How to Select the Right Shipping Strategy for your Business

If your business earns its money by sending goods, then it pays to put in place the right strategy. There are inherent risks involved in shipping, and managing those risks means planning. What the right strategy looks like in practice will depend on the size and shape of your business, and the customers to whom you’re shipping.

Devising your shipping strategy will require some careful thought, and perhaps experimentation. Let’s assess some of the more crucial factors.

Can you go for free delivery?

Free delivery is a perk that many customers will have come to expect. Extra costs added on at the very last minute are a key driver of cart abandonment – alongside things like mandatory sign-up and website crashes. Cutting out shipping can ultimately make your process much more transparent, which can

If you’re offering free delivery, however, then you’ll need to pass costs on to your customers in other ways, or compromise on the quality of your service. Many customers might prefer to pay extra if it means getting next-day delivery.

Looking at the needs and wants of your target market, and providing a choice wherever possible, might be hugely beneficial.

Finding the right shipping partner

Often, an effective shipping strategy will involve outsourcing to a specialist in logistics. A third-party fulfilment centre will be able to do the job much more efficiently, and to a higher standard, than most small and medium-sized businesses can handle. This route will also save you the trouble of having to worry about warehousing yourself – which can ultimately make your business much more lightweight and flexible.

Providing alternatives

As we’ve mentioned, customers value retailers which provide them with a choice.

For one thing, not everyone can be available to receive a given package. In many cases, it’s more convenient to pick up a package from a local locker, or a drive-in facility. Curbside pickups became popular during the Covid-19 pandemic, and they’ve since retained that popularity.

Picking up a package from a given location, like a real-world, brick-and-mortar store, is also increasingly popular. It’s click-and-collect options like this that allow a city worker to pop into the local shopping district during a lunch break to collect their goods. This might allow you to offer free fulfilment of delivery without having to pay a driver to do the deliveries.

What about returns?

Any successful shipping strategy will incorporate a plan for returns. A seamless returns process can be an invaluable source of damage limitation. The way that you price your return shipping should be determined in advance. If your business is new or has a high return rate, free shipping might not be feasible. Above all, be upfront and transparent about the amount you’re going to charge.