image of Shipping Methods for Ecommerce

Ecommerce is continuously growing, and businesses are often wondering what options they have in regards to fulfilling customer orders.

Click & Collect / Pick-up

Or better known in the old fashion phrase “pick-up”. This is simply where you can can ‘click’ and order a product online, then come in-store and pick it up. Hence the term coined ‘click & collect’.

Sounds fancy, but its very simple. With the evolution of ecommerce, people in many cases like purchasing a product that they can access as soon as possible. Especially if its something critical to a task they are doing.

For example, click and collect is a great option for those retailers in the Automotive industry. Car mechanics and DIY’ers generally need parts as soon as possible. Therefore, an Ecommerce store should always offer click and collect for these types of transactions, ensuring the customer has the ability to get those parts NOW, if they need that car back on the road.

Click and collect has also been named ‘contactless pickup’ as a result of COVID-19. Same concept essentially, however the product is handed over to the customer without human contact. Another important message to factor into your click and collect, during a lockdown for instance.

Aside from Click and collect, the other most utilised option is:

Standard Delivery Options

The most common way to fulfil an online order is using delivered option.

This is when a customer can buy online, enter their shipping details and receive the order delivered straight to their door.

Delivery is unfortunately quite a complex issue for online stores.

There is the constant balance of trying to charge enough to cover shipping costs, but also not over-charge so that a customer is put-off ordering from your store when shipping prices go through the roof!

Put simply, the best way we have found to charge shipping to a customer is via a ‘flat-rate’ system, and offering ‘free shipping’ for orders over a certain value. This means your customer can visit your website, and known within a few seconds of landing there, shipping is (for example) $10, and “if I spend over $99” I get “free shipping”.

The main shipping options we suggest clients use include:

NZ Post

One of the best known shipping companies in NZ. NZ Post has an API which means your website can connect to their system and help calculate prices for shipping and also find correct delivery address details.

GoSweetSpot / ParcelPort

All aggregators of shipping options from various providers. This is a recommended route for businesses who want to scale and streamline their shipping options both for themselves but also the customer.

These providers plug-in to a website and help deliver shipping prices for various carriers in one result. Which is excellent for those who want to select a specific carrier or price-point (which varies on how fast the item is delivered and whether it requires a signature etc).

If you don’t “integrate” with providers such as those mentioned above, there are other ways to calculate shipping for orders:

Volume & Weight-Based shipping

This is where the weight dictates the cost of shipping for an order. So if you have products that are of varying volumes and weights, you can better bill the shipping rate that is required for that product you are selling.

This is great for businesses such as furniture stores, electronics & appliances and so-forth.

The only issue with this method is a customer is less confident when browsing of whether they can afford the shipping price because its not directly displayed on the website.

The main benefit for the retailer is the margin on a sale is much more predictable because the shipping cost is more accurate. For retailers with flat-rate shipping, the cost sending the order may outweigh the flat-rate paid by the customer and thus eats into the margins that every business relies on.

Region-Based shipping

This is commonly used among businesses who have product that is similar weight and size, where the customer enters their address and the shipping cost is calculated (be it flat rate or variable) on their region.

This is often used in New Zealand when retailers are posting products to a rural address.

Another benefit of region-based shipping is its more easy to communicate with the customer what shipping rates they’ll be expecting to pay based on where they live. And customers who live close to the location of your shop / distribution centre are going to benefit from paying a lower rate compared to others as they are in the local region where shipping is cheaper. Versus for instance charging a flat-rate where some local customers may feel they are overpaying for delivery.

Where many businesses overlook the complexities and considerations required when setting up shipping processes for their Ecommerce store, hopefully from this article you found some useful options to consider when setting up shipping for your online store!