Shipping and e-commerce go hand in hand. It is one of the necessary things that comes with running an online product business.
But how do you handle it?
With so many options available it is hard to know what is going to work the best for your customers and for your website.
Choose the wrong method and it can put people off buying from your business. It can also significantly eat into your profits if you don’t factor in the right costs.
But don’t panic. We are here to demystify the whole Shopify shipping experience. We have assembled our best tips for making sure you nail the shipping elements of your website.
Shopify Shipping Explained
Your Shipping Options
Your first step is deciding what type of shipping you want to offer to your customers. This is known as your “shipping strategy”. It is perhaps the most difficult part of organising shipping for your businesses.
Why is that?
Because it will inform what you need to set up later down the line.
It is important to remember that your shipping costs need to be affordable for your business, while still being attractive to your customers. The great thing is that you aren’t locked into a singular method. You can test different shipping options to see which will have a greater impact on your sales.
You have a few options for shipping with Shopify. These are:
Flat rate shipping – A simple way to charge for shipping is to offer a flat rate fee. Flat rate shipping is quite common and it is a good marketing tool, too. If your business is known for it’s $5 nationwide shipping (for example), customers know what the cost is before they make a purchase and won’t be put off by the shipping rate added in at checkout.
To make this method work for your business you need to do a bit of homework first. It requires you to know what your average parcel size and cost is. Once you know what these are you can determine a rate that still covers your shipping expenses. If you have a variety of parcel sizes, you may choose to pick a rate in the middle so that you make on some parcels, but lose on others. Just make sure the costs even out in the long run.
Free shipping – Free shipping is the ultimate tool for avoiding those pesky abandoned carts at checkout time. In fact, we wrote a whole blog on how free shipping can make your business money.
Not charging for shipping costs might seem intimidating, especially to a new or small business. But the secret is that you aren’t actually absorbing the shipping costs and reducing your profit. You can account for the cost of shipping by working out the average parcel cost and adding this into your product prices. You can also offer free shipping only once a certain amount has been reached in the shopping cart – e.g. “free shipping on orders over $50”.
Exact shipping costs – This option is currently only available in the USA and Canada but may arrive in New Zealand at some point. It is designed to calculate the precise shipping costs or a consignment and pass them on to the buyer.
Setting It Up
Once you have chosen your shipping method, you then have to get it set up on your website. Setting up Shopify shipping is pretty straightforward and requires only a few key pieces of information. It will ask for your shipping origin, shipping zones and rates, and the details of your label printer. More detailed instructions can be found here.
Packing And Sending
Shopify is all about options and there are plenty to choose from when it comes to fulfilling your orders. You can manage your orders from the Orders page and you can choose to fill them manually, use carriers who can calculate shipping costs for you, or use a fulfilment service to take care of the shipping for you.
Shopify has a very thorough guide to their shipping on their blog which has further details and instructions on all things Shopify Shipping.
One of the best things about Shopify is the huge range of apps that can be easily integrated into your store. They have a variety of shipping and handling apps that make the fulfilment side of e-commerce very manageable and straightforward. Using apps on Shopify you can track, fill and send orders – and even protect yourself from suspicious transaction activity.
Help And Support
The sheer number of options available with Shopify shipping can seem a little overwhelming. So, if you need a Shopify expert to talk through what will suit your business best, then get in touch with us here at Creative Web Designs.We are a certified Shopify partner that has helped hundreds of New Zealand businesses with their websites and shipping options. Contact us to see which shipping strategy would work best for your business. We can also ensure everything is set up correctly so that your shipping runs like clockwork.