Ah.. it’s time to see what to do about shipping these products on your store! Since you decided to reach to this article, you’re probably thinking of which shipping method you’ll be adding to your store. For that it’s very important to have a clear understanding of the shipping methods, their availability for you as a merchant, and the main factors to consider prior to making the choice.
This is actually a very important step yet a simple one, it is not as complicated as you may think. To make it easy for you, we’ve set a few points for you to consider before choosing a shipping courier.
1. What is the nature of products
Shipping couriers have some restrictions on certain product types, or characteristics, for example, take liquid products, some shipping couriers -if not all- do not ship liquids internationally, others may set restrictions on the maximum product weight that can be shipped or even the size of the package.
It’s worth mentioning that there are country-specific restrictions (KSA for instance doesn’t allow shipping wigs)
It’s always a good tip to check with the shipping courier of your choice, on their specific policies on products’ nature and restricted countries.
2. Shipping Fees
Each courier offers different rates, you need to compare the rates you get from each one to go for the best rate, taking into account the following:
- Product size and weight
- Number of items per shipment
- Product price
3. Trade license
Trade license is almost a mandatory requirement for any business. Most of the shipping couriers in the world require one to sign up for an account with them, especially if you want to ship internationally.
However, some other shipping couriers do not consider the trade license, and you can still use their services without having one.
Getting a trade license requires some work and time from your side, so while you’re working on getting one you can still prepare and launch your store using one of the shipping couriers that do not require having one. You can for example start selling locally until you have the trade license ready so you can expand your business and then be able to offer your customers more shipping options.
4. Where to ship to? Locally? Internationally? Both?
If you are a startup company you may not want to think of shipping globally at the very beginning, as shipping locally would be less costly, it allows you to test the market and experience several aspects of the online business.
On the other hand, if you have a running online store and you’re thinking of expanding your business, it’s an important choice to make. So be sure to check out the couriers that are specific to certain markets and countries.
5. Can I integrate this shipping courier with my online store ?
Let us introduce the meaning of integration: It is a user-friendly interface that provides you with options to establish the communication between the shipping courier and your online store in an easier way.
Basically, the integration requires to have an account with the shipping company you want to integrate your store with, by configuring information (provided by your shipping courier) like account username, password, and some other information on the shipping courier section on the admin panel of your store.
This way the integration will be ready and configured.
Now you may think, what if there isn’t any integration between your store’s admin panel and the shipping courier you want to use?
Don’t worry, we have this covered, you can still have the rates from this particular shipping courier based on the shipment weight, price or number of items, we fill this information in a sheet that we import into our system to give your customers the pre-defined rates based on the agreement between you and the shipping courier.
Then you can manage your orders and shipments manually (for one time), then it looks like it’s integrated!
6. Does this provider offer Cash On Delivery
Cash On Delivery (COD) is currently one of the most popular methods of payment in our region for online stores. The major reason for its popularity is that buyers do not have to pay anything before the goods are delivered to them. This helps in giving some confidence to new buyers as e-commerce is still growing in our region.
Some of the couriers offer flexible payment options so they may accept to collect the amount of the shipment on your behalf, but make sure to ask them explicitly what the requirements are to offer you this service as some couriers add special Cash On Delivery (COD) fees and others ask you to create a separate COD account on their side.
7. Which providers are most reputable?
Most of your customers prefer to receive their orders from a shipping provider they’ve heard of. Customers enter their credit card information with greater confidence when they trust the courier.
8. Who picks up the packages?
When comparing couriers, consider whether the courier picks up the packages (and any related fees) for you, or if you need to transport the packages to the courier’s drop-off location yourself. If you need to drop off packages, find out where the nearest drop-off location is, along with their hours of operation.
9. Should I offer more than one shipping courier?
Many online stores allow their customers to select from multiple shipping couriers.
The decision to offer this option to your customers is totally yours.
Note: For start-ups, it’s recommended to start with one shipping courier to test the market and target countries and customers , then you can decide whether you need other couriers or not, based on your customers feedback.
The above nine factors are the main kick starting points to help you on your choice. Happy Shipping!