As the world of ecommerce develops so do the expectations of customers who buy online. Years ago, packaging and shipping was simply a way to receive a product purchased online, but more and more people are looking for shipping, packaging and presentation as part of the ecommerce experience.
This expectation means that for many businesses, outside of selling commodities, competing effectively means going above and beyond to impress customers and exceed their expectations by delivering an experience, not just a product.
Before you can ship your products, you’ll need to package them for safe transport. So what options do you have? There are a few common options for packaging including boxes or envelopes (padded or unpadded). For many businesses and products, you’ll a box as well as some other packaging materials to safely ship your products.
You may also want to try thinking outside of the box (no pun intended) and look at other packaging options. For example, poly mailers can be a great way to mail products that don’t need a lot of structure or cushioning, like clothing.
Poly mailers offer multiple benefits. They’re lightweight, which reduces your shipping costs, and they can adjust to different volumes and weights depending on what’s included in the order. For example, the same size of poly mailer could accommodate one pair of socks, or five, and you wouldn’t be overpaying on packaging weight or dimensions for the single pair.
Keep it light and small
Because the cost of most shipping options is based on size and/or weight, do your best to keep your packaging as small as possible. This will not only help you save on your shipping costs and what your customer paid for shipping, but will also keep packaging costs from eating away your profit margin.
Depending on your business and product line, you may want to consider carrying a variety of package sizes and packaging materials.
Most people would consider the packaging for the product above to be excessive. This is exactly what you’re trying to avoid as it inflates shipping costs dramatically.
Insurance and tracking
Depending on what you’re selling and its value, shipping insurance and tracking can offer a great deal of security. With most carriers, insurance and tracking is relatively inexpensive and provides you recourse should one of your packages get lost or damaged. Some shipping services like UPS and USPS Priority Mail offer complimentary coverage for up to $100, and that coverage can be up to $200 in some cases.
Consider purchasing insurance on big-ticket items so that, in the rare cases when a package does get lost, you’ll be covered. Keep in mind that some shipping services have insurance already built into the price, so consider this when you are comparing various courier prices.
Customs declaration and forms
If you’re shipping outside of your own country, you’ll need to include the proper customs documentation. These are available online through Shopify or at your local post office or shipping retail location. These forms tell the customs officers at the country of import what is in the package, how much it costs, and whether it is a gift or merchandise.
Check with your country’s postal service to find out exactly which forms you’ll need to attach to your package. These forms should be completed honestly and clearly to prevent your package from getting held up in Customs.
Tariffs, taxes and duties
If there are any additional customs fees due when a package reaches its destination, your customer will be responsible for them at the time of delivery. It’s always a good idea to make sure to include this information in your shipping policy page so customers aren’t surprised by unexpected fees.
Here’s an example of how one store prominently displays information regarding additional charges on their shipping policy page to ensure customers are aware of possible charges:
Customs declaration information
For more information on customs declaration and the required forms and policies, please see the resources below:
USPS Customs Information
If you have difficulty with packaging and shipping, AsiaCommerce has a service to help you. We can also help you to market and sell your products, both a retail product or a product that needs to be sold in a huge amount. We are making it possible for local business leaders to cooperate with the International global market. Besides export service, we can also help you to import, transport, search for foreign products, and handle distribution issues of your company in southeast Asia.
You put a lot of effort into making sure your customers have a great experience. You approve the images, you tweak your store, and you write the emails, all with the goal of leaving your customers happy.
But when it comes to shipping, it can feel like you’re handing your brand over to a stranger.
All shipping couriers base shipping rates on a variety of factors including:
Plus additional shipping options like tracking and insurance.
It can be difficult to compare services exactly as they all offer slightly different options, and every business will have their own unique variables.
Below we have compiled a list of shipping calculators to some of the largest and most popular shipping couriers so that you can begin comparing pricing and options. If you’re based in the US or Canada, you can pay for USPS, UPS, DHL Express, and Canada Post shipping and receive pre-negotiated rates.
Consider your margins
To be successful at ecommerce, you always need to keep an eye on your profit margins. Because shipping represents a significant expense for ecommerce merchants, if you don’t do your research, you could end up losing money on shipping.
Before you finalize your pricing and strategy for your ecommerce store, you should use a chart like the one below to map out all costs associated with getting your products into your customers’ hands. Many ecommerce entrepreneurs are shocked by how quickly the little charges add up. Don’t get caught in the same trap.
Here’s a quick example of how you could calculate your total price to include the cost of shipping.
Cost of product
Customs/Duties (if you cover them)
Credit card fee
If you have difficulty with shipping, AsiaCommerce has a service to help you. We can also help you to market and sell your products, both a retail product or a product that needs to be sold in a huge amount. We are making it possible for local business leaders to cooperate with the International global market. Besides export service, we can also help you to import, transport, search for foreign products, and handle distribution issues of your company in southeast Asia.
COVID-19 has a huge impact on communities and on our economy. Since the quarantine, retailers have closed their locations and people stay home to social distance, there has been an increase in online shopping and package deliveries. In this new normal, businesses are adapting but still using online shopping and package deliveries.
While shipping carriers continue to operate as an essential service, there may be some changes that could temporarily impact the way you fulfill orders. To keep your business moving during these uncertain times, we’ve put together a list of strategies to help you ship orders and communicate with customers.
Optimizing your shipping strategy
Getting products to your customers
Communicating with your customers
1. Optimize your shipping strategy
Free packaging materials
Many carriers offer free packaging for use with a specific shipping rate. Although there is no cost for the materials, you might need to create a free account with the carrier in order for them to send it to you.
Shipping rates at checkout
Now more than ever, customers are expecting fast and affordable delivery options.
While shipping times can’t be controlled, you can consider pricing options like free or flat-rate shipping. If you choose to offer free shipping, you can include the fee in your product prices, or you can absorb the shipping costs. If you choose to offer flat-rate shipping, customers will pay one consistent rate depending on where they are located.
Save time buying shipping labels
Adding weights for your products and packages will ensure you get accurate label prices and save time when purchasing a label.
2. Get products to your customers
Due to COVID-19, some carriers have temporarily changed their shipping services and policies. Shipping delays should be expected due to canceled flights, governmental decisions, and staff reductions. Consider offering local delivery for customers who are located nearby.
3. Communicate with your customers
Stay in touch with your customers to communicate shipping delays and encourage engagement through updates and promotional offers.
Communicate shipping delays
Send an email to your subscribers and/or create an announcement bar to share shipping updates with customers on your site.
Leverage social media
With many people staying at home, now is a good time to communicate using social media. Let your customers know how they can continue to support your business, whether through online shopping, local pickups and deliveries, or with gift cards. You can also share promotional codes to boost sales and communicate safety measures your business is following.
Most companies begin to fulfill their own orders, while some eventually use a third-party logistics solution as they grow. Thing is, sometimes it’s difficult to know when to switch, especially when you build your own company from the ground up with nothing but personal savings.
Businesses with various sizes can get benefit by using warehousing and fulfillment services. There are variety of companies that offer warehousing and fulfillment services, some of which specialize in smaller or larger-scale operations
However, there are clear signs that it’s time to switch to outsourced fulfillment.
Cyclical or uneven sales
If the number of orders you process fluctuates throughout the year, it’s probably difficult for you to handle to running and staffing your own warehouse. A logistics company will be able to adapt to your needs.
Besides, unexpected spikes in sales can interfere your delivery promise. An expert can handle times when your daily order volume peaks so you can focus on your delivery consistency and make efficient experience every time.
You’re too busy
If you’re too busy dealing with order fulfillment and thus distract your growth focus, it’s probably time to outsourcing it. As a business owner, you need to be able to devote time to sales and marketing, expanding to other e-commerce platforms, sourcing new products and ideas, and improving your business for the long term.
Lack of infrastructure
If you’re expanding your business geographically, you may outgrow your current infrastructure before you can adapt. Shipping to locations across the country or even the world comes with logistical challenges that increase expenses and shipping times. This can inhibit large-scale growth.
When you outsource to a global fulfillment partner, they’ll be better equipped to serve a growing customer base, leveraging multiple locations, and optimizing fulfillment accordingly.
Third-party warehousing and fulfillment isn’t right for everyone, but if you find yourself in one of these situations, it might be time to start calling around and chatting with logistics companies.
Do you need any help in fulfillment and cross border distribution? With the right fulfillment team, you can really focus on your business and assign operational things to us. All you need to do is fill the form here: www.asiacommerce.net, go to ‘need fulfillment’ section on our home page, then our team will contact you right away! Or just click here to enjoy our fulfillment service
The clear advantage of using a third-party logistics (3PL) company to outsources fulfillment is that it saves you from having to do the work yourself. But there is a deeper advantage, outsourcing warehousing and fulfillment can have a meaningful impact on your business’s growth.
Avoid long-term leases
Many logistic companies offer adjustable pricing. This means they’ll be able to adjust to your needs and costs accordingly as you grow or go through slow period. Renting your own warehouse mostly requires more of a commitment.
Bring on the experts
When you hire an outsourced fulfillment services provider, you’re not only get a warehouse space, but also people who will be responsible for running the fulfillment center. When you fulfill and ship your won orders, you’ll likely need to hire your staff as you expand. Managing staff takes time. If your business is still constantly changes, you may be wary of promising someone a job. Instead, you can outsource the work to a logistics company and let them be responsible for finding and hiring good people.
Each 3PL has a whole team of logistics experts and support staff who will always be there to help you along the way. They maintain all of the labor needed for receiving, inventory management, and order processing and shipping, giving you an advance agility you might not achieve easily on your own.
Use your time to optimize
It is very likely that you don’t start a business just because you are good at packing boxes. Your time is better used to manage and optimize your company, not stuck in the logistics of order fulfillment. When you let someone else handle your logistical details, you can focus on the things that have a greater impact on your bottom line.
Be more agile
Although doing it yourself is mostly free, it can actually cost you in the long run. Consumers mostly expect faster shipping times, doing it in-house less likely meet their expectations and deliver a bad customer experience. Partnering with a 3PL for fulfillment services can benefit you from their effectiveness and buying power leverage on packaging and shipping costs. Some even update you with a real-time stock level and status so you can be proactive.
This extra time can give you and your team to test new strategies, inventory management techniques, and other strategies to achieve rapid growth without worrying about back-end logistics or hiring backlogs.
Do you need any help in fulfillment and cross border distribution? With the right fulfillment team, you can really focus on your business and assign operational things to us. All you need to do is fill the form here: www.asiacommerce.net then go to ‘need fulfillment’ section on our home page, then our team will contact you right away!
Warehousing, shipping, and fulfillment can’t be separated when you begin to establish an e-commerce business or selling products.
Even though making sells is always the exciting part, you need to make sure your products end up in customers’ hands.
There are three options you can choose to make this happen:
Sell your product through a drop-shipper who will place orders for you
Place your order independently
Collaborate with a logistics company that will handle your warehousing and fulfillment
There are certain advantages from packing and shipping your own orders: it’s cheap and flexible. Often times, businesses that are just starting out, and businesses that have extra packaging needs, usually handle their own logistics.
And regardless of age or industry, any business struggling with cash flow will be better off handling things in-house. Sometimes you have more time to spend than money.
But if your business has expanded and growing quickly so you have the cash on hand to outsourced, you may consider for using third-party warehousing and fulfillment.
There are many logistics companies that will store your product and take care of packing and shipping your orders, but not all logistics companies provide fulfillment services such as AsiaCommerce.
But What is fulfillment service?
A fulfillment service is a third-party warehouse that prepares and ships your orders for you. It does this from its fulfillment center. E-commerce fulfillment services are ideal for businesses that don’t want to deal with shipping or have outgrown existing warehousing capabilities to a point where they’re unable to ship orders themselves anymore.
If you’re scaling fast and looking to optimize your fulfillment strategy, working with a provider that offers a central view of your data and smart inventory allocation across multiple warehouses will give you the most flexibility. To learn more about the AsiaCommerce fulfillment services, visit us here
What does a fulfillment center do?
While each fulfillment center operates slightly differently, they all accomplish the same thing: they act as a command center for all your order prepping and shipping needs. Fulfillment centers also double as warehouse spaces for inventory storage, allowing you to hold onto product.
Some fulfillment service providers have multiple fulfillment centers, allowing them to serve different geographic locations more quickly than if they were to have just one. This allows e-commerce companies to deliver fast and affordable shipping to a diverse customer base.
What do fulfillment services cost?
Fulfillment services typically charge by the hour or per unit/pallet. Providers add up costs for receiving, storage, pick and pack, shipping, kitting or bundling, returns, custom packaging, gift services, and setup. They then apply transactional (e.g., receiving, shipping) and recurring (e.g., storage) fees.
If your business has big goals, fluctuating sales, but not enough time to take care of things in-house, AsiaCommerce will help you! Just fill the form here