E-commerce; the shipping whens and hows.

The thumbnail version:

  • Shipping is an essential aspect of e-commerce
  • Customers generally have unrealistic delivery expectations

The full version:

FedEx recently hosted a webinar for the benefit of small business. One of the ten topics dealt with shipping. This is not surprising because, as you’d expect of an organization that moves 16 million packages a day (air and ground services combined), they’d know a few things about shipping.

First of all, you must develop your shipping and return policy and state it clearly on your website. Then you need to cater to the typically impatient customers who always seem to have unrealistic delivery expectations. Be clear when the order is expected to ship, when it will likely be delivered, and what it will cost. Allowing them to trace the shipment is a big added-value item. And then, having committed in this way, make sure your shop meets the customer’s expectations.

Something important that was not mentioned in the webinar but should have been, is attention to how you package your shipments. We can’t all go to the extent required to match, say, Apple’s legendary packaging, but we can make an effort to pack effectively, in a box that gives a good impression, and perhaps toss in a surprise such as a bag of cookies, candy, or even a chocolate bar. You’d be surprised how inexpensive it is to make a favourable impression.

And why should you do all this? Because if you don’t, your competitors will get the sign order next time.