Why Merchants Should Act Now To Stop Shipping Errors
You’ve seen it before: You get a returned package that couldn’t find its way to the customer. Now, you have to spend time and money getting in touch with the customer and reshipping the product.
The culprit could be a typo. It could be a missing apartment or suite number. Perhaps the zip code was wrong. Whatever the cause, you’re the one stuck footing the bill.
Shipping errors are extremely common for online merchants. They’re also costly. And they’re completely out of your control—or are they?
We’ll offer the answer to that later. For now, let’s pretend you could stop shipping errors before they happen. What benefits would this ability offer your online store?
Save money on lost products and reshipping costs.
Some shipments get sucked into a vortex, never to reach their final destination. Others end up on your doorstep, returned because they were unable to locate the recipient. Both of these situations cost you money. By preventing shipping errors, you can eliminate these costs.
Don’t lose any more business.
Shipping errors place other financial burdens on merchants, too. An order that takes too long due to a shipping error could end up getting canceled, for example.
It doesn’t seem fair that your store would be penalized when the shopper made the mistake. But in retail, the customer is always right. (We’ll explain why that’s important in a second.)
Lost sales obviously affect your bottom line. But there’s more than just the immediately quantifiable costs that shipping errors cost…
Keep your customers happy.
When you avoid shipping mistakes, you’re much more likely to keep your customers happy. And keeping your customers happy…well, that’s the key to a successful online business.
Repeat business represents the bulk of sales for any truly powerful merchant. It’s so much more difficult to convert a new customer than it is to convince someone who has already bought to buy again. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t focus on getting new customers—but it means keeping current customers means spending less to build a continuing revenue stream that could last for years.
Hassle around a shipped product, especially on a first order, could ruin your relationship with that customer. If you can stop that hassle from happening, there’s a much better chance you can create a long-term customer.
Worried this article is living a fantasy? Worry no more. 3dcart has you covered.
Stop shipping errors with 3dcart’s Address Verification add-on.
Our new Address Verification add-on is exactly what merchants need to stop shipping errors before they happen. It’s a tool that works in real-time to confirm addresses in the UPS database before your customer completes the checkout process.
If Address Verification finds a closely related match, it updates the shopper’s address and gives him the opportunity to review his order before it’s processed. If multiple possible addresses come up, the feature presents the shopper with the options, and he chooses the correct one.
You can get started with Address Verification through the 3dcart App Store.
How Much A Faulty Address Will Cost You
What online merchant hasn’t dealt with bad address problems?
It happens. And it’s out of your control. After all, you can’t sit and watch your customer every time she makes an order. How would you even know whether or not the address is correct?
When a bad address is entered on one or two orders, the penalties don’t seem to add up to much. But customers enter bad addresses more often than that. For a large retail organization, these penalties can become substantial losses. For a smaller organization, they can be crippling to your bottom line.
How much does a bad address cost you? Here’s a quick look at how FedEx structures address correction fees.
- FedEx for Packages: For smaller packages through FedEx, you’ll incur an $11 charge for address correction.
- FedEx for Freight: For larger freight items, you’re looking at $65 fee.
- FedEx for Multiweight (Express): Dealing with address correction for multiple packages weighing more than 200 pounds will cost $84.
- FedEx for Multiweight (Ground): This one runs up a $38.15 tab.
None of these are negligible for an ecommerce business of any size. UPS and other shipping companies charge similar rates.
At 3dcart, we heard from customers who had these issues, and we resolved to do something about it. That’s where the idea for our new Address Verification add-on came from.
Address Verification for 3dcart Merchants
Address Verification is a brand new service that we’re proud to offer our merchants. It’s a simple system that works on without your intervention, adding to 3dcart’s suite of automation tools targeting more efficient online business.
Most importantly, it helps merchants recoup the losses from faulty addresses by preventing them.
We’ve put together two scenarios to show how Address Verification works. Here’s an automatic address replacement scenario.
- The shopper inputs his address information on the checkout page. He accidentally switches two numbers in his zip code.
- The Address Verification module scours the USPS database for a matching address. With the faulty information, it won’t find one. It does, however, find a closely related match with the correct address information.
- It updates the address information on the next page of the checkout, prompting the shopper to review the address. The error is fixed before the shipment goes out, saving you the cost and hassle of correcting the error.
Here’s another scenario. In this case, Address Verification finds multiple matches.
- The shopper inputs her address information on the checkout page. This time, she forgets to add the suffix after the street name, Briar.
- The Address Verification module hits the database again, but it finds two possible matches. One is for “Briar St.” and the other is for “Briar Court.”
- On the next page, the shopper is prompted to choose the correct option, ensuring the package is delivered to the correct address.
New Built-in USPS Shipping Labels Printing with DYMO Endicia Integration
Our 5.1 Version release from January, brings to all 3dcart merchants a new integration DYMO Endicia®, the leading provider of postage technology solutions. The integration with Endicia Label Server (ELS) simplifies printing of U.S. Postal Service® (USPS®) labels, eliminating the need for a third-party software. The new feature is now available to all 3dcart’s online merchants.
Even when the capability of printing USPS Shipping labels has been available to merchants for a long time, it was simply for delivery confirmation purposes and it wasn’t possible to include Pre-paid Postage on these. Now 3dcart users can print Pre-paid USPS labels directly from the 3dcart admin interface, in the same manner that it’s currently available for UPS and FEDEX.
Customers view Endicia as vital to their business because we help them save time, money, and resources and increase efficiency. Whether you’re a high-volume warehouse shipper, operating an e-commerce site from a garage, or simply trying to get invoices out before the day is over, Endicia can help.
As a special promotion to 3dcart merchants, Endicia is offering a 60 Day Free-Trial of the Endicia Label Server solution ($15.95/mo) and 15% OFF the DYMO 4XL Label Printer.
For more information, visit http://www.3dcart.com/ecommerce-apps/endicia-shopping-cart.htm
If you have hundreds or thousands of SKUs to manage throughout the peak ecommerce season, then you’re most likely to understand how painful and stressful managing your inventory can be. I bet you have tons of inventory, hundreds of customers, and inefficient methods like Excel for keeping track of all your supplies.
Let’s say you run a jewelry business, you enjoy crafting beautiful works of art using beaded jewelry and are likely struggling to manage the business side. You need to figure out how much to sell your jewelry for to stay profitable while also managing to order the proper amount of supplies as demand changes. The proper inventory management system will allow you to focus on selling your beaded jewelry while spending less time crunching numbers and dealing with homemade spreadsheets.
Here are three important features to keep in mind when looking at a software package to buy for your ecommerce business:
One of the most difficult parts of running an ecommerce business is handling and tracking the items in your inventory. This is very important when evaluating a software package for your business. Keeping track of your inventory will allow you to monitor supply costs and labor as well as help you set the correct price level for piece of product you make and sell.
Instantly Adjust Inventory
The pick, pack, and ship process is the core of every online retail transaction. Great inventory management software will instantly adjust your inventory when an order is placed on your online store, automatically create packing lists of what needs to be package and shipped. With all this information at your fingertips, your pick, pack, and ship process will require much less time and effort. Speeding this process up is a great time and money saver for your business.
Customer Tracking and Order Fulfillment
Tracking your past clients orders will allow you to inform them about sales and new products you want to promote. Order fulfillment is just as important. Customers are more impatient than ever, and efficiency matters if you want to retain your clients. A great inventory management software package will allow you to easily track the status of your inventory and will make it easy to manage and fulfill orders from start to finish.
Exclusive Inventory Management Holiday Gift for 3dCart Merchants
First 100 merchants to sign up between December 1st and 31st will receive the month of January for FREE. Go to sync my inventory, sign up, and you’ll receive a custom coupon code.
This is a guest post by Kate Alegado, Marketing Coordinator at Bizelo, a software development firm focused on creating small business apps that work simply and simply work. She runs the company’s marketing initiatives, partnerships, and social networks. Find her on Twitter @katealgeado
Our friends at ShipStation have created a useful guide for remembering all of the important holiday shipping dates coming up in the next couple months. Their infographic reminds merchants that FedEx, UPS, and USPS all have some special closures and rules for shipping over the next few weeks and even provides a super useful “ship by” calendar so that you can get all your packages get to customers on time.
3dcart’s CTO and co-founder Jimmy Rodriguez recently shared eCommerce fulfillment expertise with the writers of softwareadvice.com in the article “The Starter’s Guide to Effective eCommerce Fulfillment.”
“Retailers who wish to maintain their own online storefront can often directly integrate their shopping cart software with Amazon and other fulfillment operations. Jimmy Rodriguez, co-founder and CTO of shopping cart software 3dcart, says approximately 30 percent of their 16,000 customers utilize one of its 13 fulfillment integrations.”
(PRLEAP.COM) To enhance shipping for small and midsize customers,OrderCup today announced a tight integration with leading ecommerce software provider 3dcart to provide a hosted shipping management service that handles shipping, order tracking, returns and more through leading carriers USPS, UPS and FedEx.
OrderCup offers a simple, easy to setup, affordable and customizable solution for 3dcart customers that manages the entire shipping process end-to-end, without signing up for supplemental services. Additionally, through OrderCup, 3dcart customers gain access to many value added services like discounted postage and insurance, free address validation and returns processing. You can visit the following link to learn more about the key capabilities provided by this integration.
“OrderCup automates administrative tasks like sending order tracking information to the customer, handling returns if needed and managing split orders, saving time and money for 3dcart customers,” said 3dcart CEO Gonzalo Gil. “With the holiday season approaching, OrderCup will greatly ease the shipping burden for online merchants.”
Because the service is web-based and fully integrated, customers can easily generate and print shipping labels for product returns through an online store, helping build brand loyalty and return customers-especially around the holidays. The rest of the feature set is equally simple to use for online merchants.
“As a trusted leader in ecommerce, 3dcart gives us the ability to expand our target audience and reach a community of more than 10,000 online merchants looking to bring greater efficiency to their businesses,” said OrderCup CEO Aloke Nath.
To learn more about how OrderCup can help 3dcart customers streamline their shipping operations, visit http://blog.3dcart.com/streamline-shipping-like-the-pros/
- Zoom Technology for Displaying High-Resolution Images: If you have high quality image of your products, your store can include a “Zoom” feature to each of your item’s images.
- Fully-Customizable Product Pages: 3DCart’s unique template design lets you have complete control over the layout of your product pages.
- Fully-Customizable Category Pages: 3DCart’s unique template design lets you have complete control over the layout of your category pages.
- Unlimited Images for Products with Flash Image Gallery: Upload unlimited images to each product and create an image gallery with the click of a button!
- Breadcrumbs and intuitive navigation.
- FTP Access to HTML Files
- Featured Products” on Homepage and Category Pages: Display items on sale on your home page and categories with the click of an option. Change items monthly, weekly or hourly if you like
- WYSIWYG Editor for Categories, Products and Content Pages: Use the built in web editor to add/edit content. Much like Microsoft Word, the editor is very simple to use and can be used to build and edit complex web-based documents without actually typing a word of HTML!
Learn more about 3dcart’s design features here!
For savvy online shoppers, finding “free shipping” is like discovering buried treasure. But can shipping really be free? Someone has to pay that shipping charge, and if you’re experimenting with the phrase “free shipping” in your marketing plan, that someone is bound to be you.
Still, it’s an enticing strategy. ComScore reports that 72 percent of online shoppers prefer free shipping.
For small merchant, the unfortunate truth is that free shipping can put a heavy burden on your profit margins. Unfortunately, if you change your product price to reflect that additional shipping fee, you’ll could drive smart shoppers, aka comparison shoppers, away from your store. BUT The Wharton Report finds that a handful of shoppers, about 30%, will pay more for a product if free shipping is included.
So what’s the best way to incorporate free shipping? If you can afford it, a short-term promotion to current customers or a “free shipping” coupon code posted on coupon websites is a great way to drive more traffic and convert more sales.
Another way you can incorporate free shipping into your sales process is to develop complementary shipping strategies for large orders. Again, this is simply a process of weighing your profit margins and how free shipping on large orders affects your rate of returning shoppers.
The big stores will always be able to offer free shipping. Remember that there are benefits to buying through a small-to-medium size shop for the customer; you can always tout those benefits in your marketing to beat out big-store competition.
To learn how to offer free sipping with 3dcart read our blog post here: