Putting up your own online business entails a lot of hard work. During the initial stages, aside from the fun and exciting portion of designing your website and even before you start spreading the word on social media, you'll need to face the not-so-interesting task of choosing a shipping carrier.
You don't have to limit your shipping carrier to one, though. It's always better to offer some choices for your customers so depending on the size of your online store and the type of products you'll be transporting, you can probably use about 2 to 6 different carriers. Beyond this, it might get a little confusing already.
So how do you determine which are the ideal shipping carriers for your own online store? Here are the 8 factors you ought to keep in mind:
Type of Products
The very first element you ought to consider is the type of products you will need to ship to customers. When reviewing different carriers, you must ask about the allowed sizes, shapes, and kinds of products so you'll know which one will work for you.
There are certain limits that might serve as a hindrance. There are also policies that may not be suitable for your products, such as if you're selling food supplements or perfumes. Sometimes you'll also come across carriers which do not ship very expensive or fragile items. Hence, it's essential to take note of these things when consulting the various carriers you're considering.
Are you going to ship locally only or do you expect to have international consumers too? This is again a very important factor because then you'll have to incorporate both international and local shipping carriers in your options.
It's vital to include this factor in the list too. You can't just pick a shipping carrier with cheaper rates and end up with bigger trouble if the item gets lost or takes a long time to be delivered. You have to do a background check on each carrier you'll be getting because an excellent track record is of utmost importance.
For instance, the most popular, well-established, and reputable international shipping companies today include Fedex, DHL, UPS, and the United States Postal Service (USPS). There are also many locally renowned services in different countries worth mentioning--- Parcelforce Worldwide from UK, Japan Post Service from Japan, and Royal Mail from London to name a few.
Online shoppers want to get their products as early as possible. Hence, you ought to check out the expected speed of delivery from local and international carriers. For example, you might want to include local carriers that offer same day shipping for a slightly more expensive rate. At least you can present this option to your customers.
When it comes to international shipments, you might be looking at a period of 3 days to 2 weeks, depending on the countries involved. Compare the length of time for delivery when it comes to the usual countries that may order from you.
Of course it's always better to choose carriers with remarkable tracking services. Most big shipping companies have an online site where customers can check for their tracking numbers and the status of delivery. This way, it will be easier for them to monitor if the package is on the way already or has just been picked up. It's also a good way for you to monitor the deliveries and if the carriers are doing their jobs well. At least you can easily coordinate with your customers on shipping and delivery concerns.
Please take note that not all shipping carriers provide insurance. If this is something that you deem to be important, you ought to go for those with this feature. You should then check the rates too for comparison. After all, you want to give yourself and customers that extra peace of mind that the item will be paid for if lost.
If you're a busy person and you have plenty of customers to attend to, it's much better to select shipping carriers that can pick up the packages from your house, office, stockroom, or warehouse. This way, you get to save time, money, and effort in traveling or even waiting in line.
Have you ever tried shopping at an online store where there's automatic computation of the shipment rates based on the weight of products, destination, and other details? This is what you refer to as live rates. It can be an added advantage for shoppers so you must check for the shipping carriers that offer this service. Furthermore, confirm with your online store builder or e-commerce platform if they support the integration of live rates.
It's but natural to consider pricing too. If you intend to offer free shipping, it's especially crucial to compute for the pricing of your products while taking in the rates of the carrier you'll use.
Moreover, you want the best prices for your consumers. If you plan to give options of shipping carrier, you must post all the rates according to weight, size, and/or destination. Sometimes there are merchants who include such in the product descriptions if each type of product has distinct shipment rules and rates.
If you're new in the industry, try not to be overwhelmed by all of these factors that you have to remember and consider. Just browse through the various features and offers of eminent and reputable shipping carriers first, and then eliminate according to the elements discussed above. If you want to further reduce the choices, you should look deeper into your business's particular needs and priorities.