Shipping is one of those topics that most entrepreneurs avoid but need to face. Setting up a shipping system can be tricky and if you don’t get it right, you are in for a lot of headaches.
There is no such thing as “one rule fits all”when it comes to shipping. It depends on several factors such as your industry, the kind of products that you will ship, the weight range of these items and of course, what your customer wants.
Before doing anything, read up on successful online retailers such as Amazon and eBay. Read their shipping policies and see which ones you can adopt for your business.
You can also research on services and pricing. All the major carriers such as USPS, UPS, FedEx and DSL have enough information on their websites to get you started. You can also use comparison shopping websites to gather information.
Ask for a Meeting
You can also ask the couriers to send a representative to you to review your needs and give you options. You might discover things that will work well with your business. A meeting will also allow you to negotiate rates. Small businesses can actually ask for good rates as long as you can back up your request.
You can also ask questions about services and customer support.
Your shipping charges can make or break a sale so it is important that you develop a sensible shipping policy. Customers get easily turned off by excessive shipping charges. This is a major reason why customers don’t finish a transaction. Remember that you should not profit from your shipping charges.
On the other hand, if you charge too low, you end up losing money. Breaking even may be your best option when it comes to shipping charges. If you charge customers exactly what it costs you to ship their orders, you can build a strong and loyal customer base.
Another proven effective way to encourage customers to buy is Free Shipping. Customers just love it. They will almost immediately react to a newsletter featuring a Free Shipping promo. If you don’t have a brick and mortar store, just eat the shipping fee. Anyway, you don’t have to pay for rent and salaries.
You don’t have to suffer a huge loss when you offer Free Shipping. Just make sure you get the minimum amount to purchase right so that you also earn from your promo.
Returns and Exchanges
If a customer wants to return an item, should she be charged for it? What if she just wants to change it? It really depends. If it’s just an exchange, then just eat the shipping charge. After all, the customer is still keeping the sale. Your goal is to make your customer happy so that she will purchase from you again.
In cases of a return, it really depends on you. Some companies will refund the item but not pay for the shipping cost. Some companies give a refund and pay for the shipping cost. If the margins are small, you can lose a lot of money. Compute what you can cover and make sure that you have a clear policy on your website about returns and exchanges so that your customers are well-informed.
It’s another story if you shipped a broken or defective item. Experts suggest to just pick up all the shipping costs and replace the item. This is good customer service practice.
Handling charges include the cost of labor to pack an item and the cost of packing materials. It is okay to add these charges as they cost a significant amount of money. Just don’t make a profit out of it. If you don’t want to include handling fees at the end of a customer’s transaction, consider adding these fees to the price of your items. It’s the same as providing a cashier and a carrier in a brick and mortar store.
If first impressions last, last impressions also count. Shipping is the last stage of dealing with a customer and you want your customers to be happy at the end of a transaction. A good customer experience will guarantee you more sales in the future.
Hi, my name is Ken. I’m a business blogger. My website is www.qpsfranking.co.uk.