When you’re focused on selling, it can be difficult to redirect brain space to something as seemingly frivolous as shipping. But the online shopping landscape has fundamentally changed, and failing to provide standout shipping experiences will eventually lose you customers, money and restrict your growth.
If you read our previous post on delivering on your customer expectations through shipping, then you’ll have a thorough understanding of the ‘anytime, anything and anywhere’ customer and why businesses are bending over backwards to provide personalised experiences.
Fear not: there is light at the end of the tunnel! If you start to improve the way you deliver parcels to your customers today, you’ll avoid a whole hoard of issues moving into the future. Start getting prepared today and check out the 5 shipping mistakes you need to avoid.
1. You’re not packing your orders efficiently
One of the key areas many businesses are losing money without even realising it by using incorrect packaging for customer orders. Most companies are very inefficient when it comes to packaging, which will end up placing added pressure on your business.
Did you know that a review of your warehouse packaging can reduce shipping costs by up to 30%? While it might seem convenient to simply grab the box nearest to you, you may end up paying purely for the air inside it.
“Selecting the right-sized box, the right amount of protective fill and the right taping method can save small businesses time and money,” says UPS’s Rayford Collins. Products should be packed so they are secure and as close to cubic as neutral as possible. Also, consider the packaging itself: if it’s too heavy, you could be paying way more to ship it.
Do you have your own standard carton sizes? Sick of entering these in manually each time you ship? You can make shipping with different sizes easy by using our parcel presets feature. By setting your own presets and carrier preferences, Shippit will automatically allocate the best combinations, saving you both time and money.
2. You’re not using address validation
Customers are only human, and in the heat of purchasing their latest wants and desires online, they may occasionally mistype address details into their orders. Understandably, an incorrect address could mean that your shipment never makes it to your customer and this may mean you’ll need to cancel that order and send a new product to them out of your own pocket.
The good news, though is that this mistake is very easy to avoid with a simple feature called “address validation”. This feature is easy to use and it will validate address data as soon as it’s entered, meaning shipments reach their destination every time and your customer you’ll never have a frustrated customer saying they didn’t receive their parcel again.
Many good shipping software solutions – like Shippit – will have built-in features that alert you when a customer enters an invalid address and will provide suggestions to correct them. What’s more, address verification may also help identify fraudulent orders before you send them.
3. You’re shipping with one carrier
It can be easy for companies to stick to one carrier due to ease of use and convenience, but it’s not the most cost-effective way to ship orders with different delivery requirements. Diversifying your carriers is important because each one will have different strengths, and not all are a good match for every product that goes out the door. Carriers often provide more competitive pricing for the freight profiles they’re good at, and whether it’s express or regional delivery, you need to make sure you’re offering customers a wide variety of shipping options at diverse prices. For example, carriers that specialise in bulky freight will offer better rates for these freight profiles over the standard courier that deals with satchels and parcels.
Take advantage of Shippit’s smart allocation engine: Choose your preferred carrier or enable multiple carriers within the main service types to reduce shipping costs and improve delivery experiences for your customers. With the power of multi-carrier bookings, Shippit will automatically allocate the right carrier for every order.
4. You don’t know your carrier-service options well enough
It pays to stay educated about carrier service options because, for same-city deliveries, you could be using a more expensive express service instead of choosing a cheaper standard courier service delivery in the same timeframe. Needlessly paying for express services for same city delivery is a waste of money. So make sure you’re well versed in what the options entail.
Shippit’s upgrade and downgrade rules can help drive cost savings for the business when standard delivery is the same speed as express (downgrader). Shippit will automatically downgrade your express orders to a standard courier service if the ETA is less than a timeframe that you can set. In short, this means you’re saving costs whilst still meeting expectations.
5. You’re mismanaging unhappy returns
Making returns easier can actually grow your business. How? Because following a bad returns experience, 95% of those customers will claim never to buy with that particular retailer again. There are, of course, occasions when a customer is not completely satisfied with his or her purchase for reasons other than fulfilment. Thus, growing retailers must do their best to make returns a smooth process to maintain customer satisfaction.
To the best of your ability, offer a simple, no-punishment returns process. Start with options and ask yourself: how do you give customer options of convenience in the same way you would in the delivery space? Offer returns options at different price points. Simplifying returns is about providing a label, instant refunds, free returns and an easy-to-follow process. For best practices on how to implement a simple and effective returns process, check out our webinar here.
It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of running a business and forget about the less pressing things like using the right sized packaging or investigating new couriers. Make sure your business has the opportunity to grow in this unpredictable eCommerce landscape and look into how you can best avoid these shipping mistakes this year.
Are you unsure of how to get started? Get in touch with us today and our solution experts can help look into your biggest shipping pain points today. Get in touch here.