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The Complete Beginner’s Guide to E-commerce Shipping

Do you own E-commerce business? Or you will have one soon. Nowadays everybody thinks it’s very easy to do business online and they can sell anything to anybody living anywhere. Well, it is true and also very easy to start an online store and selling your items online but do you know how many of these new businesses are really doing well?

There were 12 million web stores in 2015 and only 650k stores had managed to do a business of more than US $1k yearly. It means only 2 out of 50 online stores had managed to do a business of more than US $1k in 2015. This is the bitter truth of easy looking business and even most successful retailers are too finding it difficult to scale online business.

Who Can Open an eCommerce Store

Actually, there are many articles here on internet, If you’re thinking about How to start an eCommerce business and like useful tips for E-commerce business and various other topics related to E-commerce retailing and they all explains you to how to improve your web store and items’ descriptions and pictures and software and how to be in touch with the customers and How to advertise your store. These are the things you have control over but once items leave your place, it goes into hands of stranger, your courier, and they deliver those items to customers.

Well, you think it’s normal and that’s how people run their businesses but think about something went wrong during transportation and delivery of items wasn’t on time or delivered damaged item. It will make your customer unhappy and thus he won’t buy a thing from you again. This is what happens if you choose the wrong courier or don’t plan your shipping strategies.

Actually, eCommerce Shipping is more important than we think. Let’s go through some of the facts about how shipping cost or speed has influenced customers’ decisions (based on survey on American buyers).

  • Top three influential factors in determining where Americans buy are price, shipping price and speed and discount offers (Big Commerce 2017).
  • 66% of customers decided not to buy an item because of higher shipping costs (Big Commerce 2017).
  • 34% said it’s hard to return items and long time for delivery is also pain (Big Commerce 2017).

In this article we will explain and try to simplify the E-commerce shipping to help you understand and plan your shipping strategies.

Understanding Shipping Rate

Well it is very important for any E-commerce business owner to understand how couriers are charging them for shipping or on which factors they calculate shipping rates? Those factors are

  • Package size
  • Package Weight
  • Departing address
  • Destination address
  • Insurance
  • Tracking

These are the factors on with shipping companies are calculating rates. These couriers also provide easy to use calculators to calculate shipping rates. Let’s check some of them

Despite they provide such facility it is always difficult to calculate and compare shipping rates manually to choose the right courier. May be, it is easy if you have to courier one or two itemseveryday but when you have to send number of items every day, then calculating and comparing shipping rates for items will be hectic and time consuming as well.

Here we can try some of the third party shipping solutions like ExtraShip.com, where they provide rates from some of the best couriers like UPS, USPS and FedEx, on same page which make our life easy and we can compare shipping rates from these big couriers on same page and make instant choice.

We have also written blogs on third party shipping service like

These two blogs will explain how these third party shipping services work and what are the benefits of shipping with them.


If you pack your item smartly, it might save your time and money because big couriers are using dimensional pricing model which means shipping rate rely on package size and weight. However, to reduce size and weight, you can’t sacrifice with the safety of items inside package because it might damage item inside which results in bigger loss or even break customers trust. Let’s check out some ideas for smart packaging to reduce shipping cost without sacrificing items’ safety.

Think about dimensional weight

You will hear lot about dimensional weight when you are shipping with some of the big couriers like FedEx and UPS. The dimensional weight is rather based on size of the package instead its actual weight. Hence you need to take care and be smart when you pack your items and keep your packages as small and compact as possible because dimensional weight are calculated using formula below.

Dimensional Weight= (length *height*width) of box / Dimensional factor

To find out more about the dimensional weight please check our recent blog on dimensional weight. Click here to read more about dimensional weight.

Padding and Packing material

Whenever you ship your item the main box contains your item and then you take another box to provide sufficient cushioning for safety reasons. Here you can act smart and find perfect cushioning material which gives it proper safety without adding up extra padding which will make the box smaller and also reduces weight as well.

There are many other things you should consider while packing your items for shipping. Please check our blog on how to save on shipping by packaging your items smartly.

Packaging & Presentation

The eCommerce businesses are growing rapidly and almost everybody have bought things online once last year, in America. This clearly shows people are diverting from shopping at store in malls to E-store online and hence their expectations have changed, regarding whole experience from the E-store navigation to receiving purchase item which plays important role in closing sales online.

In this part of article we will talk about how packaging could be used as effective marketing mean to attract customers’ again and again to buy that product with such experience that makes them feel special. Well, your items should always be quality one but an effective packaging helps you to convey your massage to customers which will attract customers and it also make it easy to relate with product as well.

The packaging and shipping was just part of buying items online process but nowadays with rapidly growing eCommerce market, customers’ expectations are also changing and it is now more than just simply receiving item.To be different and to create a special experience for your customers, packaging and presentation can be an effective way.

The Trunk Club is a monthly subscription service that sends men and women, a trunk of selected cloths and accessories every month. Just have a look at the trunk and presentation below.

The Trunk ClubYou can see the presentation and that trunk which makes customers’ felling special and also does marketing as well with a special different image in their customers’ mind. We have lot of Trunk club’ trunk unpacking videos on Youtube.com uploaded by customers which tells you how people thinks about the whole experience created with packaging and presentation  of items to make them feel special.

There are many other things we can do for marketing purpose with packaging and presentation like sharp cusps in logo with color, typography and pictures to create unique combination and pass five years old’ test and many more. We will discuss it in separate blog later. We will publish blog on marketing through packaging soon.

Choosing Your Courier

Well, it is very easy in case of big couriers to choose right courier company for their business because they have many packages to be shipped daily and they can negotiate on shipping rate with their courier as well. Moreover, they can also get big discounts on insurance and for bulk shipping as well. However, for small businesses or new business with few shipment everyday it’s not affordable to ship with rely on ne courier and it also gives them flexibility as well.

We have recently published blog on factors to consider when selecting a right courier for your firm.

Shipping options

As we know, nowadays, shipping options are most important in closing sell online. As per Big commerce, 66% of customers decided not to buy an item because of higher shipping costs. It shows how important is shopping option in closing sell online. Let’s check out some of the best shipping options which will help you to close sell online.

Offer Free Shipping

The free shipping is the best shipping option, nowadays with highest conversion rate. People often buy things with free shipping or they look for things with free shipping option only. Providing such shipping optioncan close sell for you but you must be wondering that shipping is not free for company itself then someone has to pay for it then how to cope with this. Well here are some tips on it.

  • Customer pays: Increase costs of items to cover shipping costs
  • You and Customer both Pays: in this case you can increase costs of items by half of shipping costs so that your customer will pay half of that shipping costs and rest will be paid by you.
  • You pay: There is two options
  1. You can pay shipping costs from your profit.
  2. Free shipping on a minimum order amount.
  • Frequent Customers: you can offer free shipping to your frequent customers. You will bare shipping costs but it will help to close sell with same customers again and again.
  • More Profitable Items:Provide free shipping on selected items with handsome profit.
  • Location: You can offer free shipping to local customers.

Flat Rate Shipping

It is another Best Shipping option which relies on product size and weight. If you have product line with similar sizes and weights then you can go for flat rate shipping option otherwise in case of variety of product line with different sizes and weights, it will be complicated and you might end up charging more on items which make customers unhappy and they might abandon buying your item as well.To practice best, it is always advisable to check and make sure you don’t undercharge or overcharge your customers.

Insurance & Tracking

It is very important to buy insurance for all your items because if your package gets lost or gets damaged during shipment, it could be covered by insurance. However, all big companies provide free insurance on up to certain amount of item and if your item is costlier then that insured amount then you can buy insurance from third party as well. However, to claim insurance for lost or damaged items, you also need proof where tracking facility of the courier services plays important part and provides you proof that you need.

Warehouse Fulfillment

Courier Service Warehouse

This is new concept but many companies are trying store their goods at one of those warehouses of courier companies and send their goods from there to their customers. Well if you don’t have warehouse to store your goods than this service will be very useful and another benefit is you can send your package faster hence you can provide faster delivery option to your customers.

We will explain how it works and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the warehousing in separate blog

Customs Declaration and Duties

“Sending packages nationally is very easy but sending same packages internationally”, to other countries, you have to fill up custom declaration forms and also pay duties if any charged by that particular country. This paper generally contains information regarding item inside package like what it is and its costs or even is it gift or purchased item. It is mandatory procedure in any international shipment. You can download these documents from internet and you can have it form local postal services. Well it is very important to attached right documents with your package otherwise it is possible that your package get stuck into customs and take long time for clearance.


Shipping is definitely plays vital role in success of any E-commerce business and hence every business online have to choose Best Shipping Strategies Based on their need. It takes time to develop such shipping strategy that serves you best but you have to keep reevaluating them every six months to make sure that you are Providing Best Service to your customers at reasonable prices.

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