Written by Starshipit
In today's super-competitive online arena, with Amazon and eBay offering free and fast delivery options, retailers and wholesalers need to be even smarter with their order fulfilment and shipping processes.
Speed of delivery is fast becoming a point of difference for some and a sticking point for others. But in order to speed up your delivery, you first need to focus on streamlining your fulfilment processes and removed the bottlenecks with automation.
A shipping integration (also called a plugin or app) allows you to offer your customers a more flexible range of shipping options when they checkout. This could be order tracking options, priority delivery, international delivery or faster delivery.
It's well known that some customers are willing to pay more for shipping & handling if they want the product quick, such as the next day!
There are a number of eCommerce shipping solutions available, so it comes down to evaluating and selecting the one that integrates with your existing eCommerce store, other apps such as inventory management systems and your preferred carriers.
If there is more than one shipping app that appears to tick all the boxes, ita a good idea to evaluate the reviews that other customers have left online - specifically on the eCommerce platform that you are also using, as this will be a good indication of what your own experience with that service provider will be.
Take the time to read through testimonials and look for prominent, successful brands who use the same eCommerce store and your preferred choice of shipping integration to see which shipping app stands out from the rest.
Another tip is to see which couriers that shipping integration was built for. Is it one that originated in the US or UK and then added in ANZ at a later point?
Chances are they have a support team that is more comfortable and knowledgeable in terms of supporting carriers from that side of the world versus the smaller (and often added later) carriers of Australasia.
Support can take a lot longer and answers slower when it comes to specific issues with Australian and NZ carriers versus using an integration that specialises in Australasian carriers such as Starshipit.
Some shipping integrations are freight aggregators (freight forwarder) which means they manage the shipping on your behalf, using a selection of carriers and clip the ticket on each shipment while providing you with access to competitive shipping rates.
Starshipit is purely a software provider (SaaS) which means you can bring your own shipping accounts with you and manage the mix of carriers that best suit your business.
If you have negotiated great rates with your courier partners, you can simply bring your account with you and enjoy the benefits of a full shipping integration that offers live rates at check-out (Shopify, Magento and WooCommerce), branded tracking and shipping notifications, address validation to reduce delivery errors and speedy label printing.
Think seconds, not minutes to fulfil an order.
If you are still sitting on the fence as to whether or not to take the plunge and integrate a shipping app with your eCommerce store, work out how long it takes to manually fulfil an order and multiply that by the number of orders over a week or month.
Then work out what value you place on your time (hourly rate if you will) and that will give you a true cost of manual fulfilment.
By automating fulfilment you can process orders quickly in a matter of seconds or a minute or two, so calculate the time saved and multiply that by the hourly rate and that will reveal your savings per month.
Example: E.g. 100 orders per week at 8 mins per order = 800 mins or 13.3 hours @ $25 per hour = $333.00 per week. For a plan that allows up to 4000 shipments per month, it is only $80 per month. That's a savings of $253.00 of your time, as well as reducing delivery errors and customer complaints when deliveries go awry due to incorrect delivery addresses.
Here is a blog from integration partner Shopify, who have summarised a Beginner's Guide to Ecommerce Shipping and Fulfillment.
Shipping platforms should offer free onboarding, this is a great way to get your automation set up quickly and error-free.
At Starshipit, customers are provided with a dedicated Customer Success representative to assist with all things shipping automation. You can reach out for support at any stage, from the initial set-up through to optimisation and any day to day queries they may have.