Question: What’s your best tip to improve shipping and delivery execution?
Question by: Ashley
Lock In Automation
“If you’re shipping product and don’t have the system and fulfillment process automated, then you’re spending too much time and money in the process. We use Infusionsoft for e-commerce that includes shipments of physical products to automate fulfillment services, send shipment notifications and update our clients when stock is low. The right e-commerce platform pays for itself!”
Just Be Quick!
“Streamline your order handling process so that each step is the most efficient it can be, and make sure you staff right. Technology has altered what is an acceptable waiting time for a delivery, so your business needs to be in line with that new customer expectation. Figuring out how to deliver fast is crucial to keeping your customers satisfied.”
Reduce Your Options
“The fewer different shipping options you’re offering, the faster you can get inventory ready to go. In an ideal world, you would offer only one option — even if that means that you’re offering incredibly fast delivery and you’ve upped your prices to cover it. You may not be able to go that extreme, but keep options as limited as possible. “
Simple — Drop Ship
“Rather than keeping your goods in stock and paying for inventory and associated overhead costs, you can have your manufacturer or wholesaler ship the goods directly to your customer. This technique will save you time and money.”
Create a Middle Man
“I consulted for a business in the restaurant equipment business and our quickest way to improve shipping and delivery was to hold our own stock at facility closer to most of our customers. This reduced the time of delivery by over 50 percent, which has helped spike business as this builds customer loyalty, especially in an industry that needs our products as soon as possible to keep operating.”
Find the Right Warehouse
“It’s crucial to perform sufficient due diligence to find a warehouse that will offer competitive rates, is willing to ship all the major carriers so rates remain the lowest, and won’t hit you with large annual increases.”
Combine Packaging and Shipping
“Use a company that does the packaging and shipping for you! We love Molding Box because they do everything for you, from the warehouse to consumer. They are professional, and the end products look wonderful with the packaging they put in place.”
Ensure Great Customer Experiences
“I recommend drop-shipping as the best means to ship a product while incurring no out-of-pocket expenses. Make sure to do several test orders yourself with one or more drop-shippers. You do this to check for quality and consistency. For delivery execution, do your research on the big 3 (USPS, UPS, FedEx) and discuss with them options like branded packaging to improve the customer experience.”
Keep Your Fulfillment In-House
“Customer service is so incredibly important as a startup. And there is nothing worse for a customer than receiving a broken product (or worse, not receiving anything at all!). Fulfillment centers are great at scale, but they can be very expensive. Keep everything in-house as long as possible. Save on labor and the cost to store in a center. Then use your personal touch to “wow” the customer.”
Use Free Stuff!
“If your shipping department is in-house then take advantage of all the free packing supplies offered by the major shipping companies. You can receive almost all your shipping components from labels, boxes and packaging material right off their website. A small savings per every item shipped adds up quickly.”
“State in your company’s terms of shipping which days you ship our products. This way, you can group your shipments together and save time, money and wear and tear on your vehicle for trips to the shipping carrier. Some carriers will pick up your shipments at your location for a small fee, so consider the time, labor, gas and other factors when comparing delivery vs pickup costs.”
Build a Relationship With Shipping
“Make it a point to develop a strong relationship with the company that facilitates your shipments (FedEx, UPS, etc.). A representative can walk you through various ways to reduce your shipping costs, including modifying the size of your packaging and attaining volume discounts.”
Be the Owner, Not the Worker!
“The value of customer service that a fulfillment center offers, as well as the savings it will bring you in the long run, cannot be compared to doing it yourself to save a few bucks. Fulfillment, if done, correctly can save you money. Think smarter, not harder. Look for centers central to your business for added savings.”
More Business articles from Business 2 Community: