Online shopping is thriving. In fact, the number of South African e-commerce shoppers is expected to reach 37.9 million by 2027. Consumers are drawn to the convenience, availability and speed – and perhaps most of all, hassle-free delivery.
Choosing the right courier for your e-commerce website is important to ensure the timely and reliable delivery of your products to customers – an important step in your customer’s experience with your business.
Here are some questions to ask yourself when deciding on the right courier for your business.
Can they meet your delivery requirements?
For many online stores, your shipping terms can be one of the factors that sets you apart from your competitors, especially when it comes to guarantees like free delivery, and express same-day or next-day delivery. The courier you choose needs to be able to uphold those terms so you can fulfil your guarantee to your customers. Considerations that will need to be discussed include the location of your customers and the number of products you expect to ship on a weekly basis.
What is their track record?
Even one bad customer experience can affect your business’s reputation. You might lose repeat business or receive a bad review. It’s important to look at the service history and reviews of potential shipping partners to ensure that customer service is as important to them as it is to your business.
Not being able to meet your website’s stated shipping terms can quickly erode customer trust. Before you sign any agreement with a courier company, use their services yourself to test out their service.
Do they offer insurance?
Not being able to fulfil your customers’ orders is a worst-case scenario no business owner wants to see happen. Insurance provides the peace of mind of knowing that loss or damage to your products is covered should the unexpected happen.
Compare your potential couriers’ insurance policies before making a choice.
Can they integrate with your e-commerce website?
Being able to integrate courier services into your e-commerce store removes the risk of human error by automating the shipping process, allowing you to keep track of your orders. This streamlines the order process for both you and your customers. Having tracking software in place is essential to remain competitive – very few online retailers don’t offer this service.
Do they offer simple returns?
With online shopping, a customer cannot return an item to a physical store. Many online retailers offer free returns where the customer is spared paying for the courier collection. You will need to come to an agreement with your shipping partner that aligns with your return policy.
What are the costs?
Shipping costs are usually based on the type, weight and size of the parcel as well as the product’s final destination.
Prices can vary based on:
- Your type of packaging (basic or branded)
- Customs and taxes (mostly applicable to international shipments)
Look for a courier partner that offers your e-commerce store the best combination of value for money and service in the long run.
While e-commerce store owners using WordPress can choose from a variety of courier plugins, xneelo Managed WordPress Hosting offers the 2Ship integration as a convenient value-add for customers that have WooCommerce installed as well as for users of the Athletic e-commerce Starter Site.
What is 2Ship?
2Ship is a shipping integration, or aggregator, that provides access to multiple couriers at a time from a single, convenient dashboard. Online store owners can select the fastest or cheapest courier option for each package from their dashboard, depending on what their delivery requirements are. Couriers available via 2Ship include many of the local businesses South Africans are familiar with including The Courier Guy, Citi-Sprint, CourierIT and DPD Laser.
This type of service has the advantage of choice and value for money, as store owners can choose terms depending on both their and their customers’ needs.
When choosing a courier for your e-commerce store, it’s essential to strike a balance between cost, reliability, and efficiency without compromising on your customer’s experience. Choose wisely and your shipping policy can be what sets your online store apart.
Want to read more on this topic? We recommend How to prepare your e-commerce store for busy shopping periods.