How to Manage Shipping for E-Commerce
Holiday shopping is in full swing. With the increase of online shopping, this is probably the busiest time of the year for small ecommerce businesses. Right now is the best time to prepare for that increase in sales. First and most importantly, keep your fears in check and maintain your sanity. The best way to do this is to remember what obstacles you experienced in the past and put a plan of action into place to avoid it this year.
If you are like most ecommerce businesses, up to sixty percent of your income is earned in the last quarter of the year. Now is the time to make the best of it.
Why should you pursue e-commerce?
Ecommerce is estimated to be around thirteen trillion dollars worldwide and is expected to grow by a whopping twenty-seven percent to fifty-five trillion by 2027. If your company offers a product or service that can be accessed through the internet, then the value available to your business should not be ignored. Get started today.
First off, a few of the top issues where an ecommerce company will lose customers are:
– Additional costs at the time of checkout include things like taxes, shipping and processing fees. Where possible offer free shipping. These costs can be included in the overall product value or offered with a higher purchase amount.
While taxes must be collected by most states, offering discounts or incentives on future orders can help keep consumers from abandoning their carts.
– Signing up for an account.
As the second biggest reason that customers abandon their carts, this can be alleviated by allowing guest purchasing. Don’t forget to request an email for shipment tracking and apply a cookie app that sends reminders about an abandoned cart. Memory-jogging reminders are great for shoppers who easily get “squirreled” by pop-ups distracting them from completing a transaction. If you’ve ever walked a dog at the park and a fluffy-tailed rodent suddenly shows up, then you understand what getting squirreled is all about.
– Delays in deliveries.
If the supply chain to your company is solid and the delivery issue comes down to how fast the company can package and ship out the product, outsourcing may be the best solution. Nowadays, there are companies that specialize in receiving goods from suppliers and shipping for other companies. Amazon has fulfillment centers that do this for companies. There are also apps from drop ship companies that can be used to get goods from suppliers directly to customers without the expense of warehousing and shipping from your company.
– Distrust when it comes to giving credit card information.
Annual online credit card fraud is expected to exceed forty billion dollars this year. To build trust, have your site verified and use reputable online services that process payments with fraud prevention measures in place. Don’t forget to build your reputation with a customer review app after a successful purchase is made.
– Difficulty navigating the website and overall checkout process.
If you are using a shopping app like Etsy or Shopify, this can be monitored by utilizing test purchases on the site. Check your site routinely and fix areas that might slow the process down.
When should you automate shipping?
A good standard to follow is when the business reaches a fulfillment threshold of thirty orders per day.
– There are many automation tools and companies that specialize in shipping and logistics available in the marketplace. The best advice is, when possible, to find tools that do not require coding or IT skills to implement. This can increase the bottom-line to the company’s shipping and order fulfillment costs.
– An efficient automation of the shipping and order fulfillment can reduce your overhead through eliminating overstock or dead stock and control inventory as well as track costs.
– Automation can create an effortless process with not only the company’s supply chain, but fulfillment to your customer.
– Automated shipping with efficient order fulfillment can reduce the need for human intervention in the process. With less labor costs, personnel can be assigned to other processes that do not require automation.
– Automation can track specific products and market demands globally.
What can be out-sourced?
If you are in a creative field like a graphic artist producing digital design sold on products for example, virtually every part of the business can be outsourced. There are a variety of print on demand companies outsourcing suppliers who produce a variety of products and ship them directly to your customer.
If you work directly with a vendor or do the manufacturing of a product, both shipping and warehousing can be outsourced. Additionally, an automated fulfillment app can be utilized instead of personnel.
Be prepared. A few trends to keep in mind for the 2023 shopping season.
Consumers are purchasing earlier to avoid supply chain delays. If you have not already started the push for holiday sales, now is the time. If your company is not automated and has not outsourced its shipping needs, research all available apps and if none apply, make a goal for implementing this next year.
Disposable income is dwindling, compared to last year. With student debt payments returning in October, a portion of income will be diverted. Additionally, cost increases are having a ripple effect on retailers. Offering sales early is a way to garner more sales as competitors may not be aware of these economic pressures.
Buy now and pay later plans are trending. With record consumer debt and the possibility of another hike in interest rates, offering a payment plan may otherwise limit what a customer will spend. Be sure you can deliver early for the holiday season.
For additional information on e-commerce, outsourcing and how to stay sane this holiday season, please contact us at the Trinity Valley Small Business Development Center – SBDC – TVCC – Serving Henderson, Anderson, Van Zandt, Rains, and Kaufman Counties.