This weeks guest blog is from Jenny Nguyen, Partner Marketing Manager and Megan Miller, Partner Marketing & Events Intern, from ShipStation. ShipStation is a leading web-based shipping platform solution that helps eCommerce retailers import, organise, process, and ship their orders quickly and easily from any web browser.
As you scale, keeping costs down while increasing efficiency becomes a major priority. To be a successful, eCommerce company, one must address action-items like fulfilment, shipping and logistics early on. There are many factors to consider, but you don’t have to develop your strategy all on your own. We have gathered five of the best tips for you to think about when you’re building out a fulfilment strategy for your eCommerce business.
1. Pick a Platform That Scales With You
As eCommerce businesses grow, most tend to outgrow their original platforms. Their original hosting platforms and workflows are no longer equipped to handle the volume associated with the increased number of shipments. Whether you are an eCommerce novice or a seasoned veteran, it is important to choose a third-party shipping platform that will grow alongside you. Being selective in your platform choice can also help you in more ways than just fulfilment. This can include access to:
- Courier and marketplace connections: As you grow, you will be adding new couriers, obtaining new rates, expanding to new marketplaces. Your shipping platform should already have all of these connections, have negotiated rates, and it should be easy to connect to these new channels as you expand.
- Marketing connections: The introduction to those who specialise in elements of site design, marketing practices, and customer support. Many have quality connections with different solution providers to help solve more complicated situations.
- Customisable automation rules: Using a platform that will allow you to adjust shipping requirements, product lists, attributes, filters, presets, etc. is vital as your business continues to scale.
2. Pick a Platform with an International Strategy in mind
Growing into different international sectors will eventually be discussed as businesses start to grow. It’s important to note that not all platforms have services available for those all over the world. Do your research to ensure that the shipping platform you choose is available in the markets you want to expand to.
Different countries require lots of adaptations for your website. For example, selling internationally online involves checking out in different currencies, changing the language, and updating fulfilment needs. A shipping platform like ShipStation helps you grow internationally through their presence in the international market with courier integrations across the globe (like Australia Post, Sendle, UPS, DHL, Canada Post, Royal Mail, USPS, FedEx, etc.).
3. Pick a Platform with Automation Rules
The key to success in eCommerce is by developing automation rules. There are so many places where automation rules can benefit your business – marketing, shipping, etc. The possibilities are endless! The key is to be able to save as many clicks and scans as possible for your warehouse staff and anyone touching the shipping logistics process.
A good illustration would be, if you tend to ship lots of 500g parcels, you can set up an automation rule to assign the cheapest courier to ship any parcel order that comes in with the same specifications. You should be able to make the automation rules as simple or complicated as you wish. No matter what you chose, this process will save your business time and money you can dedicate elsewhere.
4. Pick a Platform with Branding Capabilities
The hard work you put in to build your business to its current size doesn’t stop when your customer purchases the product. As you scale, details like branding are small, but essential features to focus on.
Don’t let your brand disappear as you grow. A shipping platform like ShipStation allows for branded shipping labels, tracking, and returns that act as another branding touch-point for your customers. Here is an example of what your branded tracking page could look like.
It is important to be able to keep your brand top of mind with your customers from checkout to the time they receive their parcels.
For more information, ShipStation has created a branding-specific blog so you can know how to brand best.
5. Pick a Platform with Returns Capabilities
Dealing with returns is a natural part of the eCommerce business. There’s no getting around it! Make it easy for your customers to return products. According to many studies, a simple return policy is not only a great way to set yourself apart from the competition, but also supports the development of strong customer retention.
Some shipping platforms provide branded returns portals to streamline the returns process and to keep returns within the same platform you’re shipping out of.
There are quite a few things to consider to determine your best option for a shipping platform, but one last important thing to mention is to speak with whom you want to work with. Before creating a business relationship, speaking with your partner will help you determine if they are truly the best fit. Finding the right partner is an important part of your business and you should dedicate the time to pick the best one. Good luck with your search!
About the Authors
Jenny Nguyen is the Partner Marketing Manager at ShipStation. Jenny currently works on go-to-market strategies for ShipStation’s partners from onboarding, technical integration, to continued opportunities.
Megan Miller is a Partner Marketing & Events Intern at ShipStation. Megan puts her talents to use through data-driven content creation optimised for SEO. She has multiple certifications for inbound marketing, email marketing, content marketing and Adwords.