One of the most crucial elements of fulfilling your first order online is the shipping process. There are a multitude of things you may need to manage before a customer can choose a delivery method that they want to use to receive any kind of product you are selling.
There is always an operating cost running your online store, and it's up to you to decide whether you should absorb a portion of that cost from a fixed shipping rate, or implement a free shipping strategy with higher product prices in total. Shipping is complex, and managing shipping methods without the right approach can be tough.
If a customer visits your store and decides to check out certain items, they may need to choose a way of delivery based on the location of where they live, the shipping cost to receive the product, and the different shipping services you have to offer.
Before you dive into further details, it is always good to have a fundamental understanding of what tools & features you will be working with, and the different shipping rates you can offer to your customers.
Setting up your general shipping profile
Having a general shipping profile set up and ready to go is the first step to fulfilling any orders placed in your store. Shipping makes up most of your cost basis to process an order. You will need to decide on what shipping strategy you would like to implement on orders in different regions at what cost. Please see Set up your general shipping profile for an in-depth tutorial.
Creating a custom shipping profile
A general shipping profile gives access to most of the tools & features managing your shipping. Whereas a Custom shipping profile allows you to make exclusive settings for individual products. As a seller or store owner, you may have multiple warehouses in different locations. Some of these locations might get to your customers faster than others based on where your customer lives and with multiple points of distribution, delivery time can be cut down dramatically.
You may have negotiated fixed rates based on the locations of distribution centers. This is where the potential shipping rate varies and a Custom shipping profile can be used.
Shipping isn't just about the cost of doing your business, it is a strategic lever to create a better customer experience. By setting clear expectations with your shipping strategy, you’ll ensure customers have a consistent and positive experience when they shop with you. A good shipping strategy improves conversion rates and expands your business internationally. To learn more on how to create a better shipping strategy, please refer to Shipping strategy.
Having a dropshipping business allows you to sell without a brick-and-mortar storefront. This method eliminates any upfront inventory costs or shipping logistics. With dropshipping, products are sent directly from your wholesalers to your customers. You, as the seller, are only in charge of fulfilling orders by outsourcing to a third-party supplier to ship your product. However, your shipping profiles should be exactly aligned with theirs to avoid unnecessary costs.
For more information regarding dropshipping, have a look at our help doc here.