You run a fledgling small business from your Etsy ecommerce store. You’ve generally made do with individually packing and sending parcels, but things are starting to pick up. If you’re serious about this, and you want to take it on full time, you’re going to have to think about opening stores on Amazon and Ebay before long.
Before you get to that stage, you’re going to have to make sure that you have an efficient and reliable shipping strategy and delivery service in place to cope with the increased demand.
So, what should you keep in mind?
Pick up and delivery
You might already be used to running to the post office to drop off your next parcel, but you shouldn’t have to do this. Not only is it time consuming, but it’s also costly. At Caledonian Couriers, we collect your parcels for you, so you can focus on what matters to your business.
Offer a number of delivery options
As your sales volume and customer base increases, chances are, your customers will also want a range of delivery options. This ensures your customer won’t be paying for a service that they don’t need. There are two things in particular you should keep in mind:
How soon do you need to deliver?
Depending on the type of items that you’re shipping, you may find that customers have different preferences for delivery time. The time of year may also be a factor in this. Customers may be more likely to opt for an expedited delivery at Christmas, for example.
By offering a number of delivery options, you are giving your customer the option to reduce their delivery costs, which may boost your conversion rate.
Where are you delivering to?
We offer both next day and same day delivery across the United Kingdom, by road and by plane.
Obviously, if you’re shipping overseas, it will usually take a little longer to deliver. But did you know that there are also different options available depending on which country you are delivering to?
For example, we offer standard international shipping which usually takes 2-4 days to arrive. However, we also offer delivery to the USA by 10:30am the next day and to Canada by 12:00pm the next day.
You’ll also have to remember to communicate clearly the shipping rates for international delivery at the checkout. Customers value transparency, so don’t make this information hard to find.
Calculating shipping costs
A rough and ready pricing strategy might have worked while you were only getting a few customers each week, but as you continue to grow as a business you will have to give some serious thought to your pricing strategy.
By being generous with your shipping costs, you can certainly improve your margin for each order, but at what cost?
Unfortunately, it’s likely to impact your conversion rate.
Set your shipping costs too low however, and you stand to lose money.
One thing to consider is free delivery over a certain basket price. Customers are often more likely to add products to their shopping cart if you offer this.
Another important thing to consider when running an online business is that you’ll need to choose a delivery service which offers ample protection for your items, or pay extra for insurance against more expensive items.
We offer comprehensive insurance, with a few exceptions which a member of our team will be willing to discuss at the time of your booking.
It’s the age of smartphones, surveillance and big data. It’s never been easier to track people or packages, so it’s understandable that customers would be frustrated when their parcel isn’t tracked. Parcel tracking can significantly increase customer satisfaction with your service.
Here at Caledonian Couriers, all of our vans are fitted with GPS for real-time tracking and that extra peace of mind.
Packing materials and supplies
In addition to the cost of postage, you’ll have to think about packaging materials like padded envelopes, boxes, bubble wrap and tape. Don’t cut corners to save costs, especially with your fragile items.
Instead, try and estimate how much you might use in the next couple of months, taking into account the possibility for any surge in business that you might have (for example, around the holiday period) . This will allow you to bulk purchase supplies. You can save money by doing this, but be careful not to buy too much in advance or it will tie up more of your money.
For the most cost-effective packaging, you’ll probably want to use generic, non-branded envelopes and boxes.
Chances are, if you’ve got an ecommerce site you’ll already have a pretty solid inventory tracking system in place for the items on your online store. But don’t forget to keep track of all your shipping materials as well.
These won’t always diminish at the same rate as your stock – items that have been returned may need to be repackaged for selling to another customer, so don’t assume that this will be straightforward.
Choose a reliable courier service
Shipping is a crucial component of a positive customer experience. That means finding the right courier company is essential to the success of your startup or small business.
We may not be a household name yet like Fedex, DHL or ParcelForce, but that doesn’t mean that we don’t have the same reach or range of delivery options. Our clients range from SMEs to big blue chip companies. We offer same day and next day UK delivery, by road and by plane, as well as international and express international delivery to 220 different countries. We also offer delivery 7 days a week!