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While starting an e-commerce business, entrepreneurs often focus on e-commerce platform selection, product listings, marketing, and so on. However, one of the aspects that goes unnoticed is shipping. eCommerce shipping is a crucial aspect of the business as it has a direct impact on customer experience. However, do you know what e-commerce shipping means?
This article elaborates on the meaning of e-commerce shipping, its process, strategies and so on.
What is e-commerce shipping?
In simple terms, e-commerce shipping means the shipping process of the products purchased through e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, etc.
Now, e-commerce involves many stakeholders. For example, it includes sellers, logistics partners, warehousing facilities, fulfilment centres, transportation services, and so on. Therefore, eCommerce shipping also involves the collaboration of all these partners.
E-commerce shipping process
Here is a step-by-step e-commerce shipping process.
- Receiving an order: The first step of e-commerce shipping is receiving an order from the customer.
- Order confirmation: Once the order is received, it is confirmed by the fulfilment centre. The address of the customer is verified, the availability of the product is checked, etc.
- Pick and pack: The fulfillment centre or the warehouse then picks the retrieves the product from the storage area. It is called order picking. The order is brought to the packing area where it is packed using the required packaging material.
- Shipping: Once the order is packed, the logistics or transportation or logistics partner is informed. The transportation partner picks up the product for delivery.
- Other processes: e-commerce shipping also involves other allied shipping operations such as shipping replacement products after return request, reverse logistics, and so on.
E-commerce shipping cost
The cost of e-commerce varies by a far margin. The shipping cost depends on the weight of the product being transported, distance from the origin and destination, and involvement of other services such as packaging, and so on.
Here are some examples:
A small product shipped within the same city boundaries can cost about ₹50
A larger product to be shipped in the other part of the country costs about ₹500 or more
Now, many businesses selling online charge separate shipping cost that is usually displayed in the cost section. Meaning, if a customer is buying a product worth ₹500 and the shipping cost is ₹100, then the customer needs to pay:
Product price: ₹500
+ shipping cost: ₹100
Many sellers bear the cost of shipping in case the order of product goes beyond a certain amount. For example, a seller offers free shipping if the order is worth ₹699 or more.
However, offering free shipping needs to make business sense for small businesses. Therefore, it is best to research and compare the shipping rates of different logistics companies before finalising on one.
Factors influencing e-commerce shipping cost
As mentioned earlier three factors impact the shipping cost – the pin code of the pick-up area, the pin code of the destination and the weight of the package. Here is how they influence the pricing.
1. Pin code of the pick-up area
It is one of the critical factors. If the pick-up area is outside of the network area of shipping, you will be charged extra. Additionally, it may cause a delay in pick-up. For small businesses, the pick-up area often remains constant, hence, it is best to choose the logistics partner that serves your pick-up area.
2. Pin code of the destination
The distance of the destination from the origin location also determines the cost. However, logistics partners should also cover countrywide pin codes. if you are shipping all over the country. On the other side, if your destinations are centralized in one area, make sure the logistics company can deliver products with great speed.
3. Weight of the product to be shipped
As explained earlier, the weight of the product determines the cost. Therefore, it is best you choose the right kind of packaging and use it optimally to reduce weight while avoiding shipping damages.
4. Other services
Here are some of the leading companies in India that offer e-commerce shipping solutions and services. 3PL partner also offers services such as warehousing, inventory management, order management and so on.
E-commerce shipping companies
Here are some of leading companies in India that offer ecommerce shipping solutions and services.
- Ecom Express
- Blue Dart
Ecommerce Shipping: Strategies
For small businesses, it is important to adopt strategies for getting competitive rates for shipping. Here are some of the strategies you can adopt.
- Firstly, analyse your data. Understand the region where you need to ship your products. Also, determine the weight of your product along with the packaging.
- Ensure that the pick-up address is included in the logistics partner’s network.
- You can save costs by packaging your products and printing labels. However, depends on the quantities of quantities. Sometimes, it may be cost-saving if the activity is assigned to the logistics partner. Therefore, it is advisable to do a comparative analysis before taking any decision.
- Invite quotes from multiple logistics solution providers . Compare quotes in terms of cost, delivery time and so on. Select the one that suits you the best.
- Once you narrow down on couple of logistics partners, do not forget to negotiate with them. Companies often offer discounts on volumes. Economies of scale enable you to get logistics services at a better rate.
- The reputation and reliability of the logistics partner are some of the important aspects to consider in e-commerce shipping. Many times, they face customers directly while making deliveries. Frequent delays or shipping damages can hamper customer satisfaction and the brand image of your business. Therefore, make sure the logistics company you choose has a strong history of on-time delivery.
On a concluding note
E-commerce shipping is an important aspect of any e-commerce business. A business owner should opt for a reputed service that ensures on-time delivery. This will enable you to attain customer experience which can further lead to repeat orders and customer loyalty.