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7 Key Questions to Address When Shopping for an Ecommerce Shipping Partner

There are certain questions new online retailers ask when shopping for a shipping partner that can help them fulfill their incoming e-commerce orders at scale, especially during the forthcoming holiday shopping season.

These frequently asked questions are key in determining and picking the right shipping partner for your e-commerce business, and must not be overlooked.

This is because online shoppers take shipping seriously, and delayed shipping can negatively affect your e-commerce business, especially during seasonal sales like the coming holiday shopping season which begins in a few days.

The following statistics show just how important timely shipping is to online shoppers:

Some Important E-commerce Shipping Statistics

  • 93% of online shoppers will buy more if free shipping exists (Marketing Land)
  • 85% of online shoppers say shipping speed is key to repeat purchase (Dotcom Distribution)
  • Over 78% of US Amazon Prime members signed up because of free (and fast) shipping (Amazon)
  • 67% of shoppers are willing to pay more for same-day delivery for deadlines like anniversaries (Dotcom Distribution)
  • 47% will pay more just to get their packages faster (Dotcom Distribution)
  • 58% of online shoppers will add more items to cart to qualify for free shipping (Invespcro)
  • 36% of 3, 000 survey participants say they will give-up ride-sharing for a year in exchange for free shipping on all orders, 35% will sacrifice coffee, and 22% Netflix (BigCommerce),
  • and many more…

Having established this premise, it is time to address some of the burning questions retailers often ask about e-commerce shipping.

Frequently Asked Questions Retailers Often Ask About E-commerce Shipping

1. What are the best shipping carriers?

There are several good shipping carriers out there, but you need to figure out which ones are the best fit for you. To do that, you have to first define what “best” means to you.

Best could mean:

  • Cheap
  • Fast
  • Efficient
  • Cost-effective
  • Dependable
  • Flexible
  • Innovative
  • Customer-centric
  • Wide reach, etc.

You’re in the best position to determine your own “best.”

To help you, here is a list of best shipping carriers to choose from. These carriers often embody several of the top qualities you would look for in a dependable shipping partner.

2. Can I use multiple carriers?

Yes, you can. In fact, you should. It is also part of best practices to combine multiple shipping carriers for flexibility, competitiveness, and best results.

This way you can combine the best qualities of different carriers to deliver a truly holistic world-class shipping experience to your customers.

Depending on a single carrier is like putting all your eggs in one basket, plus it might leave your customers without options. This may force them to look elsewhere.

3. What is the average shipping cost?

Cost consideration is at the heart of business and commerce. As a result, everyone is looking for the best results at the best possible price, online shoppers inclusive.

For this reason, cost of shipping varies from carrier to carrier. By using multiple carriers, you give different segments of your customers the freedom and ability to choose their preferred carrier based on cost and speed.

However, most shipping solutions providers feature apps that allow you to estimate shipping costs so you have an idea of what to expect.

4. What is the average shipping time?

In a similar vein, shipping times vary from store to store and from carrier to carrier. Most suppliers or manufacturers are ready to ship within a day or two, depending on stock levels. Others may take longer.

It is a good practice to compare shipping times with different carriers before signing up. You can also search for “shipping carriers near me”, pay a physical visit and see for yourself.

Alternatively, you can search for shipping carriers reviews, and see what past customers have to say about the companies you’re targeting.

5. Do carriers provide order tracking?

This is a very important question to answer. Did you know that 97% of online shoppers expect to be able to track their orders?

Order tracking helps to allay customer fears, put them at ease and assure them that their packages will arrive. It contributes to their overall shopping experience with your store.

Some carriers offer this feature, others don’t. Apps like Parcel Arrive are free to use and provide real-time order tracking solutions.

Parcel Arrive

Without order tracking you could experience order cancellations, customer complaints and poor customer reviews, which can hurt your business.

6. How about e-commerce insurance?

Ecommerce insurance is usually provided by third-party insurance providers. With over 5% of e-commerce shipments damaged in transit, and around 1% stolen, it’s always a great idea to get insurance cover.

Ecabrella is one of many companies or products that provide custom e-commerce shipping insurance solutions, so you can focus on growing your business this holiday season.

Remember, if it is not insured, it is not assured.

7. Do carriers handle reverse logistics?

Returns are almost inevitable when it comes to online shopping. Thanks to augmented reality and other experiential shopping innovations, customers can now try on products in online stores from the comfort of their browsers or apps.

Still, returns are huge, with fashion and apparel as the worst culprits. In all, returns will cost retailers over $550 billion this year, according to estimates by Statista.

Also, 50% of US shoppers engage in bracketing, buying all sizes of a fashion item intending to return those that don’t fit. You may want to pay extra attention to returns if you sell fashion items this season.

Speak with your preferred shipping carriers to learn more about their returns handling, plus their entire shipping services.

Conclusion

You can never go wrong trying to get your e-commerce shipping right because a bad shipping experience can ruin all the effort you’ve put into building your business. To get it right, you need the right shipping partner by your side. Use these questions and answers to weigh your options.

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