How Online Retailers Can Improve Their Shipping Operation
If you’re running an online retail business, shipping should be one of your biggest concerns. When you’re competing like Amazon that is offering same day delivery in some places, it’s important that you’re getting products out fast. Consumers have very high expectations and if you take more than a few days to get products out to your customers, they’re just going to go elsewhere. You aren’t going to be able to compete with the big companies because you simply don’t have the resources, which is fine. However, you will need to offer a good shipping service if you’re ever going to make your online retail business a success.
If you find that you’re struggling to get repeat customers, it may be because the first order didn’t arrive very quickly and they weren’t impressed so they’re not going to use you again. That’s a big problem for you because repeat customers are the backbone of any business. What you need to do is find ways to streamline your shipping process and get products out faster. Here’s how you can do that.
Limit Your Delivery Area
When you’re first starting out and you don’t have much money to spend, it’s important that you recognize your limitations and limit your delivery area. For example, you shouldn’t start selling products abroad at this point because you’re just taking on extra work that you can’t really handle yet. Stick to domestic sales from now on and make sure that you’re getting products out to people in your own country on time before you start looking at selling products abroad. It’s important that you build the business up slowly and don’t try to sell globally right away.
Streamline Delivery Routes
If your delivery drivers are taking inefficient routes, you’re not making as many deliveries as you could be in a day and that means some customers are waiting an extra day when they shouldn’t have to. That’s why it’s important that you streamline your delivery routes. You should fit all of your vehicles with fleet dash cameras that have GPS function so you can track all of the routes and see whether there are ways that they could cut time on deliveries and get out to more customers in a day. There is also route planning software available which will help you to create the most efficient route, especially when you start to grow and you have a lot of deliveries to manage. It’s tough to plan all of those routes manually so some software can be a big help.
Open A Second Shipping Location
If all of your deliveries are coming out of one location, you may be wasting a lot of time. Opening a second shipping location is expensive but if you’re seeing some growth and you’re looking to reinvest in the business, this is a good way to do it. If you have multiple shipping locations around the country, you’ll be closer to your customers and deliveries will get out quicker.
Improve Warehouse Systems
Often, it’s not the delivery drivers that are the problem. Things are slow because the packing in the warehouse is slow and drivers are waiting a long time for the items to be picked and loaded up before they can head out on their delivery routes. If your warehouse systems are inefficient, you may also have trouble with mistakes and that’s going to cost you. You’ll have to pay for the correct item to be delivered again which means you’re wasting money and the customer is also unhappy and unlikely to use you again in the future.
If you don’t have a barcode system in the warehouse and everything is being picked using paper lists, you need to update things. A barcode system means that they can immediately find the location of any item that needs to be picked and collect it a lot quicker. You also need to have good communication with your warehouse staff so they can inform you of anything that is slowing them down and you can rectify it.
If you’ve tried all of these things but you still can’t get products out in a timely manner, it might just be that you don’t have the financial resources to run your shipping operation effectively. In that case, your best option is probably to outsource your shipping operation to an outside company instead. They will have all of the necessary infrastructure in place to get products out quickly and it will be cheaper overall for you as well.
If you can’t manage your shipping operation well, your online retail store is really going to struggle to retain customers so make sure that you do these things to streamline it.