If you have an e-commerce store, you should be quite familiar with the default shipping packages, each e-commerce platform offers. For instance, WooCommerce Shipping offers 3 basic shipping options; flat rates, free shipping, and in-store pickup. The shipping options are a bit broader with the default Magento shipping, as Magento offers in addition to these options also table rates. Shopify does not offer table rate shipping. Also, none of these e-commerce platforms offer any advanced shipping feature.
To add more flexibility to your shipping storefront you will need to search for additional features on the corresponding e-commerce platforms. Let’s have a look at the most important features each e-commerce store should have.
1 Multi-origin Shipping
This is a very basic feature, and yet only Magento offers a feature similar to this one in its default shipping. In Magento, it is called multi-source inventory.
What is multi-origin shipping? Multi-origin shipping allows retailers to ship products from multiple locations or warehouses. Depending on the complexity of the feature, you should be able to choose different carriers to ship with. For example, you could use UPS for your warehouse in Alicante and DHL for your warehouse in Berlin. The algorithm should choose the most optimal shipping origin to ship products from if they are available in multiple locations.
The problem occurs when there is no clear way on how shipping costs are calculated if the products are shipped from different locations to one destination. Are retailers expected to cover shipping costs if the customers choose the product from multiple locations?
Actually, multi-origin shipping helps to minimize the gap between what both retailers and customers have to pay to get the product shipped to the selected location. The algorithm behind the feature bakes multiple shipping rates into one unified shipping rate.
Why Use Multi-origin Shipping and What Are Its Benefits?
Origin Based Shipping
The advantage of multi-origin shipping is that it allows you to cover more geographical areas in your region. It might easily happen to you that the product will be requested to be shipped from more locations. If you use a multi-origin shipping feature you can request real-time rates from both origins and estimate shipping costs better.
Origin Selection Based On the Stock
Multi-origin shipping can also provide you with information about the stock quantity available in each warehouse. Some advanced features are capable of sending you alerts about your inventory status.
Bake Multiple Shipping Rates Into One
Shipping rates estimates depend on many factors, one being the location you ship to and second the location you are shipping from. If you ship from multiple origins or locations, you will need to take shipping rates from both locations and make shipping cost estimates based on both of them. This process is so much easier with in-built shipping software or suite.
2 Volumetric Weight Shipping
Volumetric Weight Shipping is a quite well-known concept in the shipping industry. Volumetric weight is a value adopted by carriers for estimating and calculating shipping rates. The components of volumetric weight shipping are length, width, and height all multiplied and then divided by the shipping factor. The shipping factor is different from carrier to carrier. Volumetric weight shipping is used by carriers because it is a more cost-effective and ecological way of shipping than simple weight-based shipping. Retailers should use volumetric shipping, for one additional reason and that is the accuracy of shipping rates.
What Are the Benefits of Volumetric Weight Shipping?
Real-Time Rates Accuracy
With volumetric weight shipping, you can obtain higher accuracy of shipping rates than with regular shipping. This does not necessarily mean that the shipping cost will be less as well. As volumetric shipping takes into account all product dimensions, the algorithm is better suited for the estimation of real-time shipping rates.
Shipping packages based on the product dimensions is more environmentally friendly. How is that so? Matching the product dimensions with the dimensions of the package results in less packaging material waste.
3 International Shipping and Landed Cost
Landed cost is a term associated with worldwide shipping, because of all the costs it takes to ship a package abroad. Landed Cost is the sum of various costs that the retailer has to pay to ship the product to its customer. These costs include costs for shipping, value-added taxes, and customs duties. It is crucial to account for every cost as you might accidentally miscalculate your profit margins. If you miscalculate how much it will cost to ship your products worldwide, it can cost you lots of money. Plus, no customer wants to pay extra costs themselves without being acknowledged about them upfront.
What Are the Benefits of the Landed Cost?
Accounting Properly For All Costs
As mentioned before, failing to account for the landed cost when shipping worldwide can seriously influence your accounting. Additionally, it might discourage customers to order from your e-commerce ever again, if you surprise them with unexpected costs upon receiving the package from abroad. This sounds like a bad customer experience. As a retailer, it is a must to show all the necessary information for your customers at the checkout.
Setting Up Profit Margin
Landed costs show the cost of each exported or imported product, thus allowing you to set the profit margins correctly. If you set the prices too high it will negatively affect your sales, if you set them too low it will affect your profit.
Cuts in Supply Chain
Not only Landed Costs can help you with profits but also with cost. Landed cost shows you where cuts can be made in your supply chain; manufacturing, packaging, or even shipping.
4. Shipping on Product Pages
Shipping on product pages is not offered in any e-commerce default shipping. This is another feature you will need to get separately or in-built within a complex shipping solution on marketplaces.
Shipping on product pages enables retailers to display shipping estimates directly next to the product. This is beneficial as the customers do not have to click all the way to the shopping cart to see the shipping cost. Customers can decide straight away if they want to proceed with their purchase or not.
There are more options on how the shipping estimates can be displayed. Sometimes you will be able to display the cheapest or the fastest shipping rate depending on the functionality of the feature.
What Are the Benefits of the Shipping on Product Pages Feature?
Lowers the Cart Abandonment Rate
Displaying the correct information right on the product page helps customers to make purchase decisions straight away. The customer can envision what the shipping cost is before proceeding to the checkout. Thus, the cart abandonment rate can be minimized.
High Conversion Rate
A lower cart abandonment rate automatically results in increased conversions. The customer has all the information summed up nicely on the product page and can make an educated decision about his or her purchase.
Many of these shipping features come as a separate plugin or as a part of more complex shipping software. Whether you decide on separate plugins or one complex shipping software is up to you, but it is important to know what each feature offers and how it can make your shipping process easier. The majority of the features can be found in any e-commerce platform marketplace or as in the case of multi-source inventory as a part of the default Magento shipping package.
Lucia Liskova is Marketing Manager at Calcurates. Calcurates is a multi-carrier shipping software that helps e-commerce calculate and display the right shipping methods and rates at the checkout.