So you’ve decided to open an online store.
Brave, exciting and smart move.
You’re capitalising on the 65% of the population now shopping online.
These shoppers are the future of retail. They understand the value and convenience of shopping from home with a glass of wine, sitting in their undies, with Friends reruns playing in the background.
What an image.
That’s the future of online shopping right there – and your perfect customer.
Selling online is an intelligent decision for an aspiring entrepreneur. Running a website has never been easier, and there is a treasure trove of affordable resources and technology options available to help you run a successful ecommerce store.
There’s just the small issue of transporting your products – an issue still giving even the most experienced of online store owners logistics-themed nightmares.
Fulfilment, logistics and creating a successful shipping strategy are critical elements of running a profitable ecommerce business.
And not all courier services are created equally.
After rigorous research, Canstar Blue have found seven common things small business makers look for when they’re choosing their courier of choice.
Keep these vital considerations in mind deciding on your own courier – after all, this choice could mean the difference between happy customers and shutting your virtual doors.
I want to explain why each one of these seven considerations is so important.
#1. Reliability of service
It goes without saying – if a courier service is reliable, half the job is done.
There’s no amount of money to replace a service that has your back, 100% of the time.
Do a bit of research and read a stack of reviews before selecting a courier. Feedback from fellow online store owners will give you a better overall idea of each supplier’s performance. Just remember, there will always be an unhappy customer who has transformed into an Internet troll.
#2. Value for money
Every ecommerce startup needs to get value for their hard-earned dollars. Any outgoing expenses mean you have to make extra sales. Bootstrapping is a difficult experience, and you can’t afford to be ripped off by a courier.
In many cases, you do get what you pay for. Go into your research with an open mind and remember, you can always absorb the postage rate into the listed price of your products.
Customers are willing to pay for postage, but it’s a risky line to toe.
Check out our dedicated article on what delivery options your customers really want for more info on the free/paid shipping debacle.
#3. The speed of delivery
Is there anything better than exceeding expectations?
That’s what generates repeat customers.
And repeat customers = sustainable ecommerce profitability.
Exceeding a customer’s’ delivery expectations fosters trust, loyalty and word of mouth referrals.
And no one likes the waiting period between ordering a product and the doorstep delivery drop.
If you know a particular courier offers shipping speeds far superior to their competitors – you’re onto a winner.
Just make sure their speed is supported by accuracy and care – you don’t want your customer to receive their box of goodies, only to open it and have those goodies shattered into pieces (unless of course, it’s a puzzle, in which case you’re good to go).
#4. Good customer service upon pick-up
No one likes a grumpy courier.
A courier service with stellar customer service is a courier service who knows how to run a business.
Couriers are the face of the business – they become an extension of your brand.
People care more about the package being delivered than they do about the company delivering it.
Do your research (heck, even buy things using the courier service and give them a test drive) and make sure you’re making the right decision for your customers.
#5. Couriers that have a call centre
If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood…
Who you gonna call?
The importance of having someone on the other end of the phone is important for more than just capturing ghosts.
If you’ve got a shipping problem, who you gonna call?
Your friendly courier customer service team.
When it comes to shipping and logistics, never underestimate the power of touch points and support networks. If you have a last minute crisis and something goes wrong, you want a real human to chip in and help you out straight away.
#6. Effective problem resolution
Running a burgeoning online business is stressful as it is, let alone when something goes awry.
And something will. It’s inevitable.
Minimise the chances of a shipping shamozzle by asking potential courier services questions. Ask about their process if a package goes missing, is damaged, or if it can’t be delivered.
Never be afraid to ask questions – if the courier values their customers, they will answer your queries and soothe your pre-shipping anxieties.
#7. Easy-to-use website or app
There’s no such thing as too much support.
And your courier doesn’t have a website with a quality user experience, you should expect more.
Courier services should be dedicated to their customers. A website (or app) that’s super easy to use is table stakes. You need to find the information you need in as little time as possible.
You’ve got yourself your seven-point checklist, now go forth and research.
If you’d prefer saving some serious time and money, consider using a courier aggregator service such as Transdirect.
Courier aggregator services allow your business to work with the best couriers in the industry – in fact, we work with three of the five best couriers for small business.