Having a shipping strategy that is priced effectively, convenient for your customers, and works for your business is key to running a successful online store.
Choose a shipping provider
First, choose a company as your shipping provider. This may be your country’s national postal service, or, a private shipping company.
Choose a shipping provider that you find reliable and trustworthy, as once an order has been shipped, customers will associate your business with your chosen shipping company.
Research packaging options
Choose packaging options for sending your products such as a box, cardboard envelope, bubble envelope, or postal tube. Each packaging option should include enough room for the product as well as cushioning material such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or tissue paper. Choose a few standard packaging options.
Keep in mind the cost of these supplies, and how they will affect the price you charge for shipping.
Calculate Shipping Rates
Determine the cost of delivery before setting any Shipping Rates on Vend Ecommerce. A high cost of delivery can deter customers from making a purchase, but your shipping prices should be competitive and in line with your profit margins.
When calculating a shipping rate consider:
- Product cost;
- Shipping cost, including any taxes;
- Packaging cost;
- And any additional fees, such as a tracking number or signature.
If you use a private shipping company, they will have resources to help you determine their shipping costs.
A simple way to calculate shipping cost is to package your products as if you were shipping them and going to your local post office. Weigh each parcel and write down common product weights, so you have a reference for this in the future. If offering multiple delivery speeds, make a note of the cost for each.
At the moment, shipping rates on Vend Ecommerce cannot be linked to order weight.
For Shipping Rates set as a flat rate per item or a flat rate per shipment, calculate the average cost to send these orders, so you charge the correct amount.
Free shipping can be an effective incentive for customers to make a purchase.
Free shipping in Vend can be offered with the following pricing formulas:
- Flexible rate based on number of items: Offer free shipping when over a set number of products are purchased. For example, once three items are added to the cart, shipping is free.
- Flexible rate based on subtotal: Offer free shipping when the order total is over a set dollar amount. For example, offer free shipping when the order is over $100, inclusive of any tax.
- Flat rate per shipment: Offer free shipping on all orders, with no minimum number of products or dollar amount. For example, free shipping could be offered to all customers as a promotion. Or, offer free shipping on all orders to a specific country or region.
To help offset the cost of free shipping, increase the price of your products.
Clearly, communicate that free shipping is being offered by including this information prominently on your online store:
- On a homepage banner
- On a Page explaining Shipping Options
- In the description on the product page
Over time, you may need to adjust your shipping prices. Shipping Rates can be added, deleted, or edited at any time in Vend Ecommerce.
Prepare your store
Dedicate a space in your retail store for packaging online orders that include:
- Pre-built boxes
- Cushioning material such as bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or tissue paper
- Kraft paper to wrap parcels
- Any marketing materials you may wish to include
Keeping this space organised will ensure orders can be packaged quickly and effectively.
Include promotional material
Consider using each parcel as a marketing opportunity. Include free samples or a handwritten thank you note with your orders.
A flyer could also be included promoting:
- Upcoming sales
- New products
- Your business’s social media channels
- Sign ups to your email newsletter
Set a weekly shipping schedule
To help manage your orders, create a business account with your chosen shipping provider, so they come pick up the parcels from your store. If there is a fee associated with this, you may want to include the cost in your Shipping Rates.
If you’re taking the parcels to the post office yourself, set a weekly schedule with specific days and times to go, and include this schedule on a Page on your online store.
Communicate your shipping policies
To help customers understand your different delivery options, set up a Page with the following information:
- Price points, and how to get free shipping
- Delivery speed for each shipping method, country, and region
- Weekly schedule orders are sent out and if there is a certain time of day orders need to be placed to arrive by a certain date
- Inform customers that they will receive an email once the order has been shipped
- Return policy, how to return a product purchased online, and any restocking fees
- Delivery deadlines for each shipping method and region for events such as Christmas or Black Friday
- Insurance coverage for each shipping method and what to do in the event of a lost or stolen order
- Policy on duty and customs fees the customer may be charged