As the internet becomes an increasingly accessible place and as today’s shoppers find it more efficient to order things online than to appear at a store in person, the opportunities for eCommerce are practically unlimited. Choosing to avoid eCommerce altogether makes it hard to keep up with the growing list of individuals and businesses that make purchases exclusively online. Some businesses hesitate to engage fully in eCommerce because of the complexities involved. Tasks such as creating a website, ensuring smooth payment options, crafting a helpful eCommerce shipping strategy, and many other aspects of online business can make the whole thing seem daunting.
An additional problem with eCommerce, especially for small businesses, is the high expectations of customers. Since many consumers are used to things like fast free shipping, immediate customer service, and rapid distribution, small business shipping tends to face problems as it tries to keep up with what customers want. Statistics reveal that although many businesses are getting into the necessary online system, many of these companies are not optimizing their shipping strategies. Between poorly crafted systems, a lack of efficient personnel, and a struggle to provide optimal eCommerce fulfillment, businesses are facing poor customer retention and a general downturn in business. To combat this, it’s important to understand how to utilize eCommerce shipping software to take your business to the next level.
Top Inhibitors to a Great Online eCommerce Shipping Strategy
One simple place to target potential failures in eCommerce is the existing infrastructure. The business strategies that have worked for centuries in-store may have to be changed significantly so the business can really work online. Unlike physical stores, which are pretty straightforward in both displays and payment systems, in an online store, every customer interaction has to be programmed. There are several things that customers expect:
- An attractive website
- Simple website navigation
- Clear order forms
- Efficient online payment
- Obvious ways for customers to select what they’re looking for
- Prompt communication with the company at any time
- Rapid and accurate shipping
The overall eCommerce strategy needs to be focused on responding to customer needs as quickly as possible. The online market is constantly changing, however, and customer expectations continue to become more demanding. This requires continual research and restructuring of existing websites and methods of delivering goods. Successful businesses are able to quickly assess what the customer is expecting and make changes to ensure the business isn’t falling behind the times.
The Demand for Instant eCommerce Fulfillment
In the online world, customers are increasingly expecting things to be faster and faster. They want sites to load within seconds, purchases to go through immediately, and they don’t want to have to leave a site in order to contact customer service. While a phone call might seem like one of the fastest ways to talk to customer care about an issue, many young people today vastly prefer an instant messaging system or at least a regularly-monitored email service. With so much else to do, customers enjoy being able to instantly make purchases from their mobile devices and get right back to whatever else is captivating their interests.
While no one yet expects to click “purchase” and receive a notification within 5 minutes that their item has been delivered, large companies are making it possible for customers to expect overnight or 2-day shipping. This can lead to problems for smaller businesses that can’t make shipping happen quite that fast. That isn’t to say that shipping can’t be made better. In your business, getting a product to a customer is a top priority. If you don’t already have a plan to economize on this process, there’s almost certainly room for improvement. One way to improve is by utilizing multi-carrier shipping to find the best rates and fastest shipping for your customers.
Creating Your eCommerce Shipping Strategy
In order to make every aspect of eCommerce work as well as possible, not only should your business have a strategy, but it should be working to implement it. Statistically, most businesses that deal online in any way have an eCommerce strategy, but not enough of them have a good strategy, and fewer are making the best use of it. Key areas where many businesses are lacking include the following:
- Warehouse organization
- Efficient shipping
- Same-day packing
- Reliable shipment tracking software
- Interior communication
Shipping, especially small business shipping, often has room for improvement. There are logistical reasons why a product can’t be shipped the same day or even the same week, but anything that can be done to reduce the time between a customer clicking “buy” and the product getting to their door safely increases the likelihood of a 5-star rating and a return customer.
Saving Time and Money with Small Business Shipping
Between existing customer care and optimization on top of all the other things businesses have to deal with, it’s not surprising that improvements are often relegated to the back burner. This despite the fact that most managers realize that failing to improve their online presence can cost time and money. Sometimes businesses find it hard to implement new strategies on top of managing all the other aspects of the business, while others don’t really know where to begin. In both of these situations, delegating the process to an expert like XPS Ship is a simple solution. At XPS, we’re here to help make your business as efficient as possible. Sign up free and let XPS help you streamline your shipping!