One way to get ahead of the game is to encourage your customers to shop early. Nothing beats a long window of opportunity when it comes to shipping. Campaigns, incentives, and bonuses will light the fire under the feet of gift-givers eager to put shopping behind them and to ensure their selections arrive at least on time, if not early.
Obviously pricing incentives offer enticing opportunities. Discounts, two-for-ones, reduced shipping costs, and any of the traditional ways to ease pain in the wallet are a great place to start. Using the “Black Friday” tradition – which has morphed into a multi-week or even multi-month strategy – is one way to pull in customers. Processing early orders with a clearly defined shipping date range into the future instills confidence.
The upside of 2022 is its distance from the pandemic-plagued 2020 and 2021. The downside? Pricing. Expect higher shipping rates from virtually every service, for a variety of reasons including an increase in the price of fuel. Earlier this year, FedEx bumped up package and freight rates by a whopping 5.9 percent on average.
Are you the type of e-commerce retailer who can use gig drivers? If so, consider contacting Uber or Lyft and ask about competitive pricing. Especially great for last-minute or later purchases, they offer customized delivery without the red tape of larger shipping companies and, especially, the Post Office. It’s important to begin this partnership as soon as possible to reserve services as well as calculate a cost-savings assessment. Conventional mail through USPS and/or FedEx and UPS are probably a default shipping method, but for purchases that may be more suitable for these up-and-coming services. Note that the ecommerce giant Amazon increasingly relies on private carriers, with great success.
Need a few reminders and ideas for a hassle-free season? Listen up:
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
Code Red for Ecommerce: Using Universal Product Codes for International Shipping
E-commerce hits on a dynamic set of options when considered a global entity. US-based sellers enjoy a large market due to its simple population figures, but what happens when you want to expand your horizons and sales, and ship internationally?
There are factors at play, and each should be explored. Besides shipping costs and difficulties in communications at times, a major element relates to trade customs and duties. Thankfully, there is a universal code assignment system to ease the pain of having to formulate your own procedure.
Classifying products goes to the heart of custom and duty requirements, or taxes paid to governments in the course of trade. Tracking the type of goods being imported and exported is a primary function of all governments, and not every category is equal. If you endeavor to spread your sales territory across borders, get up to speed on the concept of clarifying the type of sale you’re making, and stay within the compliance expectations of various purchasers to maintain good relations. Even though the importer (seller) is technically responsible for paying customs and duty fees, purposely mischaracterizing the goods category can land you and/or your buyer in hot water. At best, it may cost your buyer more in customs and duty fees.
Not that you needed more bad news to round out the myriad chaos surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic, but it could throw a curve into your business. And in a very, very bad way.
For a multitude of possible reasons, mail delivery through the United States Post Office has hit a major snag. Formerly a reliable service with on-time deliveries, the mother of all shipping magnates is bogged down with complications from various factors including sheer volume, employee shortages, and political wrangling.
An internal memo leaked to the press reveals that carriers are instructed to avoid overtime and unnecessary delays by leaving some mail at distribution centers if it may cause them to spend more time on their shift. A baffling development for the hundreds-year-old icon of delivery, this new policy follows a series of high-profile changes and concerns.
We’ll leave the messy controversy over this administration’s newly appointed Postmaster General alone for now, saying only that allegations of attempted election suppression are not helping. But the upshot is that mail delivery is increasingly faulty and late, with packages delivered to wrong addresses, delivered late, or not delivered at all. Bad for ecommerce.
The US Post Office experienced a massive $4.5 billion loss in revenues after its second quarter of this year. The reasons for that are complex and varied. The government-contracted agency is forced to find cost-cutting measures. For obvious reasons, this is an unimaginable ecommerce nightmare. Doing your part as a vendor to market, lure, sell, and package merchandise is hard enough. Now knowing that your good faith attempts to get it sent to buyers may be in vain is more than you should have to accept.
Pres. Trump has suggested the USPS triple or quadruple shipping prices. While some don’t take that seriously, it implies an intent to adjust pricing, at very least. That will impact your bottom line.