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How to manage e-commerce shipments

WebSite X5
Published by Incomedia in Guides and Tips · Wednesday 28 Jun 2023
Anyone with experience in managing an e-commerce business knows very well that the job doesn't end when the customer clicks on the "Purchase" button.
Of course, this click represents an important outcome and is a sign that the correct path has been taken, but... it's only a partial outcome. Unfortunately, there are still many unknowns and things that can go wrong before you can claim victory. The customer may find that the shipping costs are too high, that the delivery times are too long, that the package received is damaged or that the purchased product does not meet expectations. So what can our customer decide to do? The answer is easy. They can choose to not complete the order or to cancel it, they can make a return, or they can keep the purchase but decide to no longer use that particular e-commerce site.

In short, to ensure that all the effort put into constructing the path that led a prospective customer to your online store's "Purchase" button isn't lost, equal care must be taken in managing everything that happens afterwards. Appropriate and efficient shipping management is just as critical to the success of your e-commerce business as its design, SEO operations and marketing campaigns.

So let's try to understand what might turn the shipping phase for an e-commerce business from a weak link to an asset.

How to ship products sold online

A customer clicks on the "Purchase" button on our e-commerce site and, from here, the long and complex journey of shipping begins. Nope! Many people underestimate this phase. We, however, know that only a well-structured process can lead to the end result of the closing of a sale and a satisfied customer who will return to make more purchases.
Here are some key points to pay attention to in order to better structure your e-commerce shipping process:

Identify and quantify costs

The starting point for planning a thorough and efficient shipping strategy for your e-commerce business is to precisely identify and quantify the costs you'll be incurring. You'll need to know the actual costs you'll be incurring in order to ship something, so you can set the final price that the end customer will pay. This is the only way you can aim for attractive prices without affecting your profit margins.

There are several costs you'll need to consider. The most common are:

  • Package size: The size of the package can affect the cost of shipping. Carriers may charge additional fees for bulky packages or packages that exceed the maximum sizes allowed.

  • Package weight: The weight of the package is one of the key elements in determining shipping costs. Shipping companies set rates based on actual weight or dimensional weight, whichever is greater.

  • Shipping destination: Rates may vary depending on the country, region or distance the package is to be sent. Some countries may also have additional customs duties or restrictions that can increase the overall cost of shipping.

  • Shipping service type: Carriers offer different types of shipping services, and each service has a different cost, with varying delivery times and tracking options. Make sure you choose the service that best fits your delivery needs and budget.

  • Package insurance: If you wish to protect your package from damage or loss in transit, you may want to opt for additional insurance. This may result in additional costs but can offer peace of mind should any issues arise.

  • Additional services: Some carriers offer optional additional services, such as home pick-up of the package, delivery by appointment or delivery at a specific time. These services may result in additional costs but offer added flexibility and convenience.

Of course, shipping costs may vary depending on the shipping company chosen and the contractual obligations you've established with them. Compare various shipping options and request quotes to get a clear idea of costs before making a decision.

Keep in mind that, generally speaking, the more shipping and delivery options you can offer, the more customers you'll be able to satisfy. However, you'll need to ensure that you can not only guarantee multiple shipping options, but that they all offer maximum efficiency.

Develop a good pricing strategy

As mentioned, knowing how much a shipment costs allows you to establish how much it should cost the end customer. Pay close attention to this step.

Industry studies show that 44% of users abandon their purchases due to excessively high shipping costs.

Think about it. Customers find out how much shipping costs are only upon confirmation of their order. At that point, what originally seemed like a "great deal" risks turning into a nasty surprise, and they may decide to abandon their purchase.

High shipping costs are the second leading cause of cart abandonment (SaleCycle)

Your goal, therefore, is to try to reduce abandonment rates as much as possible, and to do so, you can essentially choose between two strategies:

  • Offer free shipping
    It's an increasingly popular choice and, of course, is the one that's most appreciated by customers. If you don't want or can't bear the full cost of shipping, you might consider increasing the price of the product to cover it in part or in whole.

  • Offer a fixed flat rate
    Create fixed price ranges proportionate to the order amount and, if possible, provide for free shipping above a certain spending threshold. This way, you can at least partially cover the shipping costs and, at the same time, encourage a higher level of spending in your online store.

Shipping undoubtedly represents a significant expense for anyone running an online store. However, if you play your cards right, you can make this process profitable as well.

Design flawless and unforgettable packaging

Among the elements affecting shipping costs, there's also packaging.

Is it worth spending more to have better and possibly personalized packaging, rather than settling for more economical standard packaging? The answer is often yes.

Packing and packaging play a critical role in e-commerce shipping and can make the difference between a satisfied customer and a disappointed one. Proper packaging reduces the risk of damage in transit, avoiding unwanted returns and additional costs. But it's not just about protecting the product during transport. Eye-catching packaging can reflect the brand image and influence the perception of quality, enticing enthusiasm and anticipation in customers.

In fact, 72% of American consumers admit that their purchase decisions are influenced by the design of the packaging (Ipsos)

If you want to guarantee a memorable unboxing experience, follow these tips:

  • Choose quality materials: Use high-quality and durable materials for packaging to ensure that the product is adequately protected in transit.

  • Customize Packaging: Add a personal touch to your brand's packaging. You can print your logo or company name on the box or use custom labels. This will not only enhance your brand image but will also make opening the package a special occasion for the customer.

  • Take care of the aesthetics: Pay close attention to the aesthetic details of the packaging. Choose eye-catching colors that draw attention and use attractive designs. You can also include decorative wrapping paper or a thank-you note to give the package a touch of class.

  • Include useful information: Add a note inside the package with instructions for use or product facts. This will provide the customer with additional information and make the product feel even more special.

  • Consider the environmental impact: Choose eco-friendly packaging materials such as recycled or biodegradable boxes. This will demonstrate your brand's commitment to environmental sustainability, which may be appreciated by your customers.

Choose the shipping platform

The choice of carrier for shipping from your e-commerce business is an important decision. Bear in mind that this choice will affect the competitiveness of your online store, determine the efficiency of deliveries and ultimately will affect the customer experience. The carrier who makes the delivery, in fact, is the only point of contact that your store has with the end customer. Any lack of professionalism, delays or inconveniences will inexorably affect the relationship between you selling and your customers buying.

Here are some factors to consider as well as benefits associated with choosing a suitable carrier:

  • Competitive rates: Compare the shipping rates offered by various carriers. Look for a balance between reasonable costs and high-quality service. A carrier with competitive rates can help you maintain competitive prices for your customers and improve the profitability of your e-commerce business.

  • Geographic coverage: Make sure that the carrier you choose offers geographic coverage that fits your needs. If you want to reach customers in certain regions or countries, make sure that the carrier has a well-developed distribution network in those areas. Good geographic coverage ensures dependable delivery times and increased customer satisfaction.

  • Additional services: Find out if the carrier offers additional services that can be beneficial to your e-commerce business. For example, you may benefit from advanced tracking options, deliveries by appointment or package pick-up directly from your warehouse. These services can improve the customer experience and optimize the management of shipments.

  • Reliability: On-time and reliable delivery are critical to a successful e-commerce business. Gather information on the carrier's reputation as well as reviews to gauge their reliability. A reliable carrier reduces the risk of delayed or lost packages, ensuring customer satisfaction.

  • Customer Support: Make sure that the carrier offers good customer support. The ability to contact the carrier in the event of problems, questions or complaints is essential for efficient shipment management.

  • Return options: Consider whether the carrier offers package return services. A convenient return policy and streamlined return process can positively influence the customer experience and increase trust in your brand.

We suggest that you take time to evaluate the available options and select one or more carriers that best suit the specific needs of your e-commerce business.

Automate processes

From what has been said thus far, it's easy to see that the steps necessary for properly managing the shipment of a package are many. An order arrives and the package must be prepared, the label must be printed, the carrier needs to be called, the services provided must be activated, the shipment needs to be monitored, and intervention must take place in the event of problems, etc…

The best solution for keeping everything under control, coordinating the various activities in a quick and efficient way, and most of all, reducing the chances of error, is to rely on a system that allows you to automate all processes. One such system is Qapla'.

Qapla' is a platform that simplifies the connection between carriers' systems, CMS systems and marketplaces. It also activates communication channels with end customers and generates new sales. Functions are included for:

  • Label Printing: Import the orders and in three clicks, everything is done. This allows you to print all your carriers' labels in seconds with no mistakes.

  • Shipment Tracking: It doesn't matter how many carriers you use. You can monitor more than 180 carriers from a single interface, and you'll always have information on each individual shipment.

  • Sending Precise and Personalized Information: Provide your customers with real-time information regarding the delivery status of their orders via email, SMS and/or WhatsApp. You can also customize each aspect of your communications and transform them into post-sales marketing channels to generate new business opportunities.

  • Managing returns: Some returns are unavoidable, so make sure it's still a positive experience for the customer. You can choose whether to approve returns individually or whether to establish rules for an automated process that requires no intervention on your part.

Quapla' is an excellent tool for simplifying the management of your e-commerce shipments and for transforming the post-sale into a marketing channel.

If you'd like to integrate it into the online store you've created with WebSite X5, the procedure is now even easier. Just enter your API key code to enable the two systems to communicate. Moreover, as a WebSite X5 user, you can enjoy 50% OFF Qapla' activation cost: use the coupon code INCOMEDIA50

If you'd like to integrate it into the online store you've created with WebSite X5, the procedure is now even easier. Just enter your API key code to enable the two systems to communicate. Moreover, as a WebSite X5 user, you can enjoy 50% OFF Qapla' activation cost: use the coupon code INCOMEDIA50


E-commerce shipping management is a critical element in the success of an online store, but it's also one of the most difficult to manage. For this reason, it's important to carefully consider all aspects and make the right decisions.

Each and every e-commerce business will, of course, have its own specific needs, and you'll need to take yours into consideration. It'll take some time and effort, but you'll be able to identify the practices that work best for you.

Just be careful not to assume that what works today will also the best solution for tomorrow. Make it a habit to periodically re-evaluate your choices and processes to ensure that you're continuing to offer the best prices and the best user experience to your customers.

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