Dropshipping and e-commerce are becoming more & more prevalent in the UK retail market. More of us buy online and having access to international products and designs has made e-commerce a huge part of the British economy.
There are lots of different companies and organisations who can offer services to support e-commerce businesses, providing an e-commerce shipping service, but if you are new to online retail, and not sure where to start, here are some things to look out for that we hope are useful!
1. Working in partnership
Especially if you are launching a new store online, or are just starting out in the world of e-commerce, you want the support of a great e-commerce fulfilment partner who will take the time to understand what your products are, who you are selling them to, and be invested in growing your business alongside you.
Make sure that when you are considering e-commerce fulfilment partners you have a good rapport with your fulfilment provider; after all, they will be responsible for how your customers receive their orders, and you need to make sure your products represent your online store in the best possible way!
2. Transparent costs
When you are looking for a fulfilment provider, make sure you understand exactly what the costs are. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; the best e-commerce fulfilment companies will be more than happy to explain what services they can offer, make suggestions for which solutions are best suited to your store and your products, and will have no qualms about providing breakdowns.
Keep an eye out for ‘hidden fees’ like management costs and take the time to ask every question you might have.
3. Understand your shipping
One of the most expensive parts of running an e-commerce business or an online marketplace is the postage – every order you receive needs to be posted, and if you are offering free P&P to your customers it is important to understand what this cost is & make sure you are accounting for it in your pricing.
Cheaper shipping rates are available so take the time to ask around and compare quotes from different couriers and postal providers. It may be that your third party logistics provider can offer better rates than you are quoted directly, but it is worth getting some comparable prices together to make sure you are getting the best deal for the products you are selling online, and the destinations you expect to ship to.
4. Presentation is everything!
Every brand has it’s own unique style and personality, and your online sales should be no different. There are simple and effective ways to make your e-commerce orders stand out from the crowd; think about what your customer wants to experience when they receive a delivery from you!
Talk to your e-commerce shipping provider about packaging; if you produce branded stickers or labels yourself it might cost nothing to have them added to every package, and most good e-commerce fulfilment companies will be happy to work with you to look at what packaging you use. Either you can supply packaging yourself and ask your fulfilment company to wrap and package your products for you, or you can ask them to quote for sourcing the packaging you need.
There are lots of companies who can make bespoke packaging too – it is a more expensive option, but if you have unusual size or shape products which are not likely to be sent in traditional packaging, or your products are high-end expensive luxury items that need special packaging, take a look and see what ideas you can find!
The take away is – ask every question you need to. Starting a new business or enterprise is a learning curve for us all, and there are never any silly questions. We work with lots of clients who have found themselves burdened with costs they didn’t expect, or who have inadvertently signed up to less than ideal contracts, so make sure you completely understand all the service options and costs, and find an e-commerce fulfilment partner who wants to work, and thrive, alongside you!
Have questions? Need some advice? Get in touch!
Give us a ring on 01424 559169, email firstname.lastname@example.org or pop in & see us on Castleham Industrial Estate in Hastings, East Sussex.