When you’re starting your online business, it’s vital that you consider how you’re going to get your product into your customer’s hands.
Get it right and you’ll have a happy and loyal customer who will tell the world about your brand and help drive your business towards greater success. Get it wrong and your products might arrive damaged, broken or tampered with, if they even arrive at all. Not to mention the potential of the customer complaining about your service to their contacts.
That’s why it’s so important to choose the best shipping method for your unique product, considering factors such as weight, size, tracking, reliability and cost.
Here are five questions that you can ask yourself to help you make the right decision.
1. How heavy are your products?
Start by considering the size and weight of your products, as this can affect how you package your product, the price of shipping and which service you should consider.
You can usually send smaller parcels and letters with a flat rate pricing system, although larger items will need to be priced accordingly. Bear in mind that factors such as thickness and weight will also influence the price, especially if you’re shipping using the Royal Mail.
Most shipping companies offer a free online calculator to help you understand potential costs. These include:
2. Where are you shipping to?
Many small businesses start by shipping items locally to help keep shipping costs low. However, in this global age, there’s absolutely no reason to limit yourself to the UK.
Consider shipping internationally and you can expand your market and potentially create a global brand. This will influence which postage method you use and whether you should use a courier or a local service.
When it comes to international shipping, it’s important to choose your shipping method carefully, calculate postage times and read as many reviews as you can to ensure your product arrives with your customer as quickly as possible.
3. Do you want to include tracking?
Many shipping companies offer parcel tracking services which can add extra value to your customers and help improve the overall shopping experience. They’ll know that their product is indeed on the way and suggest when their purchase might arrive.
Tracking is often included in shipping prices, but occasionally can cost extra so it’s worth considering whether you want to include this feature in your shipping options.
4. How reliable is the shipping method that you’re considering?
Reliability is key when it comes to creating a successful business. You don’t want to invest your blood, sweat and tears working on the core of your business, only to have the shipping company disappoint.
That’s why it’s so important to do your research before you choose your shipping method.
Read reviews carefully and consider their track record. Do they lose items? Are there any delays? How quickly are items delivered? What is their general track record?
Only choose the shipping company that offers the very best service for your customers.
5. Will you charge for shipping?
Considering how you’ll cover the cost of shipping is also a very important consideration before you make any decisions.
Will you include free shipping, or will the customer need to pay extra?
Whichever you decide, you have several options to help you cover the cost. You can increase the price of the product to cover shipping, you can increase the price slightly and ask the customer to cover a reduced postage cost, you could offer discount codes for certain customers or you could even offer free shipping for orders over a certain amount.
Once you’ve considered your profit margin, you can better define your budget and decide on the right shipping method for your business.
Selecting the perfect delivery method for your product is a part of the online selling puzzle that you simply can’t ignore. If you care about your customers and you’re serious about achieving business success, consider the questions we’ve shared here and make the best choice for your business needs.