Offering fast and affordable shipping is one of the biggest challenges of running a successful online store. If this is an area where you are trying to improve, here are some tips that can help you reduce shipping times while still keeping the whole process affordable.
1 – Invest in automation
As a general rule, the more of the order fulfillment process is automated, the faster the entire process will be. Automation can take care of managing addresses, printing out labels, and even tell you and your workers where in your storage space the products needed are located.
Your in-house order fulfillment software may also be able to inform your courier provider when you have packages ready for pick up and tell you when the next pickup drive is likely to come by. All of that can optimize the process, and when you are fighting to provide same-day or two-day shipping, every minute counts.
2 – Look into drop shipping
Dropshipping is the practice of ordering goods from retailers and manufacturers straight to your customers, essentially allowing those third parties to handle order fulfillment for you. Many drop shippers sell marked-up goods from abroad and pocket the difference. In this scenario, dropshipping is often slower than the alternative, since the product is coming from outside the country.
But dropshipping can also be done locally. By allowing a local manufacturer to ship products directly to your customer, you may be able to get much faster delivery times at a lower cost while also eliminating the hassle of fulfilling orders yourself.
3 – Keep a lookout for faster options
Fast Courier and other tools like it let you compare the services and quotes offered by different couriers. It’s a good idea to check these comparison tools periodically to make sure you are using the fastest courier option available to you.
Keeping an eye on the courier options available in your region also gives you leverage to negotiate prices with your courier based on what the competition is offering.
4 – Ask your courier for tips
Of course, when it comes to fast shipping, there is only so much you can do on your own. Eventually, the package will leave your custody and be trusted to your courier of choice, so it’s important to consider ways to make their job easier as well. Ask your courier provider what you can do to make the shipping process more efficient.
This might be as simple as making sure barcodes are in the right place to make them easier to scan. Or using sturdier boxes so they’ll be easier for the delivery personnel to stack and move around.
5 – Consider outsourcing
Moving your shipping operation to an order fulfillment center isn’t just a tactic used to cut costs and simplify logistics. Most order fulfillment centers are located in strategic areas meant to serve large numbers of people in the least amount of time possible. Depending on where your current base of operation is, moving your wares to an order fulfillment center near a major city center may drastically reduce your shipping times.