- Over 50% of shoppers only buy if delivery conditions and shipping information are clear
- The shipping process involves three main steps: Receiving an order, processing an order, and fulfilling the order
- Easyship offers up to 91% off discounted shipping rates on 250+ couriers like USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL
Every business has its challenges, big or small, and combating these challenges is necessary to keep every business afloat. For eCommerce merchants, shipping is one aspect you must combat for your business.
For over 50% of retailers, shipping logistics are challenging; however, this should not deter you from having a good experience and satisfying your customers. By following the right shipping processes, you can thrive effortlessly or, at least, reduce the challenges you face with shopping.
This article has compiled the best shipping processes you can adopt and the shipping carriers you can use to help have a worthwhile shipping experience.
Table of Contents
What Is the Shipping Process?
The shipping process involves everything from receiving an order to preparing it for last-mile delivery. In layman's terms, the shipping process involves three main steps:
- Receiving an order
- Processing an order
- Fulfilling the order
We'll go over a more detailed look at how the shipping process steps work, so you know how to ace your shipping strategy.
The Stages of How Shipping Works
There are three stages of the shipping process: receiving, processing, and fulfilling an order. These three stages are vital to the fourth included stage when your customer receives their order. Below is a broader explanation of how each step works:
Stage #1: Receiving the order
The first stage is receiving your customer's order and ensuring enough inventory to process the order. To achieve this, you should work with your supplier to devise a means to acquire and replenish your stock every time. Also, installing inventory management software and syncing it to your eCommerce business can help you track your orders in one place.
Stage #2: Processing the order
Processing a specific order helps verify data like shipping addresses and confirm its accuracy. Often, a software application can help you manage this stage. In addition, your customers will be notified once their order is processed via email.
Stage #3: Fulfilling the order
This stage is when you sort the items to be shipped. Order fulfilling options vary from one eCommerce store to another; it could be dropshipping or self-fulfilling. However, a 3PL service or third-party logistics company is the most common one. 3PLs manage the fulfillment processes of eCommerce businesses from warehousing, shopping orders, packing boxes to generating picking lists.
Stage #4: Customer receives order
If you have completed the already mentioned stages, you should be looking forward to having your customers receive their orders. Frequent communication is very vital here. Be sure to follow up with them till they receive their order.
Shipping Companies for Small Business Shipping
Many shipping companies can be beneficial for your small business. The most popular ones are USPS, UPS, DHL, and FedEx for domestic and international shipping.
We'll give a more detailed look at the features and benefits of these shipping companies so that you can decide which option works best for your eCommerce small business.
USPS is one of the largest and well-known carriers in the United States that offers affordable shipping services for domestic and international shipping. In addition, USPS offers popular services such as the following:
|Courier Service||Lead Time||Features|
|USPS Priority Mail||1-3 business days||Flat rate pricing, package pickup, tracking, and $50 of insurance|
|USPS Priority Mail Express||2 business days||Flat rate pricing, package pickup, tracking, $100 of insurance, and signature upon delivery|
|USPS First Class||1-3 business days||For items up to 13 oz, insurance, and cheap shipping|
FedEx is also one of your most well-known couriers in the United States and is known for its fast and time-definite delivery. As a courier, FedEx offers the following services depending on your preference.
|Courier Service||Lead Time||Features|
|FedEx First Overnight||Next possible business day||Tracking, time-definite delivery, shipping insurance|
|FedEx 2Day||1-2 business days||Tracking, time-definite delivery, shipping insurance|
|FedEx Express Saver||1-3 business days||Tracking, time-definite delivery, shipping insurance|
UPS, or United Parcel Service, is a publicly-traded company known as the world's largest package delivery company. UPS offers various services, which include:
|Courier Service||Lead Time||Features|
|UPS Ground||1-5 business days||Tracking, time-definite delivery, shipping insurance, and guaranteed delivery|
|UPS Next-Day||1 business day||Tracking, guaranteed delivery, and shipping insurance|
|UPS Express Critical||1-2 business days||Tracking, time-definite delivery, and shipping insurance|
DHL is an international courier that delivers to over 220 countries worldwide. In addition, DHL offers features and benefits such as the following:
|Courier Service||Lead Time||Features|
|DHL Express||1-6 business days||Real-time tracking, shipping insurance, global fulfillment to reach customers all across the globe|
|DHL Parcel||2-8 business days||Real-time tracking, shipping insurance, global fulfillment to reach customers all across the globe|
|DHL International Mail||3-14 business days||Real-time tracking, shipping insurance, global fulfillment to reach customers all across the globe|
With Easyship, users can get up to 91% off discounted shipping rates and offer up to $10,000 shipping insurance. Use our shipping rates calculator to calculate the cheapest rates for small business shipping.
10 Shipping Process Tips to Follow
Staying ahead of shipping issues requires you to master some vital tips. Therefore, we'll consider the following shipping process tips to follow to help you ace eCommerce small business shipping in this section.
1. Use correct packaging materials for shipping
One of the best ways to satisfy your customer is by ensuring they receive their packages in good condition and can achieve this is by using the best packaging materials for the items you ship. By knowing the nature of the things you're shipping, you can determine the suitable packaging to use. For example, fragile items or electronics will require more care and consideration when choosing the packaging material to use.
2. Choose the correct packaging box
Choosing the right size of a box can save you a lot of stress and cost. In most cases, this process might mean selecting the correct packaging box to use, like using a polybag rather than a box. Other times, you might have to reduce the size of the box to reduce the dimensional weight. And if you're sending multiple items to the exact location, you can consider using a pallet for the pick and pack process.
3. Pay attention to delivery lead times
Certain uncontrollable factors can affect delivery times. However, the fact remains that late deliveries can cost you customers, and the best way to stay ahead is to be knowledgeable about delivery lead times. Pay attention to factors that may delay your shipping and adjust your delivery date accordingly. Most importantly, communicate with your customers to know the necessary information.
4. Use free shipping supplies
Major shipping carriers like USPS, FedEx, DHL, and UPS give free shipping supplies. Free supplies include delivery boxes that will be delivered to you. These services are made available by carriers to keep using their services.
5. Consider your fulfillment options
Weighing your fulfillment options is very important. You can either choose to have them done yourself or use the services of a fulfillment company. Though the latter will cost you more, it is better to use the services of those who specialize in handling shipping arrangements. This service will ease your workload, and you are guaranteed that you have experts handling that aspect for you.
6. Research the best shipping services
When choosing the shipping services to use, you have to make your findings and pick the one suitable for the type of shipping you need to do at the moment. USPS, DHL, UPS, and FedEx all offer various services, and each of them is tailored to multiple shipping needs.
This tip means that USPS Ground Mail might be the best option for you sometimes. However, you my want to consider DHL for international shipping for ocean freight shipments. Plus, since DHL specializes in international delivery, they can assist you in export customs clearance, import customs, and more.
7. Consider additional shipping services
Choosing a carrier that provides additional services beneficial to your business is advisable. Carriers like UPS and FedEx offer free discounts, consulting services, packaging assistance, and many others to help small businesses. You can leverage these services to grow your business.
8. Consider using a shipping platform
Using a shipping platform or software helps you determine shipping rates for the shipping carriers available so you or your customer can select the one to use. You can also print your postage directly from the software. You should also know that most shipping software companies will charge for using services, but the services they offer are worth the trial.
Related post: How to Create Shipments on Easyship
9. Have a solid returns policy
Returns are often inevitable, but you can prepare for it by having a structure to cater to that aspect of your business. One option is to include return labels in every package for a seamless return if need be. The goal is to provide it easy for your customers to return so that you keep doing business with them.
10. Establish a solid customer service policy
Customers keep your business, and it is best to prioritize them. Have a sound customer support system and communicate shipping delays when necessary. Also, have a policy that guides your relationship with them and keeps to it.
Improve Shipping Processes with Easyship
Although shipping has its uncertainties, you can keep things under control by adopting necessary processes to ease you off the stress. In addition, knowing the various shipping carriers and the services they offer can keep you on track with your shipping endeavors.
Additionally, shipping platforms like Easyship can help you with software that can monitor and help you choose the best shipping options. For example, Easyship offers the following services such as the following:
- Easyship Shipping Rates Calculator: Access high-volume discounts from major couriers. Plus, get instant access to delivery lead times from premium shipping couriers
- Easyship Branding Suite: Easyship provides a delivery experience consistent with your brand. Add your logo and advertising materials to your packing slips, landing pages, and tracking emails
- All-One-Dashboard: Manage all your orders and create shipments in one place. Plus, upload CSVs or sync directly from your eCommerce store
By now, you should be well-equipped to create a world-class shipping experience for your small business. Now that you know all the tips and tricks of the shipping process tips, you're one step closer to achieving eCommerce success.
Ready to ship? Sign up for a FREE Easyship account and create your ultimate shipping process with our shipping experts today
Shipping Process FAQ
What does shipment processing mean?
The shipping process involves everything from receiving an order to preparing it for last-mile delivery.
What is the difference between shipping and logistics?
Shipping is the physical act of transporting goods between locations. Logistics is the process of managing the process of shipping.
How can I find the cheapest rates for shipping?
Easyship offers the cheapest rates for small businesses with high-volume discounts up to 91% for major shipping companies like USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, and 250+ others.
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