The Ultimate Guide to Choose the Best Ecommerce Shipping Solutions

shipsy

Created on September 19, 2022

During the last decade, e-commerce has witnessed an unprecedented surge in online purchases, including cross-border purchases. Stats report that the eCommerce share of total global retail sales will be 24.5% by 2025 and hit the USD 7.4 trillion mark

The rise of super-fast deliveries in the form of next-day and same-day delivery, or even 4-hour apparel delivery, are major accelerators of e-commerce growth. Brands are heavily implementing eCommerce shipping solutions to overcome their challenges, streamline operations and increase their profit margins.

A robust delivery experience can prove to be a strong point of differentiation for your enterprise. Factors like SLAs, fluctuating market demands, and a positive consumer experience become vital for your overall brand positioning. In terms of operational execution and price strategy, you must be ready to move forward. With various eCommerce disruptions like same-day deliveries, customer satisfaction, and returns, there is a huge pressure on brands to implement efficient and intelligent platforms for attaining operational excellence. 

So, let’s dive into the details and explore the meaning, challenges, and factors to be considered before investing in an eCommerce shipping solution for your enterprise.

What is an eCommerce Shipping Solution? 

An eCommerce shipping solution automates shipping processes and operations for eCommerce and helps retailers in managing order fulfillment, shipping operations, logistics, etc. An efficient and smart eCommerce shipping solution helps in scaling operations, makes order fulfillment simpler, and orchestrates faster and more deliveries in a cost-effective manner.

eCommerce shipping involves receiving and processing orders, followed by packaging at a warehouse, generating shipping labels, and even managing returned items. 

With the right eCommerce shipping platform, you can streamline your logistics processes for hassle-free pick-up, quicker deliveries, and excellent customer service.

With streamlined communication and collaboration across all the parties involved, brands can take their hands off the manual management and transaction management aspects and focus on more valuable business activities. They can digitize the billings and documentation and automate order allocation & tracking, and optimize vehicle and asset use as well.

Why Do You Need eCommerce Shipping Solutions?

The events of the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns resulted in a rise in digital penetration across the globe. eCommerce shipping solutions became a necessity for brands, both big and small, to maintain the uninterrupted flow of delivery operations. 

Here is a list of points that illustrates the need for such intelligent eCommerce logistics solutions:

  • Keeping track of cash payments and remittances for large volume orders.
  • Safe shipping of products with adequate insurance cover and minimizing chances of damage or loss in transit. 
  • Catering to fast delivery demands during rush hours to prevent loss of customers. 
  • Ensuring an effective and reliable reverse logistics system for non-deliveries and returns of products.

Further, 55% of customers prefer to buy items directly from brands without intermediaries. For direct-to-consumer brands that are rapidly expanding, a suitable eCommerce shipping solution partner will assist them in order fulfillment and developing a responsive supply chain strategy to keep pace with increasing order volumes. 

Challenges in eCommerce Shipping and Fulfillment

High Shipping Costs

For the retail sector, the cost of shipping is a major issue. Whether you are shipping many or a few items, you will have to bear the same logistics costs. Many businesses face the dilemma of whether to keep the logistics costs in check or provide super-fast deliveries. Rising TCOs (total cost of ownership) due to fuel costs, vehicle maintenance, free shipping, return deliveries, etc., can severely impact your profit margins. 

Customers naturally desire to pay less for shipping, but it’s equally crucial to cover up the charges. Even worse, if there is no way to reduce such costs, the burden is often passed onto the customers.

Real-Time Tracking and Reporting of Key Milestone Events

Customers want to be aware of every important milestone throughout the delivery process. Once they place an order, notifications and updates regarding dispatching and ETA need to be sent at regular intervals. 

In case they are able to track their orders in real-time this negatively impacts the buyer experience. Further, all these expectations have become an industry norm, leaving brands grappling with multiple software solutions for delivering extended functionalities.

Multiple 3PL Providers Leading to Complexities

Third-party logistics providers can offer effective transportation, distribution, and delivery solutions for eCommerce businesses. However, managing multiple 3PLs comes with an additional burden on them, as they have to keep a track of all the communications, contracts, emails, tracking, etc. 

This manual management of multiple 3PLs and transportation providers can not only affect the overall work efficiency but also reduces productivity and affects the customer experience. Tracking a single shipment in response to a customer query, when you are shipping millions of parcels every month, and that too just for a status update becomes challenging as you scale. 

Cross-Border Shipping 

Cross-border shipping for eCommerce parcels comes with multiple cost overheads, such as high packaging costs, high transportation costs, complex logistics processes, high insurance costs, customs navigation, and location disadvantages leading to delayed deliveries and many other issues. 

Lacking the right automation and digital expertise to overcome all these challenges and reduce these costs can certainly harm eCommerce businesses in multiple ways. Further, manual management means an entire lack of real-time shipment tracking and status monitoring that can affect the delivery SLAs and lead to incidental costs such as demurrage.

Proof of Delivery and NDR Management

Collecting and managing the proofs of delivery (PoD) and the non-delivery reasons (NDR) for each shipment is impossible manually. Also, given the rise in customer expectations, customer feedback, collecting the actual reason for non-delivery and confirming it with the customers, tracking the driver performance, and ensuring deliveries in the first attempt has become extremely important.

Without any scalable automation, this becomes a mammoth task that just cannot be done. 

High Returns and Losses in Transit

Although returns are unavoidable, no online business wants to see a large number of them. For a variety of reasons, including those unrelated to the product’s quality, customers may be unsatisfied. 

These returns also add to the fuel and vehicle costs, apart from the loss of business as most of the time the customer never shops for replacements. To reduce these returns and manage them successfully in the future, you should monitor them.

Moreover, businesses need to ensure that the ordered items are not damaged during transit. Careful packaging has to be done to ensure ordered goods are not subjected to damage while transporting.

Operational Efficiency and Transparency

Customers always look for services that are reliable. If the product is to be delivered by a fixed date, they expect that it will be in due time. However, unexpected circumstances, delays, and disruptions can hamper the delivery schedule without prior notice. 

In such circumstances, it is crucial to inform customers and keep them in the loop regarding any unexpected delays. Moreover, customers need to be provided with the option to choose a delivery time of their preference (morning, noon, or evening).

Order Management

Order management is the process of receiving orders and fulfilling them, which can also pose a challenge, specifically when large orders are involved.

From placing orders, ensuring reported inventories, and packing to shipping, there are various moving parts in the warehouse. An order management system that is not integrated with other operations coupled with a lack of proper analytics and disorganized orders can only elevate this challenge. 

Customer Service and Quality Maintenance

90% of customers believe service is the most important driver of their shopping decisions. Businesses need to provide adequate assistance to customers in case any discrepancies occur. 

A compromise in product quality due to damage in transit can strongly impact the image of the eCommerce brand, which gradually decreases brand values and reduces profit margins. Customers should be notified in advance whenever an order is arriving so that they are prepared to receive it and increase delivery success rates. 

How to Overcome Shipping Challenges With Smart eCommerce Shipping Solutions?

Whether it is a B2B or B2C transaction, eCommerce providers are bound to encounter shipping inconveniences. The success of these businesses rests highly on solving key logistics pain points. 

Next, we explore how having a smart, scalable, and flexible SaaS-based eCommerce shipping management system helps overcome all these challenges.

Tracking Orders on a Real-time Basis

eCommerce delivery management software enables companies to share the real-time location of orders in transit for ETA accuracy and greater transparency. By keeping track of the package condition and status, businesses are able to handle any unexpected issues with greater efficiency.

Return Order Management

Coupling returns with deliveries and managing warehousing of returns in a smart and data-driven manner can help businesses overcome additional logistics costs. Using smart eCommerce shipping solutions, they can plan all the delivery and pick-up tasks in the most cost-efficient and optimized manner.

Minimizing the vehicle costs by optimizing the capacity utilization and stringent control over the on-road activities can make a huge difference to the overall operational costs for total loss activities, such as returns and cancellations.

Mitigating Shipment Delays

Shipment delays can play a major role in breaking or making sales. eCommerce delivery platforms streamline the process by automating the menial tasks. As manual intervention gets eliminated, every task gets carried out within the stipulated time frame. eCommerce shipping software also provides the best-optimized routes for drivers and prevents the wastage of time and fuel at the same time. 

The deliveries are planned such that the delivery priorities, such as same-day or half-hour deliveries are not breached. All the customers get dynamic ETAs to ensure that they are available to collect the shipment and also stay engaged till the delivery is done.

Auto Allocation of Tasks and Deliveries

eCommerce shipping solutions allocate deliveries and tasks to riders based on various factors such as location, rider history, traffic, etc. In case of multiple deliveries within the same route, auto-scheduling enables delivery executives to maintain an uninterrupted flow of deliveries. 

Moreover, the solution also provides optimized routes and re-routes in real-time in case of unforeseen circumstances like a sudden surge of traffic or weather conditions. 

Proof of Delivery

After the order is delivered, customers instantly receive an electronic receipt for the order. The electronic bill acts as proof of delivery for the customer as well as the delivery executive to prevent any miscommunications. 

Buyers can view the order receipt online or download it in a PDF format. eCommerce shipping solutions come with many other ways for PoD capture, such as OTP sharing to mark the delivery complete, arresting the delivery professionals’ geo-location to the delivery address, etc.

How to Choose the Best eCommerce Shipping Solutions

Before investing in an eCommerce shipping solution, businesses must take into account both the operational and customer pain points they want to resolve.

Below is a list of factors that you must consider before choosing the ideal eCommerce shipping platform:

Feature Suite

Opt for an eCommerce shipping solution that comes with multiple features and functionalities to offer you an integrated approach toward management, monitoring, tracking, and controlling all the operations.

Check whether you are able to collaborate and communicate with multiple stakeholders and parties via a single window or not. Ensure that your in-house engineering requirements stay low. Always opt for solutions that are easily scalable, flexible, and come with custom functionalities.

Pricing

Based on long-term business objectives, eCommerce businesses need to keep their costs in check. Festive seasons or seasonal sales attract more customers than usual. Moreover, there are rush hours during the day with a huge flow of incoming orders. 

Check whether the eCommerce shipping solution provides customized pricing options as per the business goals and demand, which match order volume without hampering the TCO. 

Label Generation 

Automating label generation is one key benefit that helps save a lot of time, effort, and money in multiple ways. eCommerce businesses can avoid internal design costs and generate multiple labels for multiple consignments at a rapid rate without having to worry about the accuracy via automatic label generation feature.

Such advanced features reduce the time spent in getting an order ready for dispatch and also reduce the reliance on manual elements.

Delivery Services 

Earlier the customers were patient and would normally anticipate deliveries in 2 to 5 days.

However, this time limit has been getting shorter with passing time, especially given the emergence of quick delivery models. 

Deliveries of goods like groceries, prescription medications, or other essentials are now happening in less than 30 minutes as well. Offering same-day or next-day delivery to your clients can also significantly improve a company’s prospects. 

A robust shipping platform auto allocates riders, presents the best-optimized route, and re-routes instantly in case of unforeseen circumstances to maintain first-attempt delivery success rates. 

Payment Modes & Cash Reconciliation

Multiple modes of payment and delivery alternatives have now become fundamental to delightful customer experiences. While digital money is gaining rapid adoption, Cash on Delivery still stays a consumer favorite, especially in Tier 2 and Tier 3 places.

Let’s say that Cash on Delivery is not an option on your eCommerce website. When a customer realizes there isn’t a COD option at checkout and is not very comfortable with the idea of online shopping, there is a high chance the customer will not complete the purchase. However, with the inflow of cash, it is also important to manage the cash reconciliation in a smart manner. This is where eCommerce shipping solutions with smart functionalities prove useful. 

Real-time Tracking

Customers always prefer to know all details about the whereabouts of their purchases. By partnering up with eCommerce shipping platforms, businesses can offer their customers live order tracking and updates on a real-time basis. 

They can also share real-time information about the order delivery, such as being ready with a particular amount of cash, or the delivery will be made today, please be available at the address.

Dynamic Functionalities

Businesses need to look out for a shipping solution that provides a variety of order fulfillment options, even if it does so by tying up with a third party. Whether it’s dropshipping or third-party logistics, having a partner that does the heavy lifting is crucial. 

A robust software gives you control over the shipping process in addition to syncing your online store and offering fulfillment alternatives. 

While eCommerce shipping solutions help reduce customer churn, operational costs, and reliance on manual elements, working with standalone solutions for a specific task comes with added integration challenges. 

Hence, we recommend opting for an end-to-end eCommerce shipping solution that comes with diverse functionalities, such as Shipsy, which comes with a custom configuration for specific business use cases.

How Shipsy’s Smart eCommerce Shipping Software Can Help

Shipy’s AI-enabled shipping platform seamlessly integrates with your enterprise system and streamlines your overall shipping operations. You can get access to real-time insights and drag-and-drop features combined with rich integration and keep your customers informed with the real-time status of their orders, down to all the key milestone events.

Shipsy is a low-code, agile and AI-enabled solution that helps:

  • Reduce customer complaints by 28% via accurate ETAs and improved delivery transparency
  • Increase on-time dispatch by 28%
  • Reduce last mile delivery costs by 23%
  • Reduce customer onboarding time by 45%

For more information, or to get in touch with our experts, please request a custom demo today! 

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