superfluous advertisements that you want to A/B test.
Use a Branded Tracking Page
ShipStation’s shipping confirmation emails allow you to inject a braned tracking page into your email templates. Instead of redirecting to the carrier page, you can contain the entire delivery process to your branding. Keeping customers within your ecosystem is a good way of elevating the shipping experience. ShipStation’s branded tracking page includes a map with realtime updates so your customers can track the package from your warehouse to their house. It also lets you include linked icons and logos that redirect to your website or social media platforms.
Include Custom Packaging
Including elements of your brand on the packaging is a great way to showcase your company. It doesn’t need to be anything too opulent. Borrow a page from Amazon’s book and use custom tape. It’s practical and affordable while also being minimally invasive.
Expediting Your Shipping
As mentioned above, shipping is an overall big issue for online merchants. Reasonably so, it’s the main thing that separates online shopping from brick and mortars. If you have the branding down, you just need to get the workflow down. And it is honestly not as cumbersome as some think. There is a lot of ambiguity and tough-to-navigate sectors of running an online business. Luckily, the mechanics of shipping are fairly straightforward.
Offer Next-Day Shipping
Next-day shipping doesn’t mean a customer receives their order the day after they place it. Instead, next-day shipping means that you ship an order out of your warehouse within one business day of the customer placing the order. Quickly shipping your orders out elevates your brand’s image. If you can effectively do this, there’s less of a need for outsourcing inventory to a third-party fulfillment company such as FBA. This may seem idealistic but there are a few ways that you can improve your shipping strategy.
How Can I Offer Next-Day Shipping?
There are a few things you need to consider when building out your fulfillment workflow. First of all, you have to pick the items, then you have to efficiently pack and verify the items for each order, then you have to print the labels and seal the boxes and ship them out. On paper, this seems like a few steps, but the process can extend into a day-long operation. But there are shortcuts!
Streamline Picking and Packing with Scan to Verify
Anyone that’s ever been a picker knows how long it can take to scan bins and aisles for the right items and make sure you put them in the right box. It can be a repetitive task and these are what frequently lead to human error and this is, unfortunately, the one part that is really hard to automate. However, scan to verify functionality helps reduce errors. Using an order management platform or shipping software that offers scan-to-verify is a great way to ensure that you’re packing all of and only the items in an order. Here’s how it works:
- You pick the items for your lot’s orders.
- You pull up an order and scan the PLU barcode on each item in the order.
- Once you have scanned the items, you are then able to print the order’s label. Scanning barcodes is somewhat more satisfying than NOT scanning barcodes, too.
While some people prefer to pack and print each order individually, this can be tedious. Batch shipping allows you to print all of your picked orders’ labels at once. Think of it as an assembly line. Doing a specific task all at once is a more efficient use of time than clicking through each order and clicking ‘print label’ and repeating the task. This needs to be done in conjunction with your picking and verifying. Additionally, you need to automate certain shipping selections to make this as efficient as possible.
Automation rules tie everything together. Once you understand your carriers’ rate structures, you start noticing the patterns when calculating shipping costs. Once you have figured out the cheapest shipping options, you can apply this shipping service and package type to any order that matches its criteria. Weight, shipping zone, destination country, and dimensions all contribute to a package’s rate and once you know what they are, why worry about doing this manually?
Reducing clicks and engagement time is the end goal of any productivity software. Competitive shipping rates are great, but time is also money. And while money is nice, an eCommerce merchant knows that there’s never enough time to do everything. Getting back more time allows you to do more with a smaller team, focus on more important tasks, and also ship your customers their orders sooner. Creating a more efficient workflow is truly a win/win for everyone. And while it may not solve everything, it at least helps maintain calm and positive customer reviews—and that can open a lot of doors.