The eCommerce industry is witnessing staggering growth, with sales surpassing an $876 billion mark in the first quarter of 2021. With these numbers advancing into the new year, we can expect it to cross an unprecedented $1 trillion in 2022. Even if we talk specifically about India, where eCommerce is becoming a household name, the projection shows more than 40 percent for the current year.
With eCommerce becoming the customer’s preferred choice for purchase, especially amidst the pandemic, the logistics industry is gaining ground with each passing day. Since sellers across multiple online platforms receive a more significant number of sales, they are ultimately turning to logistics for fulfilling their orders.
On the one hand, these emerging orders are being passed onto traditional courier services such as FedEx, Bluedart, Delhivery, etc. While on the other hand, several eCommerce sellers are leveraging third-party logistics platforms offering courier aggregator services.
Today anybody with a business idea and the support of suitable suppliers can start their online business. They can easily create their website from scratch or create a profile to sell on a marketplace like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. Similarly, it’s easy to partner with shipping services and start fulfilling orders anywhere in India.
However, with the increasing number of options for the sales channel and shipping partners, it isn’t easy to choose just one. For the customers, eCommerce doesn’t just mean purchasing goods and getting them delivered to their homes. Instead, the entire experience of order fulfillment is a point of convergence for their satisfaction. That’s one of the critical things sellers must keep in mind while laying out an order fulfillment plan. Here’s an insight into eCommerce shipping in India-
Formulating a Shipping Strategy
The foundation of your shipping strategy must be robust since it shapes your business along with your customer experience. There is no denying that you can always come back and make changes to it as per the insights, but you’ve still had to build for a good start. There are critical decisions at every step that you carefully need to take by analyzing different parameters and learning along the way. But, for the Indian eCommerce scenario, an ideal shipping strategy must consider-
The weight of your products is essential for your shipping strategy. That’s because your shipping charges are directly dependent on them. It’s best to weigh the products in advance and get a fair sense of your shipping costs. This practice will streamline your logistics and help you plan your total product costs that will be charged to the customer.
Different types of shipping methods will help you reach out to a more spread across customer base. For example, it is natural that while some of your customers want their deliveries via express mode, others opt for standard delivery. Similarly, you will have to figure out if you’re willing to offer free shipping or flat rate shipping.
Another most important thing that should be top of your list while formulating your shipping strategy is shipping rates. Shipping rates are responsible for a significant chunk of your business costs. For this reason, you’ll need to look for a courier provider that offers low-cost shipping services. While several sellers sign up at individual courier partners like Bluedart, Delhivery, etc., third-party logistics companies like Shyplite provide a unified platform where eCommerce sellers can leverage 30+ low-cost courier services at no additional costs.
Type of Packaging
The packaging of your product plays a crucial role in determining the success of your brand. In other words, while there’s packaging that helps keep your product safe during transit, there is also a different kind that helps in branding.
The Process of eCommerce Shipping
An essential step to ace eCommerce shipping in India is to understand the shipping process. This starts from creating a definite shipping policy for your customers, understanding your goals more comprehensively, and monitoring the progress as you go along the way. Remember that the first step begins with inventory management. You might have considerable plans to sell on different channels such as your website, marketplace like Amazon, Flipkart, etc. However, unless your inventory is managed and in sync, master or channel catalog, things might go haphazard.
Good inventory management goes a long way in seamless order fulfillment. You should know about the products you’re currently selling and the ones that might be a good opportunity. Keep your best-selling products in stock and make sure you have greater business visibility.
Similarly, your policy page must be a part of your shipping process. It will help you build trust with customers and take the burden of unnecessary shipping-related queries off your customer support team.
Deciding on Your Shipping Goals
This is often underestimated in the context of eCommerce in India. Several eCommerce sellers go on with their order fulfillment without realizing how shipping is impacting their business. If you’re planning to grow your eCommerce enterprise, your shipping strategy must have goals. It indeed depends on the kind of products you’re selling, but many will be synonymous across all types. For example, expanding your reach, decreasing your business costs, increasing operational efficiency, greater conversions, etc., are some goals that every business strives to achieve. Shipping can be leveraged to achieve these with the assistance of the right logistics partner.
Choosing the Best Shipping Options
Once you consider the right parameters to focus on for your business, it’s time to discover the best shipping options. For example, it’s easy to get confused about offering standard shipping, express shipping, flat-rate shipping, etc. While there is no end to the options, you can suggest, managing them daily turns out to be a big hassle. Try to understand what your target customers expect. Standard shipping will help you deliver a parcel in about 7-10 days, while express shipping reduces the time significantly to next-day delivery. Similarly, if you’re planning to target an overseas market, international shipping with the right courier partner can be a hassle-free affair.
The Question of Shipping Costs
Whether to offer free shipping or not has been the dilemma of sellers ever since eCommerce picked up the pace. While there is no mystery that customers love to get their products delivered free of cost, it is the burden that falls on the seller’s shoulders. The idea is that with Amazon ruling the eCommerce market, expectations of the customers have risen. They want an Amazon-like experience, including free deliveries offered in the Prime subscription plan, from every seller. This forceful adoption is one of the biggest eCommerce challenges of modern times. However, the only way out is partnering with a low-cost logistics partner that optimizes the delivery solution on several parameters like delivery location, the weight of the package, speed of delivery, etc.
Taking Care of Packaging and Branding
Packaging and branding form the critical components of order fulfillment. As an eCommerce seller, it is one of your primary duties to take care of these for your business. While utility packaging is a must to keep your products safe during the transit period, branded packaging helps you renown your brand. With branded packaging solutions, you can help your customers know that they’re treasured and the package is coming from your brand. In other words, you create an experience. But, if you don’t want to invest so much in packaging, utility packaging materials such as envelopes, mailers, craft papers, poly mailers, bubble wraps, etc., can be easily availed from a local supplier.
Finding the Best Logistics Partner
Choosing the ideal shipping solution for your business can be a tricky affair. Individual courier partners such as Delhivery, Bluedart, Gati, Xpressbees, etc., are becoming popular among sellers. However, it all comes down to reducing the manual work and automating order fulfillment as much as possible. This is where third-party logistics partners like Shyplite play a significant role in redefining your eCommerce business. These platforms help a seller create bulk orders, print labels, manage inventory, keep track of shipping performance, and send customers notifications, all by leveraging automation.
One-Stop Logistics Solution with Shyplite
Modern eCommerce revolves all around the customer experience. If you’re able to create a space in the customer’s heart, you earn their loyalty. For this, logistics plays a key role. Shyplite being one of India’s top logistics solutions, provides functionalities and shipping remedies to eCommerce sellers by studying the Indian market. The focus is not just to enable sellers to ship using multiple courier services but also to provide the end customers with an unparalleled experience through logistics. For this, Shylite offers a wide array of technologically robust solutions such as undelivered order management tools, AI-based choice of best courier partner, end-to-end customer notifications and branded tracking page, inventory management, 360-degree seller support, among others. One of the most striking features of the platform is its low shipping costs that come without any kind of subscription fee. With Shyplite, sellers don’t just fulfill orders. They deliver an experience.
eCommerce shipping in India can be one of the biggest challenges for sellers if they fail to act on a strategy. While many of these depend on the type of product you’re shipping, it all comes down to adopting the right practices and finding the best logistics solution for eCommerce. With the right shipping partner by your side, you can step ahead of the market competition, act upon your shortcomings, and provide an experience to the customer at the same time.