5 Things You Need to Know About Fulfillment and Shipping for Your eCommerce Store

Look around and see that giant fulfillment centers are popping up all over the world.  The rise in fulfillment centers directly correlates to the rise in eCommerce.  The market of convenience and accurate shipping has become the quintessential component in operating your B2C and B2B businesses. 

The ability to order an item online and to receive it quickly not only drives our decisions as consumers to make a purchase but also our decisions to return to the merchant as a repeat buyer.

In a perfect world, online retailers would have and endless supply of customers visiting their site daily and be selling hundreds of dollars in merchandise but with the saturation and ease of opening online “virtual” stores this world has become extremely competitive over the last 5 years.   Huge companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on ads agencies, online marketing teams, SEO “experts” and are employing dozens of people to push their products in front of the world’s eyes daily.  It is virtually impossible to compete with these giants of industry on a dollar per dollar level, but to many online retailers it has provided a new way to differentiate themselves from the masses.

The secret is staring us right in the face and it’s the businesses that think from a customer’s perspective that are paving the way for themselves to stand out in the crowd.

Truth be told there is no secret sauce or magic wand to wave in order to make your business a success overnight.  It takes hard work, dedication and helpful insight from others that have learned through mistakes how to grow an online business successfully.  In this article we are going to share a few “secrets” and a few tips to help you implement the ideas presented into “real” world practical knowledge and usage.    

FREE SHIPPING:

Sure, it sounds crazy and yes it will effectively cut into your margins BUT a recent study that showed 66% of all consumers expect to meet a minimum purchase requirement to qualify for free shipping.  In fact, 91% of all consumers reported leaving a website within seconds if free shipping is not offered.  What does this mean for you?  Well that’s simple… OFFER FREE SHIPPING.  You can use it as both a marketing tool and to entice your customers to spend more money to qualify. 

Even if this sounds like a fool proof plan please don’t be fooled.  Free Shipping might entice the customer to spend more but the cost of covering the additional shipping expenses for each sale might be counterproductive.  There are many ways this option could backfire if not implemented correctly and only 1 way to lose everything you’ve worked so hard to build.  That way is making customers angry with slow delivery times and mis shipped orders.

ORDER FULFILLMENT:

As stated earlier in the introduction, the quintessential component of operating your eCommerce business is fast and accurate shipping.  Consumers are willing to wait a few days to receive their online purchase if it arrives accurately and in a timely fashion.  This is where it becomes a vital part of your business to find a fulfillment center that can not only handle spikes in order volume but also can ensure a 99.99% accuracy rate in daily shipments.  As your business grows it is imperative to show your customers how reliable you are as a merchant and that care has been placed in delivering their purchase to their doorstep.  This often-overlooked piece of the logistics chain can make or break your store within a few days depending on order volume.   Finding an eCommerce fulfillment center that can provide you reasonable rates as well as fast and accurate shipping worldwide will can ensure that your customer receives their purchase quickly and accurately. Therefore, having a centralized location in a major HUB such as Las Vegas is vital to your growth.  Offering thousands of daily flights in and out of the city , it has become one of the absolute hottest markets for eCommerce fulfillment center parcels.    

Be Clear with Return Policies:

Having a well-defined return policy on your website seems like an easy enough strategy to implement but you’d be surprised just how difficult some companies make returning an item.  An angry customer that wanted a blue item and received a green item will be patient until they are told they’re not receiving their money back.  There is an almost 100% chance that the angry customer will be on the phone with their Credit Card company to dispute the charges and create a chargeback nightmare for you,  but as we all know in today’s digital world a million people will see that angry customers complaint on any website or social media platform they can find to vent.

How can you avoid this?

Make sure that your order and fulfillment policies are clearly outlined, front and center on your website to attract the consumers attention.  If you’re considering offering free shipping, that should be one of the things your buyer sees first and foremost when landing on your eCommerce website.

REAL Shipping Rates:

So maybe offering FREE shipping isn’t the way to go for your business model after reading through the above tips. Let’s say for the sake of argument that you’ve decided to offer a flat rate for shipping anywhere in the US but let’s also be completely honest and transparent with each other.  Does anyone really believe that an item weighing 8oz being placed into a bubble mailer, provided by an eCommerce Fulfillment center that buys thousands of them is actually costing them $9.95 to ship within the same state.  I mean sure it’s a nice margin on shipping and yes it falls into a flat rate shipping model but being realistic, that customer knows you’re ripping them off.  Your eCommerce Fulfillment center is getting steep parcel volume discounts and your customer knows that too. 

It’s not that bad I promise.  Giving consumers the option of exact shipping rates through various carriers such as USPS, FedEx or UPS can be a fantastic strategy all things considered.  Going back to be honest and transparent your customer will appreciate being able to choose their shipping option and seeing exactly what they’re paying for based on precise factors such as size, weight, distance etc…

By using this honest and upfront pricing strategy you are still covering a portion of the fulfillment costs but you can now also add small surcharges to the rate which the consumer may or may not choose ie: priority shipping or expedited options.

Remembering Smart Business Practices:

In todays modern, fast paced world we often forget that we need to slow down and enjoy the things happening around us every day.  Treating each customer that walks in the door or into our virtual store like they are the most important person in the world should be the top priority. 

The fundamentals of human kindness and honesty seem to have gotten lost in this digital age of technology.  If we treat a virtual customer, the way we want to be treated when we are the brick and mortar consumer then we are doing alright. 

Priding ourselves on honesty and transparency with all our B2B and B2C clients is something we at Black Mountain Fulfillment Las Vegas believe in whole heartedly.  We realize that when our clients succeed in their eCommerce store, we too can succeed and grow with them.  Each of our employees believes in the system and fundamentals we have in place and that is why we continue to grow.

Remember to treat everyone you encounter from big to small as both partners and friends is the only real secret you need to grow your business..

What are some of the stories or questions you have? I’d love to hear them and to help clarify anything on your mind. Go ahead and share them in the comments below!

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