Shipping can make or break your business. More than 75% of shoppers consider even small shipping costs a deal breaker compared to free shipping.
That means you cannot afford to skimp on it. You have to be intentional with the kind of experience you and your would-be customers will have during the entire process of shipping. To keep your business shipping at the most efficient cost and service, using worthwhile shipping software is a good start.
5 Questions to Ask About Your Current Platform
- How Flexible is it with Integrations?
- Does it Offer Multi-Carrier Rate Shopping?
- What Are its Track-Trace Capabilities?
- How Effective is it in Managing Your Workflow?
- What Are the Available Options for Shipping Rates?
The options are endless, but the search is worth the effort. Of course, you’ll have to consider your specific business needs to get a platform that serves you best. Other aspects of it can apply to pretty much every online business out there.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the top 5 concerns you should look into as far as your current shipping platform is concerned.
Take a look.
How Flexible Is It with Integrations?
Your shipping software isn’t the only system in your business. You need to stay on top of your current ecommerce platform, manage your inventory, and ensure your books are in order. Think of the daily activities that are essential for the continued running of your business.
A good deal of them will need a platform of some sort, and each one of these platforms must work in harmony with the others. The same goes for your shipping software.
Can it plug into the existing ecosystem without much fuss? Spoiler alert – it should. That’s how you’ll realize its full importance as a tool, which is to make your work easier.
For some very specific integrations, the ideal platform should offer API access so that you can tweak everything down to your requirements.
Another way to make this work is with order aggregation like that provided by Essential Hub. Your shopping cart, marketplaces, and webstore all connect to it, and it connects to your shipping software. That way you don’t have to worry about managing so many integrations.
Does It Offer Multi-Carrier Rate Shopping?
Customers expect free shipping and getting their product ASAP. They don’t care about the carrier service you use, but you should. Products going to inner zones should be using ground service. Outer zones may need something faster.
The USPS has the best rates for items under a pound. Flat rate options. Depending on the package size, zone, and service-level you need (how fast does it need to get there?), you need the most economical option. Does your software rate shop across carriers? An effective and efficient shipping program will rely on multiple carriers.
What Are Its Track-Trace Capabilities?
Your customers will be eager to know where their shopped items are. It’s only natural as they’ve paid for them. This is an opportunity for you as a merchant to show-off how committed you are in satisfying your customers.
You can do that through your shipping software.
A good platform allows you to update your customer every step of the way – from the moment the item is shipped, to being in transit and then to finally be delivered.
But in the midst of all this, returns are bound to be there. You also want a seamless process on the customer’s part and even your team.
For some platforms, it’s as simple as offering a return portal, printing the return label, and sending the item back to you. And that’s exactly what you’d want.
How Effective Is It in Managing Your Workflow?
As already mentioned, shipping software is a tool, and the sole purpose of a tool is to make your work easier. Part of making work easier is streamlining day-to-day operations from the time a customer places an order to the time the item is shipped out.
How good is your current platform with this?
Think of the documentation required in shipping an item – there are a lot of forms to fill and keep up with. Your shipping software should stand in for you. It helps keep all these documents in one place for easy retrieval when needed while eliminating a good deal of errors at the same time.
Are you printing labels one at a time or in batches? Are you printing pack lists to make it easier to fill orders? Shipping software can be customized to your current process or utilized to make your process even easier. One way Essential Hub adds value is educating, training, and optimizing customer shipping processes based on the platform they are using. Through this method they save customers 20-30% in time every day. What would you do with an extra 2 hours?
What Are the Available Options for Shipping Rates?
Some platforms have limited options as far as rates are concerned. This means you have to make do with whatever the said platform has to offer.
This is certainly not the best way to go about it.
Having a custom pricing plan will work in your best interest. There are plenty of shipping platforms that offer this option. You should be able to rate shop, load custom rates, and manage your own shipping profile. Essential Hub is connected to multiple software options that do this.
Not every platform sells shipping the same way, but they would all have you believe that they offer the best rates. One way to check this is to take a typical package size, including weight and the same delivery address, and shop it across platforms. That’s a good place to start when evaluating who is offering the best rates.
Wrapping it Up
Shipping plays a significant role in most people’s purchase decisions, so making sure everything runs smoothly should be a top priority to you as a merchant. Shipping software is a tool that will work to save you money, make you more efficient, and improve the customer experience.
Find one that works for your business using these tips. Essential Hub helps all of our customers evaluate the best software for their needs and how to best implement that system. Find out how today!