6 Best Practices for eCommerce Shipping
Running an eCommerce store can seem daunting and complicated. Trust us, we know. There are all sorts of levers and pulleys that you’re constantly maneuvering to run your store on a day to day basis. And it’s hard not to compare your site and success to the thousands of other stores trying to stand out just like you. Don’t be overwhelmed by the quantity and quality of the bells and whistles you can implement for your store. Instead, stick to the fundamentals until you’re running smoothly and feel settled into a groove.
Shipping is notoriously complicated, but we’re here to help! Shippo has partnered with ePages and 1&1 to bring you the simplest, cheapest shipping solution for your eCommerce store. Connect with Shippo to create shipping labels directly from your store’s account settings. The process is automated and seamless and your USPS & DHL Express rates are up to 80% off regular prices.
Here are some helpful tips we put together for building a strong shipping operations foundation for your 1&1 Online Store:
1. Save Money and Use Free Packaging Supplies
Wait to spend money on customized packaging until you’ve got a sizeable revenue cushion to play with. Order free supplies direct from the carriers in advance, instead. Choose from envelopes, padded envelopes, boxes, customs slips, Tyvek envelopes, padded pouches – you name it.
Shipping breakables? Try styrofoam, a durable alternative to bubble wrap & foam peanuts.
2. Prepare Your Email Marketing
Email marketing for eCommerce has proven to be one of the most successful channels for converting customers and building a brand. Follow these steps to set up your first email marketing campaign:
- Define your target customer: Who are they? What products will they buy?
- Draft a chain of three email templates per target customer that cover: who you are, what you sell, and why they should care. You should also draft a shopping-cart abandonment email. These should be short and to the point.
- Find the right tool to send these emails. The 1&1 Newsletter Tool (included for free in most Online Store packages) allows you to create newsletters, manage contacts, integrate signup within your website, and provides many more configuration settings. Check out how this tool can help in developing an email newsletter campaign. In the administration area of your Online Store, select “Marketing” > “Newsletters” to send newsletters to your customers and potential customers.
- Determine email cadence: Once you’ve set up your templates, determine the timing for which you’ll send each of the three emails to your target customer groups.
- Automate & personalize: Once you’re ready to start sending emails, set up an automation process in your tool and ensure you’ve left room for a personal touch!
3. Create a Return Policy
A hassle-free return policy is not only a must-have for your eCommerce store, but is also a means to happy customers who keep on buying. Establishing structure around returns up front will preempt any potential difficulties stemming from loop-holes due to a vague policy or the lack of a policy. A clear and sensible return policy will contribute to a relationship based on trust between you and your customers and set expectations for how you run your business.
- Follow the KISS rule: “Keep it simple, stupid.”
- Have a clear time frame for returns.
- Define what products can be returned and in what condition.
- Explain how you will process refunds e.g. in full or via in-store credit.
- List return requirements e.g. receipts, including all necessary fees.
4. Schedule Free Pickups
Going to the post office and dropping your packages off can be a pain, especially when you’re managing dozens of packages. Instead, schedule a free pickup directly with your carrier ahead of time:
5. Educate Yourself on International Shipping Costs
Shipping internationally? Then in almost every case, you’ll need to pay customs fees. To get a sense of these fees (duties & taxes), use this customs duty calculator. Input the sender and recipient countries and the product type & value and the calculator will give you a ballpark figure how much your customs fees will be.
Also, check out UPS’s helpful tool for better understanding country-specific customs rules here.
6. Invest in a Thermal Label Printer
Printing, cutting, and taping shipping labels to your packages is a manageable process, however, you can save yourself a lot of time by printing sticker labels using a thermal label printer. Pull them off and slap them right onto your package. DYMO 4XL is a common choice for small businesses.
Shipping within 1&1 Online Store is now powered by Shippo. Batch-create labels, ship via 14+ shipping carriers, and send mass email notifications with tracking information all from one place.
Learn how to create a label in this quick video tutorial.
No sign-up fee and Shippo is waiving its $.05/label fee for the first 3 months, saving you $135! Get started now.
Photos Credit: ©Shippo