Online shopping has never been more popular and consumers have never had so much choice at their fingertips. In an age where competition in the e-market is fierce, businesses are under pressure to keep costs low and profit margins high. But many miss out on a major tool - it's so easy to develop an eCommerce shipping strategy to increase sales.
We know that when it comes to running a business, you've got so much to think about; products, pricing, advertising, marketing, finances, the list goes on and on. So it's not hard to see why putting a small business shipping strategy in place is often an afterthought or overlooked entirely. But it doesn't have to be that way!
Think about your online business shipping strategy as a marketing tool, it can become your competitive advantage helping you poach away business from other providers. If you plan well you will encourage repeat customers and entice in new customers, and so the importance of a delivery strategy comes into focus!
So let's get explore some of the best eCommerce shipping strategies and how to use them to boost your sales.
Why does my business need an eCommerce shipping strategy?
Consumers love choice, this is exactly why shopping online has proven so popular. No longer are we restricted to what is stocked on the high street we can now browse the entire world for products!
However, by opening up the world of online shopping we now have to think about how to receive our purchases. This is why developing an eCommerce delivery strategy is so important. If your delivery costs are too high or your delivery times too slow, you could lose that sale - to your competitor.
Putting a business shipping strategy in place can:
- Increase your order value
- Reduce overall costs
- Make operations smoother and more efficient
- Open up your products to a wider audience
- Prevent cart abandonment
As you can see, it's a really powerful tool to use!
What is the cheapest way to ship?
Of course price is a major factor when deciding any business strategy and this is no different. The easiest way to save money on your online business shipping strategy is to use a courier broker like Interparcel. There are no hidden charges, no contracts and you aren't tied into using one courier brand for all your deliveries. It's so easy to match the right courier for the job, every time.
Dimensions and Destinations
When developing your eCommerce shipping strategy you should think about the type of products you sell as all couriers calculate the cost of shipping by size and weight. This is something we explored in our earlier article discussing the cheapest way to send parcels. If you mainly sell small but high value items your strategy may differ from a business that focuses on large, low spend items so keep this in mind.
When it comes to destination, you might be tempted to limit your business to only offering UK deliveries. Don't! With Interparcel it's just as easy to arrange delivery to a customer halfway across the world as it is to deliver 3 towns over. We offer low cost shipping to most of the world so be sure to include International delivery in your shipping strategy!
Use Interparcel for your delivery strategy
Courier rates and costs can feel like a bit of a minefield at times, but that's why we've made it simple for you: all you have to do is pop the weight and size of your parcel into our courier comparison tool, select the destination and we do all the tricky calculations. You then have dozens of services at your fingertips in mere seconds. Put the calculator and spreadsheets away - we've done the hard work for you!
Our services have helped lots of small businesses, just like you, build an eCommerce shipping strategy that has saved them time, increased sales and improved customer experience.
When you integrate with Interparcel you benefit from:
- Our free to use Advanced shipping manager: collect orders from all your online stores in one area
- eCommerce integrations fast and free integration with all the major platforms
- Smart boxing: set up defined product and box sizes for grouping big orders
- In-built address collection and correction, no more manual errors
- New branded tracking, create a seamless brand experience when customers track orders
- Despatch orders in a few clicks and carry on selling!
- The very best Customer Service. If you have any questions, our friendly UK call centre are here to help.
What are the most popular eCommerce shipping strategies?
Online businesses commonly use one of three shipping strategies to increase sales - but why not combine two or more to create more variety for your customers? You could apply a flat rate shipping price for all orders under £30 and offer free shipping for orders over that amount! Or why not offer specific shipping rates for speciality items? It's useful to give customers the choice of a few shipping options to see what works, let's get into what these shipping strategies are:
Free delivery is probably the most popular of eCommerce shipping strategies as it can provide a huge advantage for small business - it can increase your average basket size, drive sales, and it's an effective marketing tool. Just keep in mind that 'Free Shipping' is only free for the customer, not for you so make sure you are taking into account the delivery costs before you offer this.
You can reduce the financial risk of free shipping in a few ways:
- Introduce a minimum basket spend for free shipping
- Use free shipping as a time-limited promotion to drive sales
- Build the cost of shipping into the price of the product
Exact cost shipping
This option is very low risk and low cost too - you can simply offer customers the exact amount it'll cost to ship their order to them. This tends to be used by new businesses that have time to calculate individual orders shipping prices and let the customer know how much it'll be.
This can be a good way to save costs when starting out but isn't very sustainable - imagine contacting every customer to tell them their shipping costs if you have a surge in sales. That could take days! Customers might be deterred from impulse purchases if they have to wait for shipping estimations from you!
At Interparcel, we have a shipping quote tool that allows you to see how much a parcel will cost to send to a specific destination plus a range of services you can use too, so this might be useful in the long run if you choose this shipping strategy.
Flat rate shipping
Flat rate shipping is perfect if you're sending parcels of similar weight and size. This is a standard fee that you would charge your customers to deliver your goods to their location. If you're sending packages of different sizes, but these products can be easily categorized, you could look at a tiered system of shipping.
This delivery strategy option is easy to implement and gives the customer all the info upfront! It's a great sales tool as it's easy for customers to understand and encourages them to put more products in their basket and still pay the same shipping rate, incentivizing their purchases!
This small business shipping strategy can increase sales yes, but only if you get the price right. Take time to set the right delivery price - if it's set too high you could put customers off buying but if it's set too low you'll lose money.
How can I improve my shipping strategy?
Your shipping strategy should be dynamic, moving with your product pricing and the economic climate. You should always be keeping an eye on your competition and the delivery strategies they're using to attract customers.
Businesses that go that extra mile for customer experience are more likely to gain a loyal customer base and increase conversions through a trustworthy and reliable reputation.
Here are a few add-ons to your eCommerce shipping strategy you can use to beat the competition:
In a recent survey Klarna found that three-quarters of UK shoppers are more likely to buy online if the brand offers free returns. As a new business, creating a returns policy can be overwhelming but keep it simple, to begin with! Simply state:
- What items can be returned
- How long after purchase an item can be returned
- What condition they can be returned in (e.g. tags on)
- How they can return items
If your customer does want to return their item(s), you can just book this with us! We offer the same great prices when collecting from your customers address as we do when collecting from a business address. Full tracking means you will know when to expect the item back. To make things easier for your customers we can offer offer printer free options if they don't have access to a printer or even drop off options if they would rather not wait in for a collection.
Compiling a front-facing list of the couriers you use can be a really helpful way to gain customers' trust and assure them that ordering with you will be a professional operation.
At Interparcel we only partner with the best household names, so your customers can feel confident that their order is in safe hands and you don't have to worry. We offer a wide range of services with the most reliable couriers globally so whether you are looking for a UK next day delivery or an International freight delivery we can complete your order with no fuss.
The eCommerce competition is on and every business needs a delivery strategy to stay in the running. Improve your shipping strategy today and look forward to increased sales tomorrow!
We want all businesses to have access to shipping strategies that can increase sales and we love helping businesses connect with their customers. If you have any questions about how we can help you or the services we offer give our UK call centre a ring, email, or live chat message- our team of parcel experts are always happy to talk parcels and are available from 8 am - 8 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am - 1 pm on weekends!