E-commerce is on the rise, bringing a whole new set of challenges for business owners. One of the top challenges e-commerce businesses face is deciding on the right carrier for their products. Not only do pricing and shipping speed factors need to be considered, but other factors, including reputation, tracking availability, and insurance coverage, also need to be considered.
7 Factors to Consider When Choosing the Right Carrier for Your E-Commerce Business
Type of Product
The first aspect to consider is the type of product you are selling. Certain carriers restrict products that are fragile, liquid, or too large. Understanding the restrictions your product may have will help you determine the best carrier. When deciding on a carrier, examine the sizes, shapes, and offered services of the carrier to see if it fits the needs of your product.
Another factor to consider is the location that the carrier delivers in. If you are planning on taking your e-commerce business nationwide, a carrier located specifically on the east coast would not be a good fit. Be sure to plan for business growth and establish a strong relationship with a carrier that can grow with you. Many carriers offer maps that can easily show you the areas they deliver in, so be sure to do some research.
A carrier might look good on paper, but are they actually delivering what they promise? Looking into a carrier's reputation through reading reviews is a must when searching for the perfect carrier. Honest reviews from other e-commerce sellers will allow you to have full transparency as to a carrier's reputation.
The last thing you want to do is sign a carrier contract and feel as if you are being cheated. Take the time to read Google and Yelp reviews before you enter into a binding agreement.
Just like analyzing the carrier's reputation is a top priority, so is understanding the shipping speed. When a customer places an order, they want to receive it quickly, so finding a carrier that can offer you the desired shipping speed is necessary.
Be sure you consider shipping speeds to various areas that you offer to ship to. If shipping to the east coast only takes two days, but shipping to the west coast takes over a week, you might want to consider other carriers. Fast shipping speeds can also be an incentive for customers to purchase an item from you.
Once your item ships, you want to be able to track the package easily and quickly. Having the ability to track packages can assist you with any fraudulent claims of lost packages. With a shipment tracking number, you can see that the package was delivered to the correct address to avoid being scammed by customers.
Take a look at prospective carriers' websites to see if they offer tracking availability and any additional charge associated with that. You want to be fully prepared for any circumstance that comes up, making tracking availability a necessity.
Does the carrier you are looking at provide you insurance when something is lost? If not, you may want to consider looking into other options. You don't want to be out the money and lose a customer because the carrier does not insure lost items. Lost items can quickly add up, especially if you are a small business, so be sure to look into carriers that offer some form of insurance coverage for your products. Even though insurance may be an extra expense, it can be worth it, in the end, to save on wasted materials and lost customers.
Last but not least, pricing is an aspect of choosing a carrier that needs to be considered. Weighing your different options to find not only the best price but the best services offered is critical. You want to be paying a fair price for shipping that is within your budget and allows you to still make a healthy profit on your e-commerce business. You may want to consider paying a little more depending on the services offered, such as insurance coverage and shipping speed.
All of these factors need to be considered before entering into an agreement with a carrier. You must put more emphasis on certain factors depending on the nature of your e-commerce business, but ultimately all of these factors need to be evaluated to make the most informed decision possible. Most of the information can be found on the carrier's website, so don't be afraid to do a little research and reach out to the carriers with any questions!