Shipping and fulfillment has become an integral part of eCommerce retailers’ strategy in the last few years as new innovations and solutions continue to roll out. It can either grow a strong word of mouth marketing campaign from happy customers or be the cause of the fallout surrounding your business because of more than a few unhappy customers. So if it is done right, your business will continue to grow through both repeat and new customers over time.
But in order to build and sustain a successfully efficient shipping process for your eCommerce store, you must first plan it well ahead of time and then keep updating it over time as sales start to increase. This chapter is about the fundamentals of the shipping and fulfillment process. Read along now, we promise it’ll be super helpful…
- Your process will depend on a myriad of factors including:
- Your brand
- Where your products are shipping from and to
- Average order value (AOV)
- Product cost, weight and value
- Carrier preferences
- Customer shipping preference(s)
- Customs and duties
However, within this guide we have included all the necessary tools and steps to make creating and executing your strategy as easy as possible for you.
When establishing your process, you should take into account the following strategies that you can follow:
- Beginner’s Ship Yourself Method – Shipping from home while writing your own labels and dropping it into the mailbox.
- Ship Yourself Pro Method – Shipping from home with automated labels and pickup from local courier.
- Drop Shipping – Orders are shipped directly from a dropship partner on behalf of your brand. You never have to hold or purchase inventory yourself. Check out InventorySource.com for more info on this method and business model.
- Warehouse Fulfillment – You’ve reached the level of sales when you now need a warehouse to automatically hold and ship orders for you. You’re a winner.
As your business starts to grow and improve over time, so will your shipping process. At this point it is important to figure out which of the following stages of shipment growth you are in:
- Launch. Congrats! You just started receiving orders but they aren’t consistent enough to nail down a specific method just yet.
- Pre-Growth. Whoa! Now you’re getting consistent orders, enough to nail down some predictability in when you should expect and ship orders.
- Growth. Those orders are really starting to stack up and now it is taking a large chunk of time out of your schedule you should be spending on marketing or naps. Now is the time to start thinking about how you’re going to streamline your operations and get those orders out of the door.
- Scaling. You’re overcome with a high number of orders and need a warehouse or third party fulfillment system. Good job, you’ve made it to the big time!
Now that we helped you understand the different types of shipping as well as the stages of growth, next time we will cover how you should charge your customers for shipping.