If you are thinking of setting up a business based on e-commerce, or you already have an online store, perhaps you have paid more attention to the design and usability of the site, to increase your conversion and your sales. But the delivery strategy is also very important, and that is why I have thought about giving you some recommendations so that you can optimize that facet of your online business.
What packaging are you going to use?
In order to get your purchase to your customers, you have to protect it. That depends a lot on the type of product you sell, but you have to think about the best packaging solutions for your items. If you sell books, the ideal are cardboard envelopes, if you do handicrafts, you probably prefer bubble envelopes, and for other items, you will have to think of boxes, with their corresponding systems to ensure the protection of the product throughout the shipment.
Within that packaging choice, you have to think if you leave the possibility to your clients to wrap the item for a gift. It has become very common to buy something online to give it to someone else, and if the item can be gift wrapped, so much the better.
Take advantage of the package to promote your brand
You should not consider the packaging of your shipments only from a practical and technical point of view. In addition to allowing your items to arrive in perfect condition, it can become a communication weapon. The idea is that your brand appears clearly in the shipments, for example using personalized plastic bags or cardboard boxes that have your logo printed. It is a very good way to reinforce your brand, and except for very few cases (such as erotic online stores), it has no problem that the name of your company is visible on the packaging.
What pricing policy?
Should the customer pay for shipping separately? Is it better to offer free delivery? It is an important issue, because one of the main reasons for abandoning the online purchase process has to do with transportation costs. It is clear that you have to make your margins and that the client has to pay for the logistics service, but you have many ways to do it.
- The most common is to charge a standard amount separately for the delivery (especially if the size and weight of the shipments are similar).
- Another strategy is to raise the price of your products a bit, but offer free delivery.
- You can also opt for a mixed strategy: offering free delivery only from a certain purchase amount, which ensures a margin.
To decide what prices to apply, you have to study your logistics costs, your margins and of course the transport pricing policy of your competition. Customers often look at various web pages and compare.
What delivery times?
The ideal thing for a buyer would be that half an hour after placing their order a delivery person would come with the package, just like what happens with food at home. Obviously, these deadlines are not possible for an online store, especially if it is small. But you understand what I mean: you have to ensure that the deadlines are as short as possible.
For that you have two key elements:
- Your own provisioning process. You can depend on the delivery times of other providers. So that it does not affect you too much, you can choose to have stocks of products or raw materials, but that has a financial cost that can be important. Analyze it very well.
- Your manufacturing and packaging process. If your activity goes beyond distribution, and it takes time to manufacture an item, you have to be very clear about your deadlines and take into account the bottlenecks that may occur when many orders arrive at the same time.
- The type of shipping service you use. Normally, it is cheaper to opt for more distant deliveries than to hire express delivery companies, but the long deadlines are against your commercial interest.
What courier providers?
Finally, you have to select which provider (s) you are going to work with. For small shipments you can use normal postal services, but for other types of items, you probably need to negotiate with courier company like Carter Couriers. There are several with national and international coverage, and if you have a significant volume of shipments each year, you may be able to get good conditions, both in terms of terms and prices.
If you take some time to reflect on each of these five logistics aspects, you can greatly improve the profitability and projection of your online store. Take this into account and start making improvements now. You will see how your business benefits from these changes.