All Things Shipping
May 12, 2016

Using Shipping as an Operational Tool

Best e-commerce shipping innovations

Whenever someone thinks of shipping, it’s usually isolated as a backroom operation. However, if you dive deep into the operations of some of the best e-commerce businesses, you’ll see that they’ve realized early on, that shipping is essential to nearly every part of their business.

At Shippo we’ve built a shipping platform that has been incorporated into nearly every part of an e-commerce business. We not only help our customers print shipping labels from multiple carriers, but we’ve become building blocks for many customer-facing and sales operations.

Most of our customers come to us in times of high growth, or when they need to scale and expand internationally. Here are many ways that our fastest growing customers have incorporated shipping into their business operations with Shippo.

1. Free shipping drives sales

About 6 in 10 consumers have placed consumers have placed additional items in their shopping carts to qualify for free shipping. But someone has to pay for that “free” shipping!

At Shippo our customers can tap into discounted USPS and DHL shipping rates in the industry to keep their costs low and offer cheap or free shipping to their customers.

2. More shipping options decrease cart abandonment

86% of retailers saw an increase in sales, and 75% reduction in cart abandonment when they’ve added more shipping options at checkout. Options can range from a variety of  delivery options and costs, to perks like a specified time slot for delivery.

Businesses using Shippo have immediate access to a global network of shipping providers that offer a range of services. From USPS, FedEx, and even on-demand delivery programs, such as UberRush, our customers can offer whatever their customers need instantly from one place.

3. Alleviate customer support with easy access to good shipping data

From the moment a customer clicks “Buy”, they are waiting for their shipment to arrive. So it’s important to keep them informed and set expectations right – always provide a tracking number! However, 26% of SMBs have no automation for their tracking process, everything is done manually.

We’ve built an easy-to-use dashboard that automatically syncs with all orders and shipments information. This way, anyone can quickly and easily lookup a customer’s shipment information from an intuitive portal.

For merchants running on platforms such as Shopify, BigCommerce, Magento, WooCommerce and others, this dashboard is often used as their primary order management tool. Orders can be uploaded via CSV, or automatically synced from whichever platform they use. From here labels can be created, and tracking numbers are automatically synced back to the shopping cart and emailed to the customer.

4. Gain customer confidence by offering a seamless return experience

Even after the package arrives, the ability to return a purchase is one of the highest valued proposition by customers. 82% of shoppers want the ability to return the product with a pre-paid label, and 52% want that return label right in the box. Get even more ideas about optimizing your returns process from our free Optimizing Ecommerce Returns whitepaper.

Shippo offers scan-based return labels by default for every order. These shipping labels are free to print and put inside every box. Businesses will only be charged if the customer decides to use the label and return the package.

5. Use shipping to prevent fraud

Especially in marketplaces where there are many parties involved, it can be difficult to determine how and when accounts should be settled. However, with access to shipment tracking information, it can be easy to determined whether or not the good has exchanged hands or not.

With Shippo’s push-based webhooks, many customers have set up their accounting systems to release funds to the sellers only when an item has been “picked up” by the courier. If the buyer decides to return a product, again, the refund will only be released when the shipment is identified as en route.  Looking for more ideas on how to leverage shipping in your marketplace? Check out our free Shipping for Marketplaces whitepaper.

6. Track seller quality with shipping

For marketplaces that do not ship their inventory and rely on 3rd party sellers to ship the goods, using shipping data to determine seller quality can be an easy way to maintain your standards and increase buyer experience. Shipping data can include:

  • How fast an order is fulfilled after purchase
  • How quickly the purchase reaches the customer
  • How much shipping costs
  • Which shipping services were used and if it’s the service the buyer paid for.
  • What the tracking number of the shipment was – so that when the buyer asks, you’re able to inform them on the status of their shipment.

Some marketplaces take control of the entire shipping experience by providing their sellers with a shipping label through Shippo, whereas other marketplaces use Shippo’s tracking API to build an automated system that takes in tracking numbers from sellers and generates a seller’s performance scorecard.

7. Shipping as a revenue generator 

Shipping doesn’t always have to be a cost center, this is especially true for platforms and marketplaces who are looking to control their shipping experience end-to-end. With seller and buyer data, it’s easy to see how much people are willing to pay for shipping and the services they expect.

If you’re interested in learning more about what you can do with shipping for your business, please contact us.

Shippo is a multi-carrier API and web app that helps retailers, marketplaces and platforms connect to a global network of carriers. Businesses use Shippo to get real-time rates, print labels, automate international paperwork, track packages and facilitate returns. Shippo provides the tools to help businesses succeed through shipping.

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Shan Lian
was a product marketer at Shippo.

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