Best Carrier Management Practices for online Retailers.
And why its so essential.
Running an eCommerce store is a very tricky task indeed — and one of the roughest elements is handling the shipping process. There’s a lot that can go wrong as you attempt to get your products to your customers, and when things do go wrong (as they likely will, at least on occasion), you’ll lose money, spend time dealing with them and end up with unhappy buyers.
That’s where carrier management becomes so important as the practice of dealing with various carriers to ensure that every customer gets the best possible service is fully deserving of your investment if you’re running an online store. Heres some simple tips to ensure your carrier management supercharges your business:
Seek detailed feedback from customers.
It isn’t the delivery itself that you should care about, but how satisfied it leaves your customer, and how likely they are to buy from you again. You can’t know what your customers make of your carriers and your shipping options if you don’t ask them.
There are plenty of options for buying online, so if one retailer doesn’t offer what a prospective buyer is looking for, they can easily go to another one. Make a habit of reaching out on a regular basis: head to social media to seek brand mentions, and incentivise customer survey responses.
Carefully investigate carrier strengths.
How many carriers do you work with? How many options do they offer? You’ll find that any given carrier will have various things to set it apart. Perhaps it’s excellent with next-day deliveries, or it offers support with import tax and customs fees or can offer collection from various distribution centres. The point is that you should know everything about the carriers before you commit to using them for particular types of delivery.
Pay attention to public sentiment as well. It only takes one high-profile case of disastrous shipping to tarnish the perception of a carrier, and if such a carrier happens to play a prominent role in your delivery process, you’ll need to engage in damage control.
Use a comprehensive software solution.
Innovative software is key. Manual carrier management can be arduous and time-consuming. A medium-sized retail business could have hundreds of products, tens of carriers, and a variety of delivery types. Factor in specialised requests, returns, and alternative arrangements, and you have a recipe for confusion.
That’s where something like Scurri becomes so valuable. Capable of integrating with numerous carriers throughout the world, producing customs documents, automating complex shipping rules, it can save you a lot of time, money, and effort.
Additionally, it’s vital to have an excellent and configurable ecommerce CMS backing you up. Which one you pick will depend on your level of ambition and what you look for in a system:
- If you’re looking to keep costs down, it’s super simple to extend the functionality of your WordPress website with the WooCommerce plugin, which means you can put the money towards other things.
- If you like having ultimate control over your system, try a highly-configurable choice like Magento (either cloud-hosted or self-hosted).
Maintain clear lines of communication.
Customers need to know what to expect with their deliveries, so its vital that companies communicate clearly and effectively throughout the order and shipping process. That means explaining your delivery process in detail, providing tracking information, having readily available FAQs and being easily contactable so people know they can reach you when they need to.
Carrier management is a vital part of a growing retail business, and should not be overlooked. If you can learn from customer feedback, then stay easy to contact, choose only the best carriers to work with, and use sophisticated software to streamline and lighten the workload, you’ll achieve much better results (and even be able to somewhat relax!).
Sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay tuned to the latest trends in ecommerce.