Monday, December 3, 2012

How important is shipping to an online retailer?

Getting orders delivered is the last, but perhaps most important step in the online retail process. As an online seller, a whole lot has to go right just to get to the point of shipping the product. So there is a lot riding on the performance of your shipping company – whether you choose USPS, FedEx, UPS, or DHL.

The customer has to find your site – think of all the effort of building a site that converts, and not to mention a lot of SEO and PPC costs.

You have to have a product the customer wants to buy – and it has to be in inventory.

The right products need to be put in the right box by your fulfillment operation – and we all know that doesn’t always happen

…and the shipping company needs to get it delivered on-time.

The first three steps are easiest to manage, because they are most under your control. But once the package is handed off to the carrier all control is lost. If you are shipping dozens, hundreds, or thousands of shipments then it can be impossible to know about problems until the customer tells you about them. To really control the customer experience and be proactive managing problems that can come up during step 4 – you need a tool to give you real time delivery visibility into what is going on with your deliveries.