As e-commerce sales continue to rise — and more companies clamor to join the ever-growing online market — it’s crucial to find ways for your business to develop a competitive edge. Many e-commerce businesses overlook their shipping strategy when considering ways to improve their processes, but a positive shipping experience can help differentiate your business from other competitors in the industry.
With large companies like Amazon dominating the e-commerce market, many consumers have grown accustomed to fast and competitive shipping. As a result, smaller e-commerce businesses have to scramble to keep up with these expectations — sometimes at the detriment of their own profit margins. Luckily, by optimizing your UPS shipping strategy, you can offer your customers exceptional value at rates that still benefit your business.
Gain a competitive edge while increasing client satisfaction (and retention!) with these UPS shipping tips for e-commerce businesses:
- Consider your customers
When determining how to improve customer satisfaction and get a leg up on the competition, it’s important to make sure you understand your customers and their unique needs. When it comes to delivering their online purchases, what do your customers care most about: the fastest option or the lowest price? Knowing what your customers care most about will help you better identify where you can optimize your UPS shipping strategy.
- Offer “free” shipping
According to a 2019 survey of online shoppers, 50% of respondents said they avoid retailers that do not offer free delivery. However, many small businesses cannot afford to offer the same discounted shipping rates as larger companies like Amazon. In fact, while Amazon technically offers “free” shipping for Prime customers, members pay a subscription fee to subsidize these shipping prices — and even with these subscription fees, Amazon reportedly lost $7.2 billion in 2016 due to Prime shipping. Instead of sacrificing profit to offer free shipping, consider using free shipping as an added incentive. According to the same 2019 survey, 84% of respondents admitted to adding items to their cart in order to qualify for free shipping. By meeting a specific monetary threshold in order to qualify for free shipping, your customers can enjoy this added benefit while your e-commerce sales increase in the process.
- Embrace hassle-free returns
Many e-commerce businesses overlook the importance of having a hassle-free returns process. While it may be a hard pill to swallow, online shoppers have come to expect these “no questions asked” return policies from e-commerce businesses — and will become more loyal customers because of it. In fact, according to a 2018 consumer report, 96% of consumers say they would shop with a retailer again based on an “easy” or “very easy” return experience. While a “no questions asked” return policy may seem like a costly option for smaller businesses, a convenient return experience will ultimately promote customer loyalty — especially if your competitors don’t offer this same great benefit. To extend this value even further, consider including return labels with each of your shipments. This will make it easier for your customers to send back returns when needed. Unishippers customers can easily create return labels when preparing their UPS shipments with our ShipStation integration.
- Plan ahead for peak shipping season
Many e-commerce businesses see a spike in online sales as the holiday season approaches. No matter when your peak season may be, it’s important to plan for it ahead of time in order to avoid any potential complications that could negatively impact your customers’ experience. If your busy period is during the holiday shopping season, remember that UPS shipping rates and delivery times may increase during periods of high demand. Read Unishippers’ holiday shipping checklist to learn how to prepare your shipping for the holiday shopping rush.
As the e-commerce industry continues to evolve, Unishippers is here to support your business and help optimize your UPS shipping. Contact us to learn how we can improve your customers’ shipping experience — and give you a leg up on the competition in the process.
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