Whether you’re a sole artisan or a retail chain, you need an effective protocol for shipping products.

Not only do you have to get the products in customers’ hands, but it’s also integral to your customer service strategy, not just your supply chain.

As eCommerce continues to soar, so do the expectations of online shoppers.

One study published in Retail Drive found that 62% of online consumers expect free shipped products to arrive at their doorsteps in as little as three days.

Free shipping itself is one (very effective) way to encourage consumers to spend more online. However, it puts more pressure on you (the supplier) to meet delivery expectations.

Free and fast shipping are two cornerstones of a well-oiled supply chain strategy. Keep reading to discover more ways to optimize your approach to shipping.

1. Improve Shipping Communications With Customers

Sometimes it’s not enough to guarantee free and fast shipping for customer orders over a certain threshold. You never know when an unexpected event could delay processes.

The best example to look at is the weather. Major weather events like east coast snowstorms or hurricanes interrupt normal shipping times. All businesses need a way to effectively communicate delays with customers.

One way to tackle this problem is to include tracking tools with orders.

For example, it’s best practice to send a confirmation email to customers after they’ve made a purchase. It’s even better when you automate the process, ensuring that the customer receives their confirmation promptly after checkout.

Confirmations are like digital receipts that itemize purchases, including shipping. By including a tracking tool (with a carrier’s tracking number) customers aren’t left in the dark about delivery times. This tool is especially helpful during the holidays when deliveries are notoriously delayed.

This point also speaks to the importance of allowing customers to sign into your website to create a profile. This way, your customers can view all of their orders, including the status of their deliveries en route.

2. Optimize Your Shipping Labels

Do you process returns at your business?

The quickest way to facilitate returns (without the hassle) is to include extra shipping labels with client orders. Your customers don’t have to go out of their way to buy a new box.

Even better, you can use customized shipping labels to market your business even more!

Simply print your logo on your labels. Apply the same rule to all of your packaging supplies, including wrapping paper. You’ll need to scale your logo to the appropriate size so that customers (and their friends!) can view it clearly.

3. Include “Thank You Notes” and Free Gifts When Shipping Products

Want to encourage customers to come back?

Improve your customer retention strategy with free gifts and thank-you notes. Plus, it’s a great way to promote more of your products.

Have an exciting product that’s waiting to launch?

Include sample-sized versions in customer orders to boost interest in your new product line.

Lastly, placing a printed thank-you note on top of their product is a great way to wrap up the experience. You could even include a feedback card to help optimize your sales strategy.

Optimize Your Shipping Options

As a retailer, you can’t avoid going online. Create a foolproof strategy for shipping products that retain customers.

Remember to focus on communication, print marketing, and free gifts to encourage more sales.

The blog is also updated with ideas to help!