This year, the ecommerce shipping industry is adapting automation and other efficiency-boosting tech tools for a 360-degree transformation. The shift in trends that began in 2019 is only going to pick up pace this year, with two of the most important trends of automation and scaling globally gaining impetus.
In 2019, 79% of US ecommerce shoppers said that free shipping would make it more likely for them to buy things online. 53% of users abandon the cart because of hidden costs like shipping, tax, etc. That’s how important shipping is for ecommerce sales.
So what changes should you be prepared for in 2020 when it comes to shipping?
What do you need to know about ecommerce shipping?
These are some of the questions we aim to answer through this guide.
A Step-Wise Peek Into the Ecommerce Shipping Process
Step 1 – Understanding a shipment
The most basic thing you need to understand is what constitutes a shipment. A shipment can be one thing or multiple things, created as a result of an order placed by a customer through online channels. One order might have multiple shipments too.
Step 2 – Using a shipping management software
Managing an inventory, especially when you are listing your products or services on multiple platforms, is a must. Using shipping management software keeps you organized. It also helps you check the status of every order in real-time.
Step 3 – Choosing your shipping carrier
There are a host of shipping carriers that are preferred by ecommerce companies like UPS and FedEx, among others. Therefore, compare the costs, the insurance, the delivery times, and the network of a shipping carrier before choosing one.
Step 4 – How to ship?
What is the most effective shipping method for you? By air, sea, or road? Ascertain this.
Step 5 – Determining whether to ship globally or locally
Will you be taking orders from international customers, or will you be shipping only in your city, state, or country? Answering this question will help you streamline the process.
Step 6 – Tracking & communication
Your work only begins once you have shipped an order; it does not end there. Customers prefer to have constant communication about their orders through tracking. Until the product is delivered, your job is not done.
Step 7 – Packaging and labeling
Incorrect labeling or inefficient packaging can cause damage or loss. Also, a badly packaged product negatively affects brand reputation.
Step 8 – Calculating costs
Shipping costs are one of the most important heads in your company’s balance sheet. Consider the factors like shipping methods, package dimensions, third-party-logistics, etc. while calculating the costs.
Step 9 – Knowing the regulations
You have to check the rules and regulations for all the countries or states you are shipping to. Some products cannot be shipped, while some need to have accompanying documentation, especially when you are shipping globally as they pass through customs. Know this beforehand.
Step 10 – Auditing & refunds
One of the most important steps is auditing your shipments. Shipping carriers might often overcharge you or levy incorrect fees and charges on your shipments. Automated or manual auditing allows you to claim refunds, making a slight addition to your capital.
Shipping Trends to Watch Out For in 2020
1. Going global
The whole world is a market. ecommerce companies are scaling internationally to boost growth. The demand for non-local products (that gain an ‘imported‘ or ‘exotic‘ tag) is only increasing. About 2.2 billion users are expected to shop online globally by 2021 – that’s your market if you go global.
The use of technology has increased efficiency, revenue, minimized errors and facilitated a better organizational structure. You can use shipping automation software solutions or something as simple as chatbots for your customers to track or know more about their orders.
3. Multi-channel presence
Just using one ecommerce platform like eBay or Amazon is not something online sellers prefer anymore. The new trend is to have a presence on multiple channels to maximize the chances of getting sales.
4. Faster delivery
Shorter wait times and same-day delivery options are what are in demand this year. Instant logistics is a major trend. A survey revealed that 88% of online shoppers are willing to pay for same-day delivery.
5. Personalized and premium packaging
Most ecommerce companies are spending a lot of money on designing the packaging. It works great for branding and says a lot about the company. Offering the users an option to personalize packaging is fast becoming a trend. 52% of customers are willing to make repeat purchases if the online merchant offers premium packaging, while 62% were more likely to purchase from a brand that used sustainable packaging.
The Past and the Present
The evolution of shipping and logistics in e-commerce has been phenomenal, especially in the last five years. The shipping modes, costs, size of warehouses, delivery times, packaging materials are only some of the things that have undergone a change. Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), automation, real-time tracking, Artificial Intelligence (AI), etc. have brought about this evolution. And this year, the ecommerce shipping industry is set to revolutionize with about 25% of the world shopping online. Are you ready?
Ana Shan is a product evangelist at AuditShipment.com, an AI-driven audit service that automatically captures more than 20 carrier errors and helps businesses save up to 16% of their shipping costs.