Shipping your product to the customer is an oft neglected aspect in the life of an online business owner, sometimes to drastic consequences. Shipping is not just a way to get the goods at the customers doorstep, but it is much more than that. It represents your professionalism and work ethic as an online seller, and it very clearly affects your customers’ impression of you. Yet, it is a common occurrence to see badly defined and designed shipping logistics and processes. But common mistakes can easily be avoided, and a few changes in your shipping operations can lead to major benefits.
First of all, let’s make it clear that a few online sales channels collaborate with you on shipping duties. This means that the sales channel might end up being the link between you and the courier service. On the other hand, if you own a private website for your online sales, the responsibility for delegating and organizing a courier service falls upon your shoulders. So let’s look at 5 rookie shipping mistakes and how to avoid them.
How do I improve upon my shipping?
1. Provide a choice between free shipping and quick delivery
The agony of choice! Should you charge your customers for shipping or provide it for free? If you do provide it for free, will you be able to afford the fastest shipping option for your customer? Although most customers prefer free shipping, they also prefer quick delivery. So why not allow them to make the choice? Providing the customer with a choice shows that you trust them enough to let them decide for themselves. It also shows that you are open and flexible in terms of your policies, and the good of the customer always comes first in your book.
2. Triple check the package safety
No customer wants quick delivery of the package only to discover that its contents are damaged. Shipping is a brutal process for a package. It has to go through countless handovers, change transportation many times over, and get stored in cramped spaces for long periods. In essence, products in transit are extremely liable to damage. The only thing that can save them from destruction is the quality of packaging. This is especially important if you are shipping fragile items, electronic equipment or costly products. Hence, make sure that the packaging is safe, with ample amount of bubble wrap, and do not forget to add that ‘fragile’ tag on the packages that need it!
3. Manage your return policy
Many online sellers are wary of return policies, looking at them as a potential loss. Studies suggest that the reality is actually quite the opposite. Return policies spell trust. They are essentially your word to the customer that you are utterly responsible for the condition of the product and the customer’s satisfaction, and that you are committed to it. So, don’t forget to add the return shipping tags to the contents of your package. Make sure that there are provisions in the manifest in case of shipping a return package. You will earn much brownie points!
4. Use the right technology to manage your orders
Your sales business is a well oiled machine. The inventory comes from the dealer into your warehouse and gets shipped to the customer according to data that you receive via an online transaction. How will you manage to send the right parcel to the right address? What if you end up printing the wrong data on the shipping label? Technology helps reduce human errors. The most viable option for you is to use an order management system. Browntape, for one, goes the extra mile and automatically prints accurate shipping labels according to your needs. This means reduced mistakes and higher efficiency in shipping!
5. Promptly update shipping status
Remember, as an online business owner, you are not only sending products on a daily basis, but receiving them too. Your wholesaler sends you products according to your needs. Shipping is involved here also, which means you must involve this aspect into the process. All these inbound and outbound packages need to be documented carefully. Tracking these packages is a must. Notifying customers about the status is vital. Thankfully, Browntape provides an option to automatically notify customers at regular intervals about the shipping status of their product. Hassle-free and extremely beneficial!
6. Provide required documentation and shipping manifests
Shipping products requires multiple documentation. There are shipping labels, AWBs, the bill of lading, invoices, shipping manifests, etc. that have to be duly printed and attached for the safe passage of the product. Failure to do so can cause serious repercussions for you and your business. Therefore, use automatic services like those of Browntape to print and pack relevant documentation along with your package.
These were a few common shipping mistakes and how to avoid them. For any further queries regarding shipping or any other aspect of online sales, do not hesitate to get in touch with us at Browntape.