Shipping

E-commerce is a fun business, including sourcing products, choosing your niche and marketing your products. Where it gets to be work is when it comes time to ship to  your customers. You will find a lot of opinions of shipping so I wanted to give you my input on what I think are the best way to hand this time consuming task.

The keys to shipping are keeping your costs down and maintaining your professionalism. Remember you're a real business not a part time ebay seller selling off garage sale items taking up space around your home. The reason I use that example is because you need to invest in shipping materials. You can't wrap your products in newspaper and ship in used boxes. The first thing you need to do is create a shipping department in you home or office, trust me it has to be set up and organized properly with all the tools to make the shipping process easy. Here are the items you will need to get:

  • Shipping Scale
  • Clear Packing Tape
  • Different Size Boxes To Fit Your Different Sized Products
  • Bubble Rap
  • Pop Corn
  • Shipping Labels
  • Scissors
  • Shipping Log System
  • Ink Stamps (1. Shipped 2. Fragile 3. This Side Up)
  • USPS Priority Mail Boxes (These are free boxes you can order from the post office)

You have to determine how you are going to ship your products, there are several options like USPS, UPS and FedEx. Your main goal when it comes to shipping is keeping you costs down while still delivering at a high level of service. The one thing you want to avoid is using any of the Pak Mail or UPS Store services. These types of businesses cater to people who need to ship 1 or two items every once in a while. This is not a good choice for an ecommerce business because of the markup they charge. It's also not the place to purchase your shipping supplies. You are better served buying from at wholesale level. I like to ship USPS Priority Mail for smaller items. The service gets to the final destination is a few days, and although the Priority service is more that basic shipping it's still cheaper that UPS and FedEx when you factor in the boxes are free.

If you did all your shipping via USPS Priority mail you would save a lot of money in supplies. Time is another factor when it comes to shipping, you don't want to have to go to the Post Office to ship, you pay a higher rate and you could waste several hours a week. Do all you shipping using USPS.com or an online service like Endicia.com or Stamps.com. Stamps.com offers a free 5 lb shipping scale or a discount of a 25 lb shipping scale. Both scales are USB so the package weight gets input right into your computer.

Obviously if you are running a drop shipping business then shipping is not a concern. It's nice to have the ability to ship products directly to your customers because you can control the experience, like your own custom label, ability to put promo items in the box as well as adding a small gift.

In any event shipping is an important and costly part of your ecommerce empire, getting it right is very important.