The cost of shipping is a major competitive differentiator in ecommerce. Shoppers will quickly abandon a cart or buy from a competitor if it means they will save money on shipping. To reduce shipping charges for your customers, you'll need to go beyond investing in cheaper dunnage or renegotiating with carriers for better rates. In addition to those strategies, here are some more holistic considerations for improving the cost efficiency and customer-friendliness of your packing and shipping operations.
Evaluate current packing materials and processes
From material and labor costs, to DIM weight optimization and customer experience – you may find there's a lot to "unpack" by doing a comprehensive review of your current approach to packing and shipping. Some useful questions to ask during this process include:
- How do factors such as total weight, dimensional weight, oversize charges, special handling, and the number of packages shipped per order affect your total average shipping expenses?
- What do your customer service and operations reports show about damages from improper packing or packing materials?
- What is the average labor cost on oversized items requiring special labor and materials to pack?
Consider the potential benefits of branding
Stylized packaging helps to create a memorable, positive experience for customers. When done well, customized packaging can improve your brand perception and boost your marketing reach through word-of-mouth and social media. Besides adding your brand messaging to packaging materials, interactive packaging inserts with social media instructions (“follow us at…”), post recommendations (“take a picture and tell us how excited you are to start using this product”), and hashtag suggestions are an inexpensive way to get more ROI from stylized packaging.
Right-sized packaging & kitting
Customizing your packaging to an optimal size and level of protection can save you money on shipping costs over the long-term. Right-sizing the cartons for each order will help get you the best DIM shipping rate every time. Customized dunnage that is lighter and less voluminous dunnage also contributes to getting better shipping rates. Depending on the level of variation in your typical order sizes, the best solution could range from onsite box-making equipment, to custom packaging and kitting services.
More and more companies are trying to change up their merchandizing strategies in preparation for entering new global markets. Beyond translating marketing content correctly into various languages, e-tailers also need to reevaluate information like item specifications and sizing details to align with regional norms and local consumer protection laws. Social standards as well as neighborhood laws are also critical factors to think about with development into new markets. To help ensure that your website and product information is comprehensive, relevant and accessible to foreign audiences, follow these guidelines.
Make updates to product specifications and descriptions
When expanding your reach to global customers, it's critical to localize product information across webpages and promotional content. This includes revamping SKU info with market-appropriate specifications (e.g. converting imperial measurements to metric) and descriptions that properly translate into your target audiences language(s) and/or dialect(s).
Research cultural norms and make changes accordingly
Ecommerce sites that sell to different regions need to consider numerous cultural aspects, such as seasonal trends, societal norms, and holidays. For example, the color purple is associated with aristocracy, royalty, and riches in many parts of the world. However, in Brazil and Thailand, purple is associated with somber occasions and periods of mourning. Your product offerings and item descriptions may need to be customized according to these kinds of nuances.
Guarantee Quality Control and Legal Compliance
Policies concerning labeling, licensing, and merchandising all vary between countries. For example, many regions have different labeling formats and information requirements for ingredients, country of origin, and health warnings. Sellers (especially those with large item catalogs) may require sophisticated product information management systems to assist them with making and tracking changes for regulatory compliance quickly across numerous markets.