E-Commerce Shipping Tips
Operating a business can be hard, especially when the interactions that you have with customers are all digital. Providing positive customer service experiences in an e-commerce world involves a focus on the way that you interact with your customers from the moment they engage with you until they receive their items in the mail. Unfortunately, there are only so many factors that you can control when it comes to e-commerce mailing. Regardless of how much e-commerce mailing experience you have, it's essential to have a plan in place on how you can make the most of your mailing options.
E-Commerce Mailing Best Practices
Before you send off your first round of wholesale mailers, it's essential to educate yourself about wholesale shipping and the variety of e-commerce mailing options available to your business. There are a few essential items to address that will lay the foundation for how you conduct your e-commerce mailing. Although you can modify these later, it's essential to have a set strategy in place from the beginning to ensure consistency in your mailing options.
- Decide on your shipping rates
- Select the type of wholesale shipping materials you want to use
- Purchase wholesale mailers and other mailing options
Shipping Rates for E-Commerce Mailing
Deciding if and how you will charge customers for shipping their items in your wholesale mailers is one of the first steps when creating an e-commerce mailing plan. You don't want to over- or under-charge for e-commerce mailing, and finding the correct balance can seem like a struggle at times. Although there are several options to choose from, you should ensure that your financial wellbeing is your priority.
Should I Offer Free Shipping?
When it comes to wholesale shipping, there is no such thing as free. In the end, someone always pays. However, offering free shipping is one of the best ways to reduce the number of abandoned carts by shoppers. If offering free shipping is your goal, there are a few ways to accomplish this. Here are ways to create a price structure to offer free shipping.
- Increase the price you charge per item to cover shipping. Although you're offering free shipping to your customers, they are still technically paying for the cost of their e-commerce mailing through the increase in the price of the product they are purchasing.
- Reduce your profit margins to cover the cost of shipping yourself. If you are financially able to do so, this is a way to treat customers to cost savings.
- Split the cost of wholesale shipping between yourself and the customer by increasing the price you charge per item by a smaller margin. If you don't want the customer to pay the entire cost of shipping and you don't want to cover the full cost through your margins, this is a good compromise.
- Offer a coupon code for free shipping during specific promotions, as part of a loyalty program, or on special occasions. Free shipping codes allow you to control the amount you are paying for e-commerce mailing and is an excellent option to see the actual cost of mailing a variety of items.
- Provide free shipping if the customer purchases a certain amount of product — for example, free shipping with $50 minimum purchase.
Real-Time Wholesale Shipping
Another mailing option for wholesale shipping is to offer customers the ability to pay the cost of shipping in real-time. Carriers such as USPS and FedEx offer the ability to generate the cost of shipping at the moment of purchase. If you have customers that may want to upgrade their shipping options, allowing them to select a choice based on real-time information is a great option.
Flat Rate Wholesale Shipping
Flat rate is an excellent option for many businesses. However, there are certain precautions that you must take to ensure it works correctly. Flat rate wholesale shipping works best when your company ships items that are relatively the same size and weight. If you have shipments that are different sizes, such as mailing a t-shirt versus a chair, flat rate wholesale shipping doesn't work as well because of the price discrepancy.
How to Calculate Your Shipping Cost
Wholesale shipping costs are one of the most important things to consider when operating a business that relies on e-commerce mailing. Although there are a variety of conditions that can impact the cost of your mailing options, there are four things that couriers use to calculate the cost of transporting your package to its destination.
- The size of your poly mailer or other containers
- The overall weight of the package
- Where your wholesale mailer is shipping from
- Where your wholesale mailer is delivering to
Companies such as the United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx, and UPS offer convenient online calculators that customers can use to estimate the cost of wholesale shipping. In addition to the size, weight, and destinations of your package, the time of year can impact the cost of your mailing options as well. When calculating each e-commerce mailing shipment, it works best to do your calculations as close to the date of shipment as possible to obtain the most accurate results. Below are links to each calculator:
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to compare services with one another directly. Each business features a variety of options for insurance and tracking, as well as other variables that will impact the overall cost of your mailing options. If you are using a platform such as Shopify, there are also additional discounts that your business can receive.
Wholesale Shipping Materials
When you work with e-commerce mailing, the first real experience your customers have with you is when they receive their first shipment. It's essential to create the best experience possible for your customers, which means examining the way you utilize wholesale mailers. Wholesale mailers are a cost-efficient option for e-commerce mailing because they are lightweight, durable, and your company can easily brand them with your logo or other designs.
One of the most common types of wholesale mailers are poly mailers. Although you may not recognize the name, there's no doubt that you've seen a poly mailer before. Poly mailers are a type of shipping envelope made from polyethylene film. Many businesses choose to use poly mailer envelopes for wholesale shipping for a variety of reasons:
- Poly mailer envelopes are incredibly lightweight. When companies calculate the weight of your shipment, they include the weight of the packaging. Selecting a lightweight material reduces the overall wholesale shipping cost.
- Polyethylene, the construction material for poly mailer envelopes, repels water, dust, dirt, and debris that can damage the package's contents. Poly mailer envelopes also resist punctures and tears that your package may encounter along its wholesale shipping route.
- Poly mailer envelopes are customizable. If you're looking for an affordable way to make your shipment memorable, wholesale mailers such as poly mailer envelopes are a great choice because they stand out the moment your customer sees them.
- Many poly mailer envelopes feature a self-adhesive strip closure. This feature makes the poly mailer envelopes resistant to tampering, as well as removes the added cost of purchasing tape to close your package.
- Poly mailer envelopes come in a variety of sizes and styles. You can dress up your poly mailer envelope, or you can go with something standard. Several poly mailer envelopes also offer bubble wrap on the inside for additional protection.
Branding Your Business
Although a great perk of using wholesale mailers is the ability to provide your customer with a branded poly mailer that reflects your business, there is something to be said for other ways that marketing meshes with your mailing options. Companies like Ipsy and Billie utilize different poly mailer options to attract attention to their shipments without a ton of hard work by the brand itself.
Ipsy, a brand that supplies subscribers around the world with a monthly personalized selection of beauty products, utilizes bright pink poly mailer envelopes to ship their Glam Bags. In comparison to other mailing options, these wholesale mailers are a lively and fun distraction from the bills and boring adult stuff piling up in your mailbox each month. The choice of Ipsy to use a bright poly mailer envelope helps attract attention, not only from the customer receiving the shipment, but also from postal workers, neighbors, and friends of the customer who may notice the poly mailer.
Another brand that is killing the wholesale mailers game is body brand, Billie. Customers know Billie for its pastel razors, "Pink Tax not included," according to its website. While the brand may be easy to recognize by its products, it chose the most modest wholesale mailers possible for a brilliant mashup of e-commerce mailing and advertising. Rather than using festive poly mailer envelopes, Billie uses a clear poly mailer to ship its products. The clear poly mailer showcases the design of the contents of each package. Clear poly mailers also cut down on the cost of double branding on packaging as well as provides a peek at what's inside.
Add-On Mailing Options
In addition to the cost of wholesale shipping and the price of your wholesale mailers, businesses should also weigh the pros and cons of two other mailer options: adding insurance and tracking to their wholesale mailers. Insurance helps cover items that may arrive with damage or become lost during transit. The cost of coverage is typically minimal, and some companies even offer a small amount of complimentary insurance with certain shipping services.
Tracking is another mailing option businesses can select that can be beneficial. If you are shipping items that are one of a kind or if you want additional assurance that your wholesale mailers arrive at their destinations, adding tracking is a smart choice. As with insurance, many companies offer complimentary tracking with specific mailing options.
Mailing Options for Shipping Between Countries
If your company plans on offering wholesale shipping to a different country than where you're located, you will need to consider the additional fees your customer may incur. Adding information to your website detailing your shipping policies can help provide customers with vital information to avoid surprising them with any fees they may not be expecting.
In addition to fees, wholesale shipping to other counties requires declaration forms for customs. Declaration forms inform the country what is inside your wholesale mailers, how much the item costs, and if you're mailing a gift or a purchase. You must complete each form honestly and thoroughly to prevent customs from delaying or rejecting your e-commerce mailing. Visit each courier website below for additional information:
- UPS Export Documentation
- United States Postal Service Customs
- DHL Customs Services and Support
- Australia Post Customs Forms and Regulations
- Canada Post Customs Requirements
- Royal Mail Personal Customers Help Center
E-Commerce Mailing with a Fulfillment Program
Another option to consider for wholesale shipping is by utilizing a fulfillment warehouse. Sites such as Amazon allow companies to sell on its platform through its Fulfillment by Amazon program. As with other mailing options, there are several pros and cons when deciding if a fulfillment program is right for your business.
Although these programs make e-commerce mailing easier in some situations, there are also fees you will need to consider. If you want to customize your wholesale mailers, you may have trouble finding a fulfillment solution that packages your items the same way you would. On the other hand, if saving time is your goal, outsourcing your e-commerce mailing is a smart solution!
Deciding on Your Best Mailing Options
Ultimately, the only person who can determine what the best mailing options are for your business is you. You should weigh the pros and cons of the price you want to charge for wholesale shipping, the type and style of wholesale mailers you wish to purchase, if any additional mailing options are right for you, and if you want to use a fulfillment service.
The decisions surrounding e-commerce mailing can be some of the more challenging you'll encounter. Finding the best mailing options that work for you will take time, patience, and probably trial and error. We always recommend making sure you have a shipping policy on your site. In addition to shopping for wholesale mailers and other shipping supplies, Shop4Mailers has a blog of resources to help you tackle your mailing options like a pro!