eCommerce Shipping Best Practices

- Posted by to E-Commerce

Think you’ve optimised every aspect of your eCommerce operations? Think again.

In this eCommerce Shipping article we cover six different areas in which you can make drastic improvements to your eCommerce shipping, whether you are just starting out, or are an omnichannel retailer looking to scale up your product distribution.

business parcel delivery

Minimise Shipping Costs

Many eCommerce start-ups fail to make sufficient profit to survive. Aside from carefully managed product sourcing, running and promoting their sales channels, many online retailers don’t shop around enough to get the best shipping rates.

Before they have chance to grow, a major weakness start-ups face is that they lack the economies of scale of a large, established omnichannel retailer, and as a result don’t receive favourable rates from the parcel carriers.

A remedy to this common dilemma would be a buying group, where you can ‘club in’ with other retailers and wholesalers to achieve sufficient purchasing power.

an eCommerce Shipping solution like Parcelhub, as an example, ships more than 3 million parcels annually on behalf of hundreds of eCommerce sellers, granting them access to ‘pooled volume’ discounted rates to cut their shipping costs by as much as 80%.

Optimise Customer Communications

Providing effective and class-leading customer communications is detrimental to your eCommerce shipping success. Keeping your customers informed of the status of their delivery will keep your customers happy and your reviews positive.

As detailed in this eCommerce Customer Service article, there is a vast range of communications tools, some of which are completely free, that can enable you to keep your customers in the loop with their delivery progress: Live chat, Email, Telephone and Business SMS. Some parcel carriers include these service levels free of charge.

Prevent customer returns

The last thing an online retailer wants is a high rate of returned goods. According to this infographic, At least 30% of all products ordered online are returned, compared to a mere 8.89% in brick-and-mortar stores. Additionally, around 49% of retailers offer free return shipping; yet another barrier to entry for start-ups who are trying to offer a similar levels of customer satisfaction.

The least you can do is to ensure that you have packaged your items appropriately, whether they are fragile or not. Choose a rigid, yet lightweight box, add plenty of padding, and label your package as fragile to ensure careful handling of your items.

Use Eco Friendly Packaging

Particularly if your brand wants to convey environmentally friendly credentials, ensure that you packaging is fully recyclable.

Re-use existing parcels (you may receive parcels from your supplier), use plant-based adhesives and 100% corrugated cardboard. Try to minimise paperwork by utilising the available alternative means of communications detailed above.

Select the Most Appropriate Carriers

With hundreds of parcel carrier options available in Europe alone, it can be confusing for online retailers who are looking to find the most suitable carrier partner.

Some carriers, such as DHL, are geared very well towards global shipments, whereas firms such as UK Mail are highly effective at national (domestic) shipments.

If you are selling globally, it is strongly advised that you should carefully review the most appropriate carriers to suit your product volume and weight, customer demands, demographics and geographic areas served.

See here for a list of different couriers - we are even included on this one.

Know whether or not to offer free shipping

Free shipping can, as strange as it sounds, even increase your profitability.

In addition to increasing your online sales, this survey from UPS found that 83% of respondents were willing to wait an additional two days for their packages if they got free shipping in return.

In addition, this Alix Partners study found that free shipping is especially important for shoppers in the 35 to 44 age group.

Two further findings were that free shipping was deemed the least important among consumers aged 18 to 24. Even so, 63% of respondents in that age group said that free shipping had an influenced their buying decisions.

About Parcelhub

Sending more than 3 million parcels a year on behalf of hundreds of eCommerce retailers and Wholesalers, Parcelhub is a flexible and scalable delivery management solution.

Parcelhub’s free multi-carrier shipping software integrates seamlessly with your eCommerce platform, whether you are selling via eBay, Amazon, your website or a combination of these.

Learn how to cut your shipping costs by up to 80%, by visiting