How to Choose the Right Shipping Carrier for Your Online Store

Choosing a shipping carrier for your online store may not seem like an important decision, but it’s one that could make or break your business. How fast and in what condition your products arrive can boost or tarnish your business’s reputation.

Of course, speed isn’t the only factor that makes for great shipping – price is important, too. In fact, shipping cost is the leading cause for cart abandonment, with 44% of customers not completing a purchase because they were scared away by high costs. Today’s demanding customers want a remarkable shopping experience, and for many that means affordable shipping.

As an online merchant, you should want fast, reliable, and affordable shipping that’ll have customers returning to your store and recommending your products to their friends and family. Not sure where to start looking? Here are seven important things you’ll want to consider before choosing a shipping carrier for your online store.

1. Where will you be shipping?
Where you plan to ship your products is one of the most important factors to determining which carrier will best meet your store’s needs. Will you be shipping domestically, internationally, or both? You may find that you’re able to secure affordable delivery through a local courier company, or that you’re in need of country-specific carriers such as Canada Post and Royal Mail.

2. What type of products are you shipping?
Many carriers have limitations on what they’ll deliver, which means not every provider may be able to ship your goods. Some carriers impose restrictions that forbid certain sizes, shapes, and products, while others refuse to ship fragile or extremely expensive items. If you’re shipping mainly small items, USPS’s flat-rate boxes and envelopes may meet your needs, while freight shipping may be necessary for very large products.

3. How will you get your packages to the carrier?
If you’re looking to save time and cut costs, consider a carrier that can pick up your packages from your home, office, or warehouse. Prefer to use a carrier’s drop-off location instead? Find out where the nearest one is, and if its location and hours of operation work well with your schedule.

4. Does the carrier offer tracking?
Today’s customers want to know where their package is at all times. They want to know when it has left the shipping bay, where it’s in transit, and at what time of day they can expect to receive it. Allow customers to monitor their orders at all times by using a carrier that makes it easy to track packages.

5.Will your packages be insured?
Not every carrier offers insurance, yet a large number of customers find this service indispensable. Customers that live in regions known for issues with delivery will want the peace of mind afforded by insurance.

6.Will you offer live rates?
Live shipping rates are computed based on details such as product weight, destination, and carrier fees, and are an essential component to ensuring a great shopping experience. If you’re using an eCommerce provider, you’ll want to verify that their platform supports live rates for your desired carrier, and what other options are available should your store develop further needs down the road.

7.Which carrier offers the best prices?

The right shipping solution will not only offer customers a great shipping experience, it won’t cut too much into your margins either. Once you’ve narrowed down your search, you’ll want to compare prices to determine which carrier will have the biggest impact on your bottom line. Refer to each carrier’s website and calculate which solution offers the best rates based on your product’s size, weight, and the locations you’re selling to.

Choosing your store’s carrier is an important decision that can affect your business in big and unexpected ways. Take the time to thoroughly research all of your available option to ensure your customers have the best shopping experience possible.
By Ashley Duke, content creator at 3dcart

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