If you own a business that revolves around a product, you will need to develop a shipping policy. Gone are the days when you could count on consumers coming to your brick-and-mortar establishment. In a world where convenience is king, many customers want to put in an order and have their items dropped off at their front door. They don’t have to take time out of their busy day to go shopping. In many instances, customers don’t even have to leave home to buy the products they need. Your shipping policy needs to be competitive, helping you to bring sales your way. You also need to take into account the following 7 considerations when it comes to commercial shipping.
1. Decide What Options You are Going to Offer for Your Customers
As you plan your delivery strategies, you need to determine what levels you are willing to provide for consumers. You have standard delivery that is usually handled by the USPS. This is the slowest mode of delivery. Consumers can expect an average of five to ten business days as they wait for their product. The advantage of choosing a standard is it is the most cost-effective for you and your customers. Expedited shipping gives you a faster turnaround. Your customers could have your product at their doorstep in two or three days. This will usually cost more unless you offer a subscription program that provides your customers with free shipping. Your fastest delivery option is overnight. This is going to mean a higher cost for you that must be passed on to consumers. Your best way to determine if you want to offer all three levels of shipping is to look at the demand and trends for your consumer base.
2. Think About the Price Tag
Your customers love to get anything free. That includes shipping. Thanks to the big players on the market now, free shipping is a standard for many companies. Consider making free shipping an offer if your customer chooses standard shipping. If you don’t offer anything for free, you may lose business. When it comes to your more expensive options, look for a rewards program or subscription service with your company that will help your loyal consumers. They’ll be willing to pay for that yearly subscription if they order with you enough to make it worth their while.
3. Choose a Shipping Company that is a Good Fit for You
The USPS is not your only option when you are teaming up with a shipping partner. Research your shipping options, including companies like FedEx and UPS. Look at pricing packages as you look for the most competitive rate. You may even discover a smaller company that can handle all of your transactions while working with various shipping companies, finding the lowest rate every time through knowledge of FedEx or USPS carrier route data, weight, and distance.
4. Pick Your Shipping Materials Carefully
You shouldn’t be in a mad scramble for the right packaging every time you are fulfilling an order. Explore your options for shipping materials, find a company you like when it comes to presentation and price, and stock up. You should have various sizes that will meet the needs of your customers. Consider having your packages labeled with your company name to be more professional. Your consumers will immediately know who has sent their latest package when they see your logo.
5. Put Efficiency at the Top of Your List
You need to keep your shipment process running smoothly. Timely deliveries can give your company the edge. Make sure you have adequate staff to fill your orders. You may need to hire extra staff during different periods of the year when you have high-volume shipping. Be sure to have excellent tracking software to help you stay up to date about all of your packages.
6. Keep Your Customers in the Loop
You need to prioritize communication with your consumers. You can have automated messages that are sent out via text, voicemail, or email to advise customers about the anticipated arrival date of your product. Live representatives should also be available on the phone or through a chat feature on your website to answer questions or resolve any issues. Your customers need to know that they matter to you.
7. Don’t Forget Insurance
Many business owners overlook the importance of insurance on packages in the event something goes wrong in the shipping process. Your customers need to be reimbursed if their product doesn’t arrive or is damaged. Otherwise, you need to send out a replacement item. Go with a third-party provider for your insurance instead of using the insurance offered by your shipping company. You’ll save money.
Be as strategic about the shipping component of your business as you are about your product. You may have the best thing since sliced bread. However, you won’t reach your full potential as a business if you can’t consistently deliver your product to your customers at a price that works for both of you.