101 E commerce Shipping Options and Postage Tips; Lets talk about ecommerce shipping and postage! Too many websites in Australia build the ecommerce website then think ….Oh No ! what about the shipping process. Due to Australia’s landscape it is a very important part of ecommerce to get the shipping and postage right from the start. The undesirable step in every eCommerce site’s checkout process. Because many sites fail to answer basic questions such as “how long will shipping take?” or “how much will it cost for shipping?”, many sales are lost at this important juncture. Did you know that Australia some research shows that shipping concerns top the list of reasons why people abandon the shopping cart sale process. Listed below, the team at CourierQuotes.com.au have listed some ecommerce shipping best practices and methods that may help your online store;
1. Show your shipping costs up front; ie Do not require login to view and see the shipping pricing: Take a look at Anaconda.com.au or babyvillage.com.au ( sites we power ) Its best to not make your customers jump through lots of hoops in order to get a simple shipping price. With our live software your customers can see the shipping cost at product level. Customers should be able to see the cost for shipping on the shopping cart page simply by entering the Australian postal code. If you base your prices on the location where the order will be shipped, give people the ability to enter their postal code for a shipping quote.
2. Check you have a compatible shopping cart to handle a delivery calculator; There are a million different websites and platforms out there. Web designers and web developers sometimes create an in house shopping cart to then resell to all of their clients. Good news is CourierQuotes.com.au software is compatible with all of them as long as they are open source. Now to make things even easier we work directly with the web developers to offer you a complete solution. If you are a web site builder then we also have plugin modules to meet the common platforms Virtuemart, Magento, Interspire, Drupal, OsCommerce. Now if you are going through a free platform where an Aussie customer may not make enough noise you may need to pay to have your site changed to one thats supported. Starting a store from scratch ? we can also hand you over to approved install partners who can load the system for you. Or some of our partners will build you a functional site with the ecommerce shipping solution already inbuilt.
3. Link to your dedicated shipping page from shopping cart: In the shopping cart where customers select the shipping method, be sure to link to a page with more information regarding each option. On this page, specify estimated delivery dates for each region. Part of our ecommerce system lets the website owner select a) multiple shipping providers b) whitewash as “Delivery Cost” c) Have the option through your cart to perform special events example would be free shipping , or some of our clients like to perform their own local deliveries.
4. Provide an international shipping information page: Australia is a 3 to 1 import country. Key trading lanes for ecommerce stores include shipping to New Zealand, lets face it its closer than Perth from most eastern cities. Selling to USA and Europe is also an attractive ecommerce market for ecommerce stores in Australia. CourierQuotes.com.au suggests having an ” International Shipping” page . As you would know international shipping can be complex, so be sure to give a detailed explanation in order to calm the fears of international buyers. Be very clear on the terms of sale, WHY well each country has its own import restrictions and barrier control for both duty tax and regulatory reasons. For example some items easily purchased in Australia may be illegal in certain areas of the world. Best to clearly explain possible delays, and well as customs fees the customer can expect to pay. If you are unsure about exporting there are Australian Government support networks to help you see Australian Export Austrade website
5. Avoid utilising your shipping cost as revenue or profit center: Australian online purchasers and customers are very sensitive to high shipping prices in Australia, so don’t mark up your rates for profit too much. CourierQuotes.com.au rates are very cheap so there is room to mark up your rates as a buffer zone however this should not be where your ecommerce store makes its money from. We have seen a wide range of mark ups from small to large depending on product cost, weight of the item and more.
6. Offer multiple shipping companies to your customer; By providing choice your buyer may feel more in control of the end delivery cycle; In many cases your customer. Shipping companies in Australia are usually fantastic at a particular service. Example some are sensational at airbag or satchel rates – others are brilliant at delivering pallets. CourierQuotes.com.au allows ecommerce stores to gain the best of both worlds for all your items in your cart. Offer shipping alternatives as your buyer may even be familiar with the local depot or have an existing relationship with the courier involved.
7. Provide service level indicators on the shipping company; By having CourierQuotes.com.au api software software rate-shop the major carriers, you’ll be able to select the cheapest shipping method to a specific regions. The higher the percentage the better on our system.
8. Select an E commerce shipping module that can create for your shipping labels; The shipping label is used for track and track and if you have an expanding online store you do not want your time wasted by completing thousands of shipping notes for your deliveries. CourierQuotes.com.au web service call takes the data from the platforms and creates your paperwork for you. All you need to do is to attach your pick order with your shipping label and away you go.
9. Process your orders ASAP dont delay picking and packing your items; CourierQuotes.com.au recommends ship as soon as you can. or ship next business day: Keep on top of your orders. With our software you can actually set the system to make the bookings with the shipping company or otherwise place a pause on your shipping dashboard. In reality most of our stores order a regular pickup at a set time.
10. Write a personalised note to your customers; and insert it into your shipping; Having a special touch on your shipping will certainly place your customer experience in top ranking. Make the internet more personalised.
11. Always email the shipping and tracking number to your buyers: CourierQuotes.com.au Australian e commerce shipping software has this field set to auto pilot. I would guess that most companies do this.Best way is to email your customers promptly with their tracking information. Also, be sure the email contains a link directly to the tracking detail page. I find it highly irritating when companies just send you to the carriers’ tracking page and you have to enter the tracking number manually from the email. If you loose or misplace your tracking label you can always find it again by logging into your shipping dashboard.
12. Set your SKU or products at the right weights and sizes; In Australia the shipping companies charge either the larger of the weight or the cubic weight. Your chargable weight takes the larger one. CourierQuotes.com.au system works this out for you. Do not try and rip the freight companies off as they have advanced scanners and balance machines to catch people trying to avoid paying the correct postage costs.
13. Have your own branded E commerce packaging: By having your Australian company imagery on the packing, you’ll build brand awareness as well as reduce the rate of unclaimed or undelivered packages. Oddly enough, family members or work colleuges will sometimes reject a package because they don’t know who its from. Branded packaging helps to alleviate this issue. In addition you never know how many sets of eyes will see the packaging along the carton or boxes journey. When working at FedEx management was always encouraged to carry a FedEx pack on aeroplane journeys a) to generate the conversation next to you b) simple brand awareness.
14. Take responsibility for lost and damaged shipments: Sure, a lost of damaged shipment is is not your fault, but in the eyes of your customers, you’re the only one who can resolve the issue. If a purchaser calls about a package that was supposed to be delivered by the shipping company and was not, take the matter into your own hands and mediate between the customer and the carrier. Our integrated ecommerce customers have the option of having opt in opt out ecommerce shipping insurance. This is the best way to protect both you and your customer from the Australian transport industry. Make sure you clearly have your terms and conditions of purchase on your ecommerce site. As an example every transaction that is processed through CourierQuotes.com.au must accept our detailed terms and conditions of our software provider.
15. When shipping in Australia under promise and over deliver: Australian shipping companies are connected by a network of companies and linehaul systems. To ensure that you don’t promise and unrealistic delivery times, you may want to provide a delivery time range, or for the super urgent deliveries have our “Next flight” option for your absolutely urgent shipments. It will cost your customer a fair bit however you will get the service you pay for in the end.
16. Select your products carefully ! Hard to say I know however know that if you are sending dangerous goods or breakable goods you will more than likely have a bumpy ride. CourierQuotes.com.au does not support dangerous goods and also recommends for any fragile goods that over over over packing is used for ecommerce shipping. We started shipping in 1996 and can only stress that Australia has a lot of bumpy roads!
17. Green Ecommerce Solutions – If you are a “green company” offer a carbon offset solution; CourierQuotes.com.au integrated customers have a carbon offset option. Like it or not it is a feature that is available. Never know who is buying your product out there! We are also the largest freight company in Australia without any trucks, sorry could not help myself.
18. Think about your shipping returns policy; Sometimes the customer may have the wrong size, color, shape or be dammaged; CourierQuotes.com.au has a dashboard where you can manually generate a reverse shipping booking and generate a courier label that can be sent via email to your customer. Your customer will not have to call a courier or generate the label they simply print the label and the shipment will be on the way back to you.
19. Organise your satchels and airbags in advance; We have some dirt cheap satchel rates with the leading shipping companies that can be ordered in advance of you distributing them. CourierQuotes.com.au provide a special form for you to order your free satchels – Most satchels in our system are Australia wide and in most cases are a preferred shipping method for Australian online stores.
20. Be proactive and track your shipping via your dashboard; CourierQuotes.com.au has three downloads per day to the major shipping companies. Within your dashboard you can line up multiple orders sent by multiple shipping companies and view the status online. Catch nasty deliveries before they turn sour, send support tickets and focus on your ecommerce store.
21. Ensure your ecommerce solution / site is nice and secure; CourierQuotes.com.au software utilises state of the art security Our API uses encrypted SSL technology to ensure your details are secure. Have a dot com dot au site often also provides more security to your online buyers. Run your website through safety checks for nasty people
22. Cheapest shipping methods ” not always the best ! “ remember that your ecommerce websites reputation and the parcel turning up, the driver happy , well presented, in uniform, scanner in hand, and not doing a burn out as he/she leaves ohh and turning up when they say they will all crutial to your ecommerce success – Cheapest couriers are they the best?
23. Offer bulk shipping or cluster your items in your cart; Our ecommerce shipping solution has a built in logic that clusters items example several fishing hooks until it hits the weight break then it moves to the next level. Clustering your items helps you to reduce the shipping costs in turn selling more online.
24. Set up a dedicated “shipping page on your website; CourierQuotes.com.au encourage having a dedicated shipping page. ie ( link it to your product or item page ): Gather a list of frequently asked questions about shipping in Australia should be addressed early and often. By having a popup link on the product page is a great way to give customers price quotes or shipping time estimates. On some of our client and partner sites a simple button that says ” Calculate Delivery Cost Instantly! ” we find this is an ideal way to increase potential online sales. Having this online tool is a feature – some web owners prefer to only show the delivery costs within the check out process, as mentioned it is optional.
25. Spend time to pick the right shipping company; An Australian ecommerce site can have the best products, the lowest prices and the best built site, but if they cannot accurately and effeciently fulfill orders and dispatch them in Australia it is all for nothing. One of the greatest examples of this was the launch of the first ecommerce site. They are a huge company with substantial resources, but they undersetimated when it came to their ability to get orders shipped to customers on time. In a nutshell, their launch sales were great, but because they failed to ship on time, they recieved an embarassingly huge mark down by the public and it cost them millions in restitution to angry customers.
26. Get ecommerce shipping insurance; Our integrated customers have the option of selecting our courier insurance feature, meaning as the customer checks out ! a shipping insurance feature is visible on your ecommerce store.
Ok so Im not up to 101 yet ! however will continue to post …time permitting ecommerce shipping
About our E Commerce shipping solution; CourierQuotes.com.au is a web service gateway we sit between your shopping cart and the major shipping companies in Australia. Ask your web developer to contact our team. If you are a web developer looking for a shipping plugin for Virtuemart, api for magento shipping, delivery calculator for magento, web service call for osCommerce, interspire, drupal or more ask our team for our Web Developers guide – or relevant plugin information.