How to Navigate The Complex World of Shipping as an eCommerce Business

Understanding shipping is a critical component of running a successful eCommerce business. The process of shipping is a lot more complex than just sending a package from point A to point B.  That’s why it’s often advantageous that emerging eCommerce brands work with knowledgeable partners who have the expertise needed to help them identify and select the appropriate mix of services to achieve their specific goals. 

There are many ways that your fulfillment partner provides your business with significant value when it comes to shipping. A 3PL can leverage its buying power and volume to negotiate better rates, has an expert understanding of industry practices and can offer strategic considerations when it comes to optimal package delivery and overall value.

There are many ways that your fulfillment partner provides your business with significant value when it comes to shipping

Turning Volume Into Savings

Volume is a key card to play in the shipping game. Since 3PLs ship a large number of packages, they are guaranteeing business for carriers and can secure lower price points. This level of savings would typically not be achievable by brands on their own. 3PLs can then pass these savings along to their client and the money saved can be used to fund other areas of the business. 

Industry Insight & Experience

It can be difficult - especially for emerging brands - to master the nuances of shipping and the various options that exist and differ from carrier to carrier. This is where the expertise of an experienced 3PL is invaluable. A 3PL can evaluate a brand’s business model and shipping characteristics to identify what the best solutions would be based on carrier and cost. 3PLs look at factors such as what the client is shipping, the weight of the product, dimensions, order volume and how long it takes the product to arrive to the customer. This expert knowledge allows brands to optimize their cost savings. For example, here at Dotcom Distribution, one of our clients did not realize that there were multiple options and prices for shipping packages less than one pound. Before working with Dotcom, they were spending much more than needed on shipping. Now, they are able to select from a range of options.

Additionally, a point of expertise that 3PLs have is helping brands decide whether or not to offer free shipping. We often encourage newer clients to initially keep shipping options simple. As an emerging brand you don’t want to lose money by offering free shipping, which can significantly cut into your margins. Though it’s a create marketing tool, not offering free shipping is a  strategy that gives brands the flexibility to direct money saved towards promotions or other business needs that can help fuel brand growth. 

Aligning With the Right Carrier

Shipping is very important to the overall experience your customers have with your brand, which is why it’s significant that you select a carrier that best fits your brand’s values and offerings. While it’s primarily consumer perception, it’s important to understand that not all carriers are viewed in the same light. For example, we recommended that one of our high-end luxury clients select a carrier that would be perceived well by their customers. Consumers associate high-quality brands with high-quality delivery services.  A 3PL’s mission is to ensure your brand’s aesthetic is present throughout the shipping and unboxing experience. Your shipping carrier is an extension of your brand so it’s important that they perfectly blend together.

If not managed correctly, in-efficient shipping practices can quickly become a hindrance to growth and profitability. One of the biggest values a fulfillment partner brings is being able to help your brand move towards efficiency and think ahead. 

You don’t want to have “I wish we would have done this instead” shipping epiphanies years later. With a 3PL you have a partner that is helping you navigate, negotiate and handle any complications each step of the way. They are there to support your business and of course, help you be a prominent figure in your market.

For additional resources and information on shipping and packaging, be sure to visit our resources page and download our eCommerce packaging study

If you have any questions about the ways that Dotcom can help your brand as a 3PL partner, reach out to us here.