Having international shipping capabilities has practically become a must for any serious online store. At the very least, you need to have a solid shipping service within your country if your company is going to grow and properly sell your product. So, it stands to reason that having an overall efficient shipping service is something you really ought to invest in. Luckily, we are here to give you a couple of ideas on how to improve your company’s shipping process.
Why is it important to have an efficient shipping process
The shipping process is, in essence, delivering goods from point A to point B. So, why should you spend your time and money on improving this basic service? Well, to put it simply, it is because people have grown to expect efficient shipping. Now, you can opt for outsourcing your shipping, but this is often the more expensive, less efficient way. With a bit of research and investment, you can organize your own e-commerce shipping process, and therefore have the necessary freedom to improve it.
Ways to improve your company’s shipping process
There are literally thousands of different ways to improve your company’s shipping process. Depending on where your shipping services are at now, you can be looking at smaller improvements like boosting your navigation process, to larger ones like implementing a major overhaul of your logistics equipment. So, before you decide on any of these upgrades, we suggest that you take a closer look at your company. More often then not, there is at least one improvement that will give you huge value for your investment. So, plan long and hard before you implement anything.
Streamline shipping orders
A surprising number of shipping issues have nothing to do with bad navigation or poor equipment. Most of them are due to poor internal communication and bad optimization of the beginning of the shipping process. So, if there is one place we suggest you start, it’s at the beginning. Try to pick up on the little details that make the shipping process needlessly long. These details may look insignificant on their own, but once they pile up and combine, they can easily take up a lot of time and energy. Go through the whole process both as a shipping coordinator and a customer. If you don’t have much experience with shipping, you can always hire a professional to go over your process and give you tips on how to improve.
In order to have an efficient shipping service, you need to have a top-notch communication system within your company. This means that your workers need to be able to communicate with each other whenever, wherever. If this is not the case currently, make it so. There are a ton of mobile apps that can make communication easier. Among the ones we can recommend are:
Be sure to try out a couple and to read reviews before you opt for one. To make communication more efficient, you can even look into digitalizing your shipping process as much as possible. Recent events with COVID-19 have certainly incentivized shipping companies to adopt digital shipping solutions.
Use tracking technology
One of the ways to both improve your company’s shipping process and keep your customers happy is to utilize tracking technology. Being able to have a live feed of where your shipments are will make the whole process much easier to handle. And, if you can give that info to your customers, you will effectively make them happier. In fact, most customers have grown to expect shipment tracking. This is why, sooner or later, you will probably have to implement it within your shipping process.
Be aware of courier services
When it comes to international shipping, you can rarely afford to work on your own. More often than not, you will have to coordinate with other shipping companies and courier services in order to ship efficiently. So, our advice is to prepare for your international shipments and look for local courier companies in advance. While you may have an easy time finding a shipping company in the U.S., finding one in Europe or Asia can prove to be a time-consuming process. Especially if you have to overcome the language barrier in order to set up a shipping agreement. So, do yourself a favor and prepare the groundwork for different areas before you start shipping internationally.
Prepare for customs clearance
Another way to make international shipping more efficient is to prepare for customs clearance. Keep in mind that your shipments will spend a lot of time at customs, especially if you don’t have the necessary paperwork and you don’t follow the strict guidelines. So, before you ship off your goods, ensure that the person in charge of them has everything necessary for smooth customs clearance.
Keep your customers informed
The final way in which you can better your shipping process is to always keep your customers informed. Issues and hiccups do happen, even with the most efficient shipping companies. So, while you should do all that is possible to improve your company’s shipping process, don’t expect to have a full-proof system. If and when a delay does happen, you shouldn’t shy away from informing your customers. In the long run, this act will ensure that you have better reviews.
Jonas Myers has worked as a professional shipping coordinator for over 20 years. During that time he helped companies like U. Santini Moving and Storage improve their shipping capabilities and increase their travel efficiency. He now focuses on raising his daughters, woodworking, and on writing helpful articles about shipping.