Shipping Best Practices for Online Retailers

11/25/2013 — Leah Palnik

Businesses are gearing up for the inevitable increase in traffic that comes with the busy holiday season. Luckily for shoppers, they no longer have to face long lines and crowded parking lots to get their shopping done during this busy time — they can choose to do it all online.

In the past several years, Cyber Monday has been catching up to Black Friday in popularity, offering consumers an alternative way to get the best deals while crossing names off their —nice list.' Online retailers have undoubtedly already begun preparing for Cyber Monday by ramping up marketing efforts and making sure their websites can handle the increased traffic.

If you're one of the businesses gearing up for Cyber Monday and the rest of the holiday season, it's important to not forget the basics of optimizing the online shopping experience for your customers. Shipping is a very important component of the online sale process and a key part to your ecommerce success. Here are some shipping best practices to keep in mind:

  • Be transparent. Include shipping costs on the product page, instead of hiding them behind a login page, and give extended information on what the customer can expect from each shipping option.
  • Consider a free shipping strategy. You could provide free shipping at a minimum order price, offer free or reduced shipping to your best customers, or offer it for a limited time. For more ideas, check out How to Effectively Offer Free Shipping.
  • Keep your customers in the loop. Arguably one of the biggest downfalls of online shopping is the waiting game, so let your customers know their order is in good hands. Email them a receipt confirmation of their order once they place it, notify them when it has shipped, and most importantly provide them with the tracking number.
  • Make returns easy. There is an increased element of risk when shopping online. Consumers often worry What if it doesn't fit? or What if it doesn't work like I thought it would?. Give your customers the reassurance they need by presenting them with a simple and hassle-free return policy. Better yet, make that policy clear early on in the sale process to ease their nerves and ultimately help secure the sale.
  • Reduce your overall shipping costs. Work with your shipping partners or 3PL (like PartnerShip) to ensure you are saving as much as possible on your shipping. You can pass on any savings you garner to your customers or use it to re-invest in your business. 

Implementing these basic best practices for shipping will provide you with a good foundation for the success of your online sales during this holiday season and beyond. PartnerShip can help you in all facets of your shipping and logistics — not only outbound to your customers, but also inbound from your suppliers. For a free shipping analysis click the button below.

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