Running an inventory-based business online or offline presents a whole set of challenges in terms of logistics and shipping. For a new company, it’s essential to control costs in order stimulate business growth. But at the same time, you want to provide your customers fast and accurate delivery. Whether you’re planning to ship one or a hundred different products, here are some things you need to consider when developing shipping capabilities in your startup.
Nothing will discourage a customer more than having to wait to get their product. Long delays, even once, can cost you repeat sales. Your timeframe in processing, packaging, and shipping every product is crucial. At least for non-perishable items, it helps to determine and maintain safe stock levels in your inventory.
This isn’t always possible if there’s a spike in orders, such as around the holidays. Lead time on materials and processing time on each item should be part of your capacity and turn-around planning. Rush shipping is another option you might want to provide, though you’ll have to work out who is expected to pay and how this fits into your profit margins and processes. Also, provide feedback forms online or in your parcels to see how the customer really feels about your delivery services.
The packaging you use is an important part of both profitability and customer satisfaction. You want boxes or cartons that are strong enough to arrive intact and prevent damage to the product inside. Properly sized boxes can also save you on excessive use of packing materials, which is wasting money both in use of employee time and costs. You should use recycled materials where possible to save money. It might not be a bad idea to look into custom packaging solutions salt lake city Utah to see how you can improve on your current packaging.
A software program or even programmable database that includes product dimensions, weights, and box capacities to help determine packaging needs can be a big time saver. You should also consider how your packaging is labeled or printed. The added cost of promotional packaging or included items like warranty registrations or product flyers might boost repeat sales. It will be a competitive advantage if you can find a way to create a sense of delight so that they look forward to and enjoy receiving products from your company.
Shipping Return Policy
Products frequently get returned due to inaccurate order pulling, damage in transit, or product defects. Establish a policy on return shipping that helps to minimize your responsibility and costs without alienating customers. You might want to set time limits, criteria to avoid further damage, or define special cases where you will refuse to accept returns.
For instance, if the customer was clearly responsible for the damage, already received a large discount, or made a fraudulent purchase, you might choose to reject any product claim. This policy should be made clear to customers before they make a purchase. It’s common for the customer to pay shipping on returns, but you might consider adding free return shipping as an added-value incentive in your marketing.
One way to relieve yourself of many of these worries is to contract with a reputable shipping service. Odds are that a large, well-established shipping firm has the experience and resources to package and ship your products more affordably and efficiently than you do, while taking advantage of bulk discounts. Often, you just ship them the product they need, and forward your orders for fulfillment. A quality shipping company could actually reduce your costs and provide greater value and better services to your customers. You and your staff will then be free to concentrate on other business needs.
Efficient shipping management will save you time and money on a critical business function. You should explore your options and incorporate the best solution into your business model.