Being aware of every detail in the shipping process is a must for all business owners. However, that does not always happen because they are more concerned with the quality of their product and their customers’ needs. There is a lot more to think about than getting a product from point A to point B, but it gets lost with the millions of other things that an entrepreneur thinks of. There are, however, numerous factors that control how quick, carefully, or cost-effectively their product travels from a 3PL warehouse to a doorstep, or how those factors impact quality and customer satisfaction.
While logistics and shipping mistakes are easily made in small businesses, the good news is that they’re often easy to identify and correct. Here are five ways to avoid common shipping mistakes all together:
- Give your customers the power of choice – Each customer is unique. Some may want their packages delivered at a faster rate, and are willing to pay more for the service. Others may not mind how fast their order gets to them as long as the shipping is free. According to a recent study conducted by ORC International, 82 percent of Americans prefer free shipping, while 17 percent prefer fast shipping where the parcel arrives in one to two days for a fee. However, the average price customers are willing to pay is $8.50, and only 19 percent of those who want fast shipping are willing to pay more than $10. The simple solution of providing your customers with multiple shipping options will allow them to choose the shipping method that they prefer, free or fast.
- Do not guesstimate costs- Be sure to research the proper and most cost effective way to ship an item. Depending on your carrier, additional charges may be applied for things like Saturday delivery, fuel surcharges, delivery signatures, and residential delivery charges. By devoting a little time to understand these fees, you can avoid having to pay extraneous sums by eliminating the shipping methods that you or customers do not need. If you do not fully understand it, contacting a carrier or shipper to get more information is another viable option.
- Plan for changes from shipping carriers to occur- The world of shipping can be chaotic. The one constant in that industry has always been change. If you are unprepared for it, then it could be financially disastrous. Shipping prices and policies change every year. It usually takes place at the beginning of the year, but could happen mid-year as well. Soaring fuel costs, a driver shortage that’s driving up wages, and regulatory mandates requiring cleaner, more fuel-efficient and more expensive engines. Transportation costs are likely to continue to rise as well, which should be taken into account when dealing with a carrier.
- Automate your shipping process- Nobody likes wasting time, especially if that time can be spent on important matters that concern your business. This is why automating your shipping process is so important. With e-commerce shipping software, you can stop doing most of the manual tasks that come with the shipping process. Making your product and packaging look more professional is also made possible through the creation of customized invoices and packing slips. In the end, you are able to save multiple hours in a day, making life better for you and your customer.
- Audit your shipments- Multiple studies have shown that packages arrive late about 10 percent of the time, but shippers do not refund the full amount of late arrivals. If your shipments have been audited, however, you can be reimbursed for a carrier’s shipping errors such as late deliveries, incorrect Saturday delivery charges, duplicate charges and incorrect address corrections. Checking each shipment can be time consuming, which is why automating the process with companies like Refund Retriever could be beneficial.