How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Value Proposition
By Tom Wintaugh
Explore a list of excellent ecommerce shipping providers—and why great fulfillment partners matter.
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Ecommerce shipping may come at the end of a transaction, but this crucial component of successful ecommerce should be anything but an afterthought. The process of shipping fulfillment involves more than just figuring out how your product goes from a warehouse to your customers’ front door. Online shoppers increasingly expect a frictionless shopping experience, and that standard has expanded well past the checkout button in your online cart. Multiple shipping options, branded packaging, and returns are some of the most important ways a shipping partner can connect with your consumers. But it all starts with choosing the right provider.
Finding a great shipping partner can be invaluable for your purchase completion and customer retention rates, and is an important part of ecommerce shipping best practices. A solid shipping solution will see themselves as an extension of your business’s brand and customer experience, and offer the support needed for your business to grow and evolve. Here are the essential things to consider when choosing a shipping partner for your ecommerce store, followed by a comprehensive list of excellent providers.
It essentially boils down to this: online shoppers care deeply about shipping and delivery. They expect a shipping solution to be reliable, fast, and easy to work with. Almost 70% of shoppers who put an item in their cart will abandon it. The number one reason? Unexpected costs at checkout, like taxes, shipping, and other fees. Great ecommerce shipping solutions start by addressing costs to the end consumer—an excellent shipping partner can instill confidence in your customers at checkout by providing transparent shipping costs as early in the checkout process as possible. Optimally, costs should be conveyed via a live ecommerce shipping calculator built right into the checkout—a powerful integration for any merchant.
Considering the average size and weight of your product can determine which shipping solution is best for your business. Some carriers have weight restrictions and additional chargers or fees for overweight packages. Creating a specific plan with your shipping partner now which reflects your actual products can avoid shipping stress and headaches in the future for you and your shoppers.
Location is obviously key to informing how ecommerce shipping works. Understanding your customers begins by knowing where your buyers are located. This will help determine which shipping solutions can help your business reach those customers quickly and reliably. Large carriers in the industry are typically reliable for most national shipping, but don’t discount smaller providers. Depending on your business size, local and regional shipping carriers may offer services at competitive rates. And if your business grows and expands into cross-border ecommerce, international and national carriers will have to work together to ensure packages arrive on time.
Additional factors like shipping methods and tracking capabilities are becoming increasingly expected features that shipping partners can provide an ecommerce business. The best ecommerce shipping platform for ecommerce will always offer real-time information which can be communicated from shipper to business, and then from business to customer. This is key. Being transparent about shipping methods, like one- or two-day shipping, can instill confidence in shoppers to complete their purchase. Finally, a carrier who can provide tracking services allows both you and the customer to keep tabs on their package every step of the way.
As a customer-centric ecommerce platform, Miva partners with the leading shipping carriers to ensure our clients have the confidence to deliver their products and do it with a seamless customer experience. The following list represents an excellent selection of shipping service providers.
UPS offers ecommerce and multichannel fulfillment, shipping, and supply chain management services for online sellers. They also strive to provide a seamless experience for customers through branded packaging, simple and insightful business dashboards, and customer return services.
Advanced Shipping Manager delivers full control over all shipping rules and methods. ASM provides full access to their staff—offering excellent advice and support from a dedicated team via phone, tickets, email, and live chat.
Through EasyPost, small businesses access USPS Commercial Plus Pricing, UPS Marketplace Shipping, and more special carrier rates for domestic and international shipping.
Easyship compares services, prints labels, sends out tracking and monitors shipments, all in one tool. Merchant can also access domestic and international courier services from one joint account.
Endicia specializes in automating the shipping process by easily connecting to ecommerce stores to create online postage solutions.
FedEx is synonymous with dependable shipping and simple, easy returns for their customers. They ensure a smooth hand-off with picture proof of delivery and multiple ways you can track your packages.
Flxpoint's platform specializes in distributed inventory, order orchestration, multi-channel listing
management, 3PL & dropship management, and more from a single platform connecting the entire commerce stack.
Freight Club offers all-in-one ecommerce shipping solutions for freight needs from booking freight at competitive rates, printing shipping documents, and tracking to complete claims management and secondary insurance protection. They serve enterprise as well as SMB businesses.
ReadyCloud allows online merchants to handle shipping, returns, and marketing all within one complete CRM platform.
ShipStation is the leading web-based shipping software that helps online retailers streamline their order fulfillment, wherever they sell and however they ship. In addition to providing order management, label creation, and inventory management, they also offer branded shipping to create a more personalized experience for customers.
Shipware offers audit and consulting services to quickly generate bottom line savings for volume parcel and LTL shippers. Their comprehensive solution suite includes distribution spend analysis, carrier contract negotiation, modal optimization, parcel and LTL invoice auditing, logistics efficiency metrics reporting and data processing and licensing.
ShipWire offers sophisticated logistics tools which help businesses ship more, like real-time order fulfillment, real-time inventory, and real-time shipping tracking.
ShipBob is a technology-enabled 3PL that brings 2-day shipping to ecommerce brands selling through their own website and third-party marketplaces, while fully owning their data.
ShipWorks is high-volume ecommerce shipping software that connects multiple online stores with all shipping carriers, improving efficiency with sophisticated automations and more than 100 built-in ecommerce integrations.
Choosing the right shipping partner is an excellent way to build customer loyalty to your brand and is a crucial part of any successful ecommerce business. Integrating shipping services which are efficient, fast, and reliable keeps costs down while leaving customers with a lasting good impression that translates into thriving year-round business.
To learn how to build a comprehensive strategy for transforming customer satisfaction into higher order values, repeat purchasing, and conversion-driving brand loyalty, download our free guide, “5 Ecommerce Strategies to Boost Customer Lifetime Value” at the link below.
Elisa Williams is a journalist and communications strategist who combines storytelling with solid research and analysis. A contributing author to the Miva Blog, Elisa has written for a wide array of consumer, business and technology publications, including Newsweek, Real Simple, Computer Life and Inc. Her marketing and content development work includes supporting technology companies that specialize in ecommerce, financial services and big data.
Miva offers a flexible and adaptable ecommerce platform that evolves with businesses and allows them to drive sales, maximize average order value, cut overhead costs, and increase revenue. Miva has been helping businesses realize their ecommerce potential for over 20 years and empowering retail, wholesale, and direct-to-consumer sellers across all industries to transform their business through ecommerce.