Holiday Planning 101

Way back in April, I covered some of the functionalities and features that would help make your Holiday season run smoothly. How many of you ran out and got to work? Just what I thought! Not to fear, you still have time to get your e-commerce store ready for all the traffic and conversions you have been dreaming about all year long.

To recap, last spring I emphasized the importance of easy search, sharing and mobile functionalities. I also discussed the fact that your contact information and return policy needs to be easy to find too. A live chat is even better. It helps eliminate any doubt that a shopper may have about the credibility of your store. These are the cornerstones of any successful online store and today I will begin a series highlighting more vital pieces of the e-commerce puzzle and offer suggestions to make your businesses operations a little easier.

First up – Shipping!

How you manage the shipping for your store greatly affects the bottom line. Many businesses find themselves losing money because they aren’t charging accurate shipping rates. Either they charge too low of a rate and have to pay the difference, or the rates are so high that conversion rates drop. For starters, real-time shipping rates guarantee that accurate shipping charges will be applied to your orders. But, when are real-time rates not enough?

When Your Customer Wants to Choose Their Shipping Method

There is no denying that Shipping Calculators and Method Populators are a must. Internet shoppers expect them and many consumers refuse to buy from a store that doesn’t allow them to see all the available shipping methods and their corresponding rates on the product page. Delivery Date Estimators also have their place, however haven’t become as prevalent as shipping calculators and method populators – yet. Conversion is king and in today’s saturated market, you need every advantage to get a leg up on your competition.

When You Sell Perishable, Fragile or Over-sized Items

For retailers that have high costs for packing materials, shipping mark-ups are a must. If you don’t have the ability to set mark-ups, you will have to increase the product price. If you increase the product price to compensate, your prices may be higher than your competitors. It doesn’t matter if you need to mark-up individual items or shipping rates – they both come standard with the Advanced Shipping Manger. Not only can you mark-up, but you can also mark-down individual items or shipping methods.

When You Use Dropshippers or Other Suppliers

E-retailers are using dropshippers and wholesalers in record numbers. It is an economical way to offer a large inventory without the equally large investment. On the other hand, it can be a logistical headache. If you have the ability to set unique origin zip codes for each of your items, you can save a ton of time and money. Even if a customer adds items to their cart that ship from 2 or more different zip codes, the shipping will be calculated from each individual origin zip code and then combined into a single shipping charge.

That’s not all, if a customer adds an item to their cart that is available from more than one dropshipper or supplier, you can set up your shipping rules to determine which product origin location is closest to the destination address and calculate the shipping based on that location. The ability to set unique zip codes for your items comes standard with the Advanced Shipping Manager. In order to set multiple warehouses and origin zip codes; you will need to add that as an additional feature. You can learn more about what the Advanced Shipping Manager has to offer your store at AdvancedShippingManager.com.

Read Holiday Planning 101 Part II – Promotions.

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