Starting an eCommerce business gives you the opportunity to sell what you love for a living. The fast pace of eCommerce growth also allows for high profitability when you leverage useful products for interested buyers.
Once your products are listed and sales are coming in, you may be tempted to sit back and let your business run itself. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap--details only grow more important the larger your business becomes.
eCommerce shipping is one such need that should be handled attentively. Getting products to customers quickly and effortlessly may seem like a type of work that never ends. Thankfully, it doesn’t need to be as long as you have the right systems in place.
Keep reading to learn all about eCommerce shipping companies, how to pick one, and our recommendations on the best shipping businesses.
Shipping Partners for eCommerce: eCommerce Shipping Options
Including a valuable shipping partner in your eCommerce business plan is a crossroads moment. It can be the catalyst for creating raving customers or a significant roadblock keeping you from the momentum and sales you crave.
Choosing a great company means speedy turnarounds, excellent customer service, and clear communication. Picking the wrong partner could mean delayed shipments, poor communication, and frequent returns (see what is RMA).
Take your time when researching shipping companies and methods. This ensures you benefit from services that are optimally designed for your type of business.
For example, entrepreneurs learning how to sell food online or how to ship cookies need different shipping methods than businesses selling computer accessories. BlueCart eCommerce comes with built-in shipping integrations so that shipping costs are automatically calculated. This makes knowing how to print shipping labels from home or your office easier than ever.
There are numerous eCommerce shipping methods available today. Here are three of the more popular ones:
- Dropshipping (see what is drop shipping). Dropshipping is one of many types of eCommerce businesses where the seller never touches or stocks the goods they sell. Products are shipped only after sales are made, eliminating the need for inventory tracking or merchandise inventory. This shipping model works well for reselling, print-on-demand, or business owners who otherwise don’t want to be responsible for inventory management.
- Custom subscription boxes. Subscription box companies sell an individual or grouping of products on a recurring basis for a monthly fee. This is profitable because once you generate a new customer, you often have them for at least a few months. There’s a constant need for fresh eCommerce packaging with subscription boxes, especially as your business grows. Just make sure you know how to measure a box for shipping so you don't waste resources.
- Bulk shipping. In bulk shipping, mass quantities of goods are loaded into shipping containers without packaging to maximize storage space. This type of shipping is particularly suitable for unfinished goods like grains, product parts, and other types of raw materials inventory.
There is no “right or wrong” type of shipping, per se; just what works for your business model. Ask a company as many questions as you need to determine whether or not their services and systems work for you.
What to Look For in a Shipping Company
It’s simpler to decide on a shipping company when you know what to look for. Here are the features and benefits your shipping partner should provide:
- Fast response times. Speed is the name of the game with shipping--especially if you're learning how to ship food, for example. If your shipping partner takes longer than a day or two to respond, it’s a sign of trouble. Your brand’s reputation and profitability will quickly suffer if you can’t rely on the company moving your products. Give your money to a provider that treats you like a priority.
- Simple shipping choices. You shouldn't need to sift through dozens of shipping options simply to get your products to customers. Your shipping partner should have plug-and-play options as soon as you become a paying customer, whether you're learning how to ship large items, how to ship frozen food, or how to ship a package for the first time. This frees you up to focus on more important tasks, like branding, sales, and marketing.
- Integration compatibility. Your shipping partner’s software should be immediately compatible with your in-house systems. If this ease of use isn’t prevalent, it may create avoidable issues later on. Make sure you feel entirely comfortable using the software and that all your questions are answered before onboarding. Tech problems are often expensive and time-consuming to resolve, and can be prevented with preliminary action.
- Affordable rates. You should choose a shipping company with fees proportional to the current revenue of your business. The bells and whistles of enterprise-level software may look marvelous, but this comes with a hefty price tag. Ask the company to share their best rate with you and make a decision according to what you can afford.
- Optional add-ons. Does your business need occasional packing and handling help (value-added services), or discounted rates for seasonal surges? Quality shipping companies provide on-demand and flexible services. It’s better to pay a little more for relevant services than financially cut corners and hope everything works out. If you're selling coffee online, learning how to sell baked goods online, or offer another unique product, it's worth looking into what the shipping companies can do to ensure proper storage and delivery. You'll also want them to insert a branded packing slip in each package.
- Scalability. Last but never least, your shipping partner should be flexible for upward mobility in your business. It’s far easier to stick with the same company and integrations through increased sales than to jump ship (pun intended). Conduct an inventory forecasting analysis to see where your business is headed and go with a shipping company that can match your needs.
Best Shipping Company for eCommerce
As an eCommerce business owner, you don’t need us to tell you the importance of customer satisfaction through order fulfillment (see order fulfillment meaning). Reliable, fast, and customizable shipping are all deciding factors in the minds of modern consumers. If your packages aren’t shipped out on time or have too many middlemen, this negatively impacts your brand.
You need a shipping service that understands the importance of their role and delivers maximum value for the cost you pay each month. More than two thirds of customers say they won’t shop with a company in the future if the business has failed to deliver an order within two days of the estimated delivery date.
The needs of your business will guide the type of shipping company you select. If your business is young, you likely won’t need enterprise-level operations (see ERP meaning). If your company has been around for a few years and is experiencing more growth, your third-party logistics (3PL; see what is 3PL) may need to scale alongside it.
Here are some of the best shipping companies for eCommerce businesses:
- Shippo (BlueCart partner)
- UPS (United Parcel Service)
- DHL (Dalsey, Hillblom, and Lynn)
Frequently Asked Questions About eCommerce Shipping Companies
It can feel a little overwhelming sorting through all the eCommerce shipping options available in today’s market. Most shipping companies offer similar services but have different requirements for customers.
If you’re still wondering who to work with, we’ve got you covered. Take a look at these frequently asked questions below:
What is the best shipping company for eCommerce?
The best shipping company for eCommerce will depend on your needs as a business. That said, the leading shipping companies in the United States include UPS, FedEx, and USPS.
The shipping service you use for your eCommerce venture depends on the size of your business, how often you ship out packages, shipping distance, and more. Carefully evaluate a company’s shipping offerings before you utilize any of them.
Is USPS good for eCommerce?
Depending on what products you ship, yes, USPS can be a great option for eCommerce businesses. If you sell products like electronics, beauty supplies, or clothing and jewelry, USPS works perfectly. If you sell alcoholic beverages, you won’t be able to ship through USPS.
USPS also offers competitive rates for goods that are two pounds or less and shipped domestically. If you are sending products internationally, or those that weigh more than two pounds, other carriers may have cheaper rates.
Which is the fastest shipping company?
Global Express Guaranteed (GXG) is one of the fastest shipping options offered by USPS. GXG will deliver your package to over 190 international destinations within one to three business days of receiving your package.
FedEx, UPS, and DHL also offer express delivery options. The shipping solution that works for you depends on your budget, how fast you need to deliver the order, and how close a shipping drop box is to your business.
Shape Up or Ship Out
Running your own online store is one of multiple eCommerce business ideas that you can be successful with. In order to achieve lasting success, you need to deliver products efficiently and quickly. After customers pay, all they care about is getting the product they ordered, and on time.
Take the time to learn shipping costs by weight so your budget isn't thrown off by unexpected costs. Reading how to calculate shipping costs and getting a shipping label printer will put you one step ahead and help increase eCommerce sales in the long run.
The right shipping company makes this possible and creates a positive impression in customers’ minds. Maintain a strong relationship with the shipping partner you choose because they have a pivotal effect on your brand. If you go a more non-traditional route and choose to sell whiskey online, try selling liquor online, or sell beer online, just know that there are much stricter regulations for the sale and transport of alcohol. Learning how to ship beer is its own journey that requires research and diligence.