When was the last time you looked at your shipping profile? If it’s been a while, your logistics may not be running as smoothly as they should be.
Let’s talk about spring cleaning. For homeowners, it means dusting the blinds, power washing the gutters, organizing the garage and decluttering the closets. For business owners who ship, it means dusting up your shipping profile.
Having an accurate, up to date shipping profile is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Whether it’s an e-commerce company that sells one handmade product or a global venture offering a host of items, your shipping profile determines customer satisfaction and can be the make-or-break factor turning a profit. Many businesses rely on default shipping profiles when using platforms like Shopify, Big Commerce, and others. This can be fine if you’re just starting out or if your inventory isn’t super diverse, but down the road, you’re going to want custom shipping profiles that set prices based on an evolving set of metrics.
Why not tackle that task now? Spring cleaning your shipping profile doesn’t require the same amount of elbow grease as scrubbing your hardwood floors, and the result is even more satisfying.
Here are some tips on how to straighten up your shipping profile:
1. Consider customer expectations
Your shipping profile is set by you, but in many ways, it’s also set by your customers. Take the time to understand your customer base:
- What key demographics define them?
- What type of feedback have you received from them in the past?
- What are their expectations on shipping and the customer experience in terms of cost and speed?
This information will help you set accurate standards.
2. Know your processing times
Processing times vary by product type. How much production time do you need between order placement and shipping fulfillment? This information is essential and allows you to set your shipping profile with realistic expectations.
3. Factor in carrier rules
Shipping profiles can feel messy and complicated if you rely on multiple shipping carriers. UPS, USPS, FedEx and other carriers all have different rules on weight methods and delivery expectations. When dealing with multiple vendors, it is important not to view them as a monolith because shipping costs and rules vary for each carrier.
4. Account for fulfillment locations
It’s not just about where you’re shipping to — it’s about where you’re shipping from. Fulfillment locations can include warehouses, retail stores and home offices, and shipping rates should be determined by the location you’re shipping from. As your business grows, you will likely have multiple fulfillment centers (if you don’t already). Shipping profiles should set rates for each fulfillment center.
5. Identify common shipping locations
This brings us to our next point: Where are you most frequently shipping to? Shipping profiles should have various rates for shipping locally, across the country, or across the world if you are set to ship internationally. Changing tariffs affect this, so it’s wise to keep up with these regulations if you ship products on a global scale. Don't forget, you can see your most frequently shipped to locations from your 71lbs dashboard!
6. Adjust for fragile and oversized items
Shipping profiles should account for fragile and/or oversized items if you ship these at all. Fragile items typically incur additional costs as a result of special packaging and padding that they require, not to mention additional care the carrier must put into handling them.
Likewise, heavy items require different shipping methods and more specialized services. And don’t forget about specialty items such as perishables, which also require unique materials and shipping methods.
If you are shipping a product that costs you more, your shipping profile should account for that.
7. Use data to ship smarter
Cleaning up your shipping profile isn’t exactly as straightforward as cleaning the counters in your home. There are a lot of moving parts based on what you ship, how you ship it, where you ship it and which carriers you use along the way. This is where data comes into play.
Using data to keep track of carriers will help straighten up your shipping profile in a way that keeps customers happy and puts back money in your pocket that might otherwise be lost to logistics oversights.
71lbs analytics services are designed to help companies like yours get shipping operations on track with data. Our service provides reports that help streamline inefficiencies, automate proof of delivery, dispute fraudulent claims and make your life easier. Whether you’re shipping dozens, hundreds or thousands of different products, our customized tools can help you understand the shipping process and allow you to get back to running your business.
At 71lbs, we focus on two things: a) helping customers save money on shipping, and b) helping customers understand their shipping costs. We provide refunds and savings on shipping insurance, freight and imports, among other benefits. Our automated dashboard displays easy-to-understand shipping costs and insights so you can make better business decisions. Drop by the contact page to get in touch!