Ecommerce is booming and the momentum doesn’t seem to be showing signs of slowing anytime soon. The year over year growth is astounding with estimated ecommerce sales expected to reach $700 billion by 2022, according to data by Statista.
However, as the ecommerce industry grows, more competition is at the table to get a slice of the multi-billion dollar pie. This competition has led to unprecedented changes in shipping products purchased online. There are now free shipping options, free returns options, and more offered by online retailers to sweeten the deal for consumers.
This has led to larger gaps in profit margins for small ecommerce businesses trying to compete with big box retailers with an online sales platform, as well as ecommerce giants like Jeff Bezos’ Amazon and eBay.
There are however, ways to master shipping in 2019 businesses can consider. The following ecommerce shipping tactics can serve as your playbook. Let’s dive in!
1. Automate the Ecommerce Shipping Process
Unlike big box retailers and leading ecommerce sites, you don’t have thousands of employees tending to your shipping process. This can make it difficult to compete, but by automating the process you can streamline shipping. This can have an impact on your profits, since less mistakes are made and more time can be allocated to building your ecommerce business for long-term growth and success.
Automating the shipping process is also a lot less complicated as it sounds. It is simply just setting up rules that keep everything running smoothly. For instance, you can automate label shipping by having a shipping options available on your checkout/cart web page, like shipping category and saved carrier selections.
This reduces the need to pull up shipping orders and process them manually in order to create the shipping label on every purchase. This saves a lot of time and decreases costly mistakes.
2. Make International Shipping Easier
International shipping is another pain point for ecommerce businesses, whether shipping to customers, or receiving product to sell in your country. You would think this isn’t such a big deal, but international shipping costs and international shipping regulations can be very costly, depending on the country you are doing business in.
“Many U.S. online retailers and auction site sellers do not ship purchases overseas, charge too much for international shipping, or do not accept international credit cards,” according to BluePostal, an international shipping solution provider for consumers and businesses.
There are now a lot of solutions ecommerce businesses can utilize when it comes to international shipping. For example, there is dropshipping of course, but there are also intermediary companies that will take the leg work out of international shipping for you at a pretty affordable shipping rate with reduced international taxes.
This can open up a whole new marketplace for ecommerce businesses, since it gives you the opportunity to compete with the likes of Amazon and eBay, companies that have global online sales shipping reach.
3. Cut Costs to Serve Up Free Shipping Options
Maybe one of the most challenging obstacles ecommerce businesses have when it comes to competing with large ecommerce sites and big box retailers is free shipping for online purchases. As you know, shipping any product can be costly, especially when you want to keep your product prices low enough to compel consumers to buy from you and not competitors.
So how can you offer free shipping like the big ecommerce players? This is in fact a million dollar question. One of the best ways is to find a way to cut your operation costs to lower shipping prices or serve up free shipping on all products. This can be very hard, but not impossible.
If you are receiving product from manufacturers overseas, maybe you can order more product at a discounted rate in order to offset shipping costs to your customers. This of course only works if you have the storage space. You can also just eat the cost on your end if the math tells you that more sales via free shipping would actually increase your bottom line over a fiscal year. You just need to find that cost cut somewhere.
In Conclusion . . .
The above three shipping tactics for business success are only the tip of the iceberg. There are certainly more tactics you can identify and employ in 2019 to make shipping easier, cheaper, and work for your profit margins. From automation to opening up international markets, how you approach shipping can be the key to exponential growth this year.