Shipping your goods

October 22, 2013

Source: Blog.shopstar.co.za

Shipping can be one of the most stressful parts of an online transaction – especially in Africa, where ecommerce still has a long way to go and customers are not used to reliable postal or shipping services. In spite of this, there are some simple steps a retailer can take to help the customer feel more comfortable with the process. Here are seven simple ways to improve a customer’s shipping experience.

1. Provide an Estimated Delivery Date

At checkout, some 60 percent of online shoppers want to see either an estimated delivery date or — better yet — a guaranteed delivery date for each available shipping option.

Many shops on Shopstar offer hand-made products, and customers are willing to wait but it is advisable to write in your product description that it will take, say, 5 days to manufacture plus 10 days to deliver from date of order. Imagine the shopper who is buying a birthday present for her nephew. His birthday is Saturday. She’s ordering on Wednesday. Without delivery dates, she cannot really make a good decision.

2. Double Up on Shipping Notifications

Shipping notification emails are typically no big deal when they arrive. When a customer receives one, he might just glance at it and delete it. Maybe he will let it linger in his inbox or a folder in case something happens. But for the most part it gets little attention. But if that shipping notification email doesn’t show up at all, that customer may call the retailer, believing something has gone wrong.

In addition to notifications from the retailer, shipping companies offer their own email notifications, too. It can be a good idea to double up on these, meaning that both the retailer and the carrier send the customer an email. If one notification gets tangled in a spam filter, the other one might make it through.Shipping can be one of the most stressful parts of an online transaction – especially in Africa, where ecommerce still has a long way to go and customers are not used to reliable postal or shipping services. In spite of this, there are some simple steps a retailer can take to help the customer feel more comfortable with the process. Here are seven simple ways to improve a customer’s shipping experience.

At Shopstar we are collaborating with the DPD Laser Group in developing an efficient system, because we realise that many smaller businesses and creatives struggle to find a good, reliable and competitively priced logistics solution. Read more about the Shopstar/ DPD Laser collaboration here.

3. Provide several Shipping Options

Online shoppers have a range of time they are willing to wait for the delivery of their orders. Retailers that offer a range of delivery time options allow themselves to appeal to a wider range of customers. When it comes to delivery, customers have different expectations. No two customers are exactly the same. Providing a number of shipping options and a variety of carriers could increase conversions.

4. Streamline Processing

Try to streamline order fulfillment, minimizing the time between when an order is placed and when that order is shipped. There are typically a couple of common bottlenecks. Make sure that those who do the packing are notified immediately when an order is placed.
Streamline the packing process too. For example, have plenty of box sizes, easy packing materials, and easy-to-use tape dispensers, so that the physical task of packing goes more quickly. Even label-specific printers can help to improve speed.

5. Offer Reliable, Helpful Online Tracking Information

Three quarters of online shoppers said that order-tracking information was an important service. Let customers have plenty of options for package tracking, including on-site tracking, links to the carrier’s site for tracking, and the ability to track orders from mobile devices.

6. Offer Some Form of Free Shipping

More than half of the leading U.S. online retailers offered some form of free shipping in the 2012 holiday season, and some 73 percent of online shoppers wanted a free shipping option, according to comScore. Consider offering free basic ground services with a minimum order.

7. Shopstar’s solution

At Shopstar we are currently testing the new shipping service with the DPD Laser group “manually” before developing and implementing an online system, which will include multiple features for all Shopstar shop owners. While development is underway, we can offer flat-rate shipments to any shopowner, local and national.

Benefits

  • Maximum delivery time from drop off day: 4 days
  • Guaranteed delivery within 10 days max nationwide
  • Online tracking via DPD Laser/Dawn Wing
  • Competitive and fixed prices
  • Flat fee

Coming soon:

  • Frequency of drop-offs and collections increase as volumes increase
  • Depots and Collection Points in the main centres
  • International flat rates

Read full article: Blog.shopstar.co.za