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How to tackle shipping challenges head-on during 2022

illustration of a truck driving uphill with boxes falling off the truck bed. above is the Shippo logo.

This blog is an extract from our latest ebook ‘The Digital Transformation (DX) Revolution: Growth Strategies for ecommerce brands & retailers’ by Whiplash partner Shippo, a best-in-class platform that gives merchants access to streamlined, cost-effective shipping solutions.

When it comes to running an ecommerce operation, shipping is an area that can feel totally outside of your brand’s control. It’s easy to feel at the mercy of ever-changing shipping rates, delivery delays, and time-intensive processes that take focus away from other parts of your business.

Navigating the complexities of ecommerce shipping can be challenging, but having the right tools and technologies in place enables online merchants of all sizes to streamline end-to-end fulfillment operations, stay competitive with retail giants such as Amazon, and ultimately deliver a better experience to their customers.

Why shipping is the key to scalability

For many online merchants that are growing their businesses, learning to run a seamless and successful shipping operation is fraught with difficulties. Roadblocks in workflows and inefficient processes not only threaten end-to-end fulfillment and your customer’s experience; they can also end up costing you an arm and a leg. 

In fact, a recent Shippo survey found 58% of ecommerce merchants see the cost of shipping as the biggest challenge facing their business.

Rising consumer demand and expectations, combined with the logistical headaches caused by the ongoing supply chain crisis, has made digital transformation is necessary for streamlining shipping processes, eliminating human error, and efficiently scaling your ecommerce business. 

When shipping is costing your business more than it needs to, parcels are being routed inefficiently, or there’s no visibility over the delivery process, this has can have serious knock-on effects. 

For example, if a customer doesn’t receive their order and your business is unable to track down the parcel, this issue is going to take much longer to resolve, meaning customer satisfaction is impacted. In fact, it’s likely that you will never see that customer again, considering today’s expectations for a seamless post-purchase experience.

So where do you begin when considering new solutions and automation workflows to integrate into your ecommerce fulfillment workflow and tech stack? Luckily, there are a number of actions you can implement quickly to optimize your shipping operations.

How to streamline your shipping strategy

Compare carriers and service levels in one place to save on shipping costs

The carrier ecosystem is vast, and it can be challenging to determine which options will best meet you and your customer’s needs and expectations while also preserving your bottom line. Solutions that let you access and compare rates across a vast network of carriers give you real-time visibility across the entire ecosystem. 

By comparing carriers and rates in one place, you can quickly identify the most cost-effective and consumer-friendly options for all your ecommerce shipments – and even change them on the fly.

Whiplash’s integration with Shippo means that Whiplash merchants can select a ‘cheapest rate’ option in the backend for shipping their orders, with Shippo retrieving the very best rates in real-time from the likes of USPS, FedEx, and DHL for optimal speed and cost. 

Automate manual processes to eliminate human error and expedite shipping operations

Not only do manual repeatable processes slow down operations, but they also leave room for costly mistakes. Identify where you can implement process automation to speed up operations with more reliability. 

One potential solution can be found in shipping automation rules, which auto-apply your most used carrier and service-level preferences as defaults or “if-then” rules, helping you print labels and get packages out the door 50% faster.

Merchants using the Whiplash platform can set up so-called ‘routing’ rules on their accounts that automatically override standard shipping rules if certain criteria in an order are met. For example, you could decide that all orders shipping to a certain state must use a specific carrier, or that orders containing a certain SKU must use ground shipping methods (essential for some hazmat goods). This makes shipping management far less labor-intensive.

Integrate ecommerce workflows for a more seamless end-to-end experience

By integrating touchpoints across your ecommerce experience, you’ll ensure end-to-end operations are fully connected and running smoothly, from order and inventory management to fulfillment and returns. For example, by connecting your ecommerce platform and order management system with a robust shipping solution, you’ll streamline your fulfillment process to get orders out the door and delivered to your customers faster.

If you’re looking to digitally transform your ecommerce business, a good first step is to map out your ideal end-to-end workflow, and then evaluate which technologies will make that workflow more seamless and efficient. 

By investing in solutions such as Shippo and Whiplash that help you save on shipping costs, speed up fulfillment operations, and scale alongside your business, you can spend less time worrying about shipping challenges, and more time focusing on building and growing into the future. 

Enjoyed this extract? Check out the rest of our eBook on how the digital transformation of online storefronts is making customer retention in e-commerce.

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