Written by David Renwick
If you run an eCommerce business, you’ll know just how important it is to get orders out on time. In fact, it’s probably what keeps you up at night.
Determining how to streamline shipping operations and give your customers choice and flexibility around delivery – all while growing your business – is often a full-time job.
This is usually the set of circumstances that leads business owners to start using eCommerce shipping solutions, and then figuring out how to best integrate these systems with the warehouse, stock and product management tools they use daily.
That’s what we’re going to cover in this article – how integrating your eCommerce software of choice with an automated shipping solution can change the game for your business and unlock your growth.
You know the story. Shipping is often one of the hardest parts of an eCommerce business to get right. It doesn’t help that shipping as a process can impact a business long after a customer receives their package. For example, failing to get an order out in the desired timeframe could be reason enough for a customer to opt for a competitor in future.
There are challenges throughout the shipping process, including:
Automated eCommerce shipping solutions have an important role to play in resolving these shipping challenges – helping businesses to get more orders out to more people.
Given the web of complexities that come along with eCommerce shipping, businesses of all ages and stages can take advantage of automated shipping solutions. The phrase “work smarter, not harder” certainly comes to mind when it comes to automation.
What do we mean by an automated shipping solution? Basically, it’s a platform that streamlines fulfilment, reducing handling time and minimising the chances of human error. These platforms also integrate with your order and inventory management systems, as well as your couriers.
When automated eCommerce shipping solutions are set up within your business, integrated with the tools you use every day, and running properly, you’ll save hours on your shipping every week.
With all of this in mind, you’re probably thinking now is the right time to open a new tab and start your search for a shipping solution – but stand by. Before investigating the various options available, it’s helpful to know what you’re looking for. The market for eCommerce shipping solutions is growing, and it can be difficult to sort through the various offerings.
We think our customers love Starshipit for a reason – it packs in all of the major features you’d expect from an automated shipping solution, but also includes a whole lot of additional quality of life features.
Spend the time to find the right shipping solution now, and you’ll have given your business a solid foundation upon which to grow. Set it up correctly, and you save time every week, make your customers happier and increase your sales.
Here are a few of the things to look out for when selecting an eCommerce shipping solution:
Most automated shipping solutions are what’s known as freight aggregators, meaning they offer set courier prices to you and clip the ticket with each shipment that goes out the door.
Starshipit is a freight enabler, meaning we help you to build your own relationships with couriers. This allows you to negotiate their own competitive rates with the courier directly. Over time, this approach can better help you to scale in a way that works for your business.
Producing shipping labels, assigning couriers and fixing addresses is a time sink for your team and leaves room for error.
Starshipit lets you automate every step of the fulfilment process, including generating shipping labels, manifests and submitting customs documentation.
Your business already uses ecommerce product management software, so make sure your shipping solution is compatible. You’ll want to plug different apps and integrations in as your business scales.
Starshipit supports most major couriers and apps, and you can use the dynamic API to build your own integrations in no time at all.
This is automation, but it’s worth calling out. Shipping platforms with rules engines allow you to assign couriers to orders based on various parameters. In practice, this means you can always use the best courier for the job. For example, cheapest available rate, rural deliveries, dangerous goods etc.
A study from LivePerson found that 83 percent of online users want some form of support during their online journey, and 59 percent want choice in how they interact with online brands.
For shipping, this means you need to keep customers in the loop with their orders and give them the ability to check in on their order after they’ve made a purchase. SMS and email notifications are the best approach here, linking to branded tracking pages so that customers always feel in control.
Integrating your eCommerce platform or inventory management system with a fulfilment automation platform (like Starshipit) allows you to reduce shipping from a complex, high-maintenance task to an operation that runs automatically, like clockwork. You can basically set and forget your shipping processes and rely on automation to take over.
1. Your customer buys a product. They arrive at the checkout, select their shipping preference and pay. The website's integration with the inventory management system has already made sure there's adequate stock, displaying an "out of stock" message if there's not.
2. Then, the shipping platform integration gets to work. Orders are automatically imported into Starshipit and assigned to a courier. This means you can see what’s been ordered, by who, and where it needs to go. From here, you pick and pack the orders in Starshipit.
3. Once the order goes out, Starshipit receives the tracking data from the courier company and sends it back to the inventory management system. From there, it gets sent over to the sales platform to update customers. Remember: Regular order updates help to reduce customer service queries.
And that’s it! We’ve explored how integrating your eCommerce software with an automated shipping solution can simplify one of the hardest parts of running a business.
If you’re interested in learning how an eCommerce shipping solution could save you time and money, give Starshipit a try for free, for 30 days. Or, if you’ve got any questions, get in touch with our friendly team.