In the world of online shopping, shipping is even more vital to your business than ever before. But to have a successful shipping process, you need to know the pitfalls and how to avoid them.
Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Read on for these seven common errors with shipping and how to avoid them.
If you’re shipping in and out of different countries, you’ll know that each country has it’s own rules. It’s important that you not only know them, but understand them.
Otherwise, if you don’t, you could be losing money at the border when the customs agencies seize your goods. To avoid this, make sure you:
It’s important you set yourself up with a good legal understanding of trade laws. This will help you to avoid stress and costly delays, and even prosecution.
One thing that’ll annoy customers the most is receiving damaged goods. Especially if this is because of poor packaging.
If you don’t package right for shipping, even a little fall or movement can cause damage and errors with shipping. To avoid this, make sure you:
This will help ensure your goods are safe in transit.
We already mentioned this, but it’s an important mistake not to make so we’ll cover it in more detail. You might not realize it, but your packaging matters to your customers.
They’re going to notice if you try to cram too many items in one box. It’ll seem to them like you don’t care about how these items reach you, and are trying to cut costs.
This is because if you over-stuff a box, you risk damaging and crushing the items in transit. It’ll limit the room for movement, and how much cushioning material you can pack in for protection.
On the flip side, if you use a box that is too large, customers will think you’re being wasteful. They’ll question your care and impact on the environment, which is a big no-no in today’s world.
As package size matters to your customers, it should matter to you too. Also bear in mind that a larger box might allow for more cushioning material, but it’ll be more expensive to post.
So, have a variety of sizes to hand, and pick a box that suits the size of each order. It should have enough room for some padding and protection, but not feel crammed or too roomy.
If you are able to handle growth, then managing your shipping yourself is ok. But at some point, for a lot of businesses, it’ll be better to outsource.
It’s one thing to have the technology and the inventory to cope with periods of growth. But a simple mistakes that trips up a lot of businesses is not having enough packing material.
It might seem like a simple mistake but it’s going to cost you a lot in money and time. In peak season, you might be looking at thousands of labels, boxes, tape and other materials.
If you can’t get this in time, then you’re running the risk of being late with deliveries. And late deliveries mean unhappy customers. You also have to factor in the time you’ll waste needing to order in and wait for extra supplies to arrive.
If you’re expecting an explosion in demand, it might be time to consider a third party logistics firm. This will help you avoid any of this pain and panic at the last minute. They will have the supplies needed and expertise to get your items shipped on time.
Free shipping isn’t always the best option, so don’t think it’s the be all and end all. If you’re going to offer it, make sure you’re doing it for a reason that’s driven by your customers.
Some customers might actually prefer other factors over free shipping. For example, they might want a reasonable price for expedited shipping to get it faster.
Along with this, people might prefer things like:
When it comes to shipping, you need to have enough options to suit the needs of your customers. You need to be more flexible, and don’t think that free shipping with cut it alone. Find out what your customers value when it comes to shipping and provide it for them.
As well as getting the packaging right, it’s important you take care to get the shipping address right too. Even the smallest change in ZIP code, State Code or Country Code could create errors with shipping.
And worse of all, it’s likely not going to be noticeable until the package is already off on it’s journey. If this happens, it’s a costly process to get a wrongly-shipped package back to where it needs to go.
Not only will this cost you money to rectify, it can also dent your reputation. An unhappy customer may turn to negative reviews and a dent to your reputation can be hard to come back from.
To avoid this, you’re better off double (or triple) checking the shipping addresses. Make sure all codes match and the address is the same as the one the customer gave. This will save you a lot of time, money and heartache in the long run.
If you’re shipping items that are on the heavier side, it’s common to get weight estimates. In a lot of cases, this is due to online merchants not having the right weighing equipment for large items.
So, a weight estimate to a few decimal places seems like the right thing to do. But it isn’t. It’s actually one of the biggest mistakes you could make.
Shipping containers will weigh the packages before they load them. If this weight differs from what you stated on the forms, then they will charge you extra. It can end up affecting your shipping costs in a big way and could also create errors with shipping.
It’s always best to get the exact weight of the product before and after you’ve packaged it. You’ll need to talk with a shipping provider like exfreight.com. Ask about what tools and techniques they use. It’s better to match up with them.
So, there you have it! Now you know these seven errors with shipping, you know what to avoid.
As with any area of business, it’s important you understand what your customers value. And make sure you’re providing it. Put yourself in the best legal position you can and always double-check things as you go along. If you’re thorough, prepared and careful, you’ll be sure to get it right.
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