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Expert Advice
For Success in e-Commerce
Our team of e-Commerce experts outline an effective strategy for increasing and optimising your sales!
In our expert advice we often talk about generating traffic, conversion, SEO, optimising your product pages or your conversion funnel. All of these elements are determining factors when it comes to ensuring good visibility and sales for your online shop. A more concrete and physical factor is also crucial for your long-term success. We’re talking about shipping, one of the key steps in the checkout process. Your shipping must be quick, quality with no (nasty) surprises and also simple and effective for you to manage. Providing effective shipping is an important way to increase customer satisfaction and an opportunity to build customer loyalty.

In this expert advice we’ll give you the secret to managing your logistics better, offer your customers 5-star service and take advantage of this key moment in your customer relations to pleasantly surprise them and make them talk about you to all of their friends!
1. Shipping is a key factor for e-Commerce success
2. Offering your customers a choice when it comes to shipping will increase your conversion rate
3. Customers want transparency and flexibility when it comes to shipping and shipping fees
4. Having several partners allows you to offer different shipping options
5. Shipping can be a great way to build customer loyalty
6. Varying your shipping fees can help you increase your sales
7. A shipping and logistics management tool will help you save time
8. Shipping will help you win new clients thanks to the virality of social networks, encourage your customers to share their experiences!

Shipping and logistics: tools for customer satisfaction and customer loyalty

01 The ABCs of e-Commerce shipping and logistics
Shipping and logistics are a determining factor when online shoppers are choosing between e-Commerce sites. To stand out amongst the competition you’ll need to ensure quality service across the board. There a few simple rules to remember when managing your logistics and shipping.
Your visitors what choices!
Delays, cost, tracking…shoppers now understand the advantages to e-Commerce and always want more. When it comes time to order, it’s unthinkable for them to be forced to use one shipping method and not have a choice. Giving your customers several options in terms of shipping delays and delivery options (24-hour delivery, in-store pick-up, etc.) will encourage them to buy and increase your conversion rate.

  • With Oxatis you can integrate as many shipping options integrate as many shipping options as you like!
Transparency is a must today
Consumers today think before buying and they want to be able to compare and know exactly how much the order will cost them total before entering their payment details. Your site should offer your customers maximum transparency when it comes to shipping: fees, possible taxes and order tracking. With Oxatis we offer a shipping fees calculator service that enables customers to view an estimation of shipping fees on the e-Commerce site based on the fees set up on the site BEFORE signing in and starting the checkout process. If you have nothing to hide, customers will be forced to trust you.

Different expectations for different types of customers
While customers might have similar tastes when it comes to what they buy, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the same taste when it comes to shipping options. Different customers have different priorities:

> Price, 58% have added an item to their cart to qualify for free shipping (comstore)
> Location, 24% want the ability to pick up at local stores
> Speed, 24% want next day delivery
> Precision, 13% want a two hour delivery slot (Econsultancy).
It’s important to take into account these different considerations when deciding what kind of shipping options you are going to offer your customers. Offering home and in-store pick up is a good strategy to meet different needs.

Free or cost-only shipping…
While online shoppers today often look for free shipping, at least for a minimum purchase, not all customers are looking “just” for free. Some prioritise delivery speed or extra service such as order tracking. New types of “premium” shipping can justify their cost to customers. This is especially the case for same-day shipping.

More than half of shoppers are willing to pay from £5-£10 for these kinds of services and 10% of customers are willing to pay more than £10. Other shipping options are also favoured by customers such as evening or weekend delivery or the ability to set a specific hour for delivery. You’ll need to adapt to your customers’ lifestyle and you’ll build loyalty by providing them with service that meets their needs.
Rules to keep in mind: Directive on Consumer Rights
While choosing which shipping methods you’re going to offer is of vital important for your business, respecting the law is just as important. The European Directive on Consumer Rights strengthens your duties towards customers:

> You must indicate the delivery delay/date before the customer confirms their order
> Indicate shipping restrictions at the beginning of the order process
> Clearly indicate shipping fees
> Remind the customer of the merchant’s responsibility with regard to transportation risks
> Ability for the customer to withdraw from the sale by sending a letter if the delivery is not within the indicated period.
02 Tools and partners to make your life easier
Tools and partners to make your life easier
Do you want to better control your shipping and give your customers greater visibility? Having one or several partners will help simplify your logistics, give you better security and make managing your shipping easier.

What’s at stake: handling all aspects of shipping
Shipping might seem almost trivial today. However, there are a lot of things to take into consideration: type of shipping, price, international, insurance, delivery location etc. These aspects can become complicated when managing shipping. With Oxatis you have access to tools to make your life easier:

  • Check out Oxatis' logistics and shipping tools!
> Centralised order tracking
> Filters by shipping method to make your life easier
Handle all of the different steps in the process
Postage, printing the necessary documents, package preparation lists…logistics can quickly take up a lot of your time if you don’t have an organised system in place. To keep track of your data and save precious time when preparing your orders, using a specialised tool is the solution. Whether it’s a paper for a courier or a bill for a customer, automated tasks will reduce the margin for errors and save you time. Go to your backoffice for help managing your tasks.

> Different delivery locations: home, office, in-store…
> Different shipping delays: standard, express…
> Pre-configured prices (that you can change) to save time
Choose the right service providers
To be a successful e-tailer you will also need to be an excellent logistics coordinator. But you can also work with service providers who will make your life easier. Ask yourself whether you want to handle your logistics, shipping and returns internally or externally. You should then determine whether your target market is national or international and what type of products (weight, size) and delivery delays you want to offer your customers (from same-day to 2-3 days).

Be ready to handle those inevitable returns
Obviously we hope you have as few as possible, but an e-Commerce website with zero returns is impossible so you might as well be ready to handle them, before and after receiving the returned products from the customer. For certain fields the return policy is a real selling point for e-Commerce websites, such as shoes and clothes as customers can’t try them on first and there is greater potential for error.

1st piece of advice for returns: be clear with your return policy and make pages that explain how it works accessible to your customers. Remember that the fact that customers can send back products easily is a key argument when reassuring the customer.

2nd piece of advice: be organised when receiving returns. For example make one person in charge of this process and follow the statistics closely. If you experience a spike in returns you’ll know where the fault lies: a vague campaign, bad targeting, a problem with the quality of the product or a discrepancy between the product page and reality. And you’ll be able to fix the problem quickly.

If you decide to entrust your logistics to an external partner make sure that they give you your return statistics quickly for the products they handle.
03 Our marketing tips: use shipping to build customer loyalty and win new customers!
55% of customers who have had a bad shipping experience won’t order on the site again. On the contrary, a good shipping experience is an almost-guarantee of a next order. Respecting shipping delays for first orders will help you build customer loyalty.

Fine tune your shipping fees
What if you could adapt your shipping fees for certain customers or for the time of year? An economical approach could allow you to offer special offers (a weekend of free shipping, free shipping on certain products during the holidays, etc.) You can influence your sales this way according to the season or your customers’ needs.

Don’t forget to reward your loyal customers! You can for example give your customers who’ve ordered the most items free shipping a few times a year.
Discount vouchers: an opportunity to push more purchases
Your customer just received her order and if you followed the first two steps of this Oxatis Expert Advice she should be satisfied. This is the ideal moment to make her think about her next order already by, for example, offering her a voucher for a discount on another category of products on your site or for a limited time only.

Take care with packaging
Before your customers see the items they’ve ordered they see the packaging, and this already gives them an idea as to the quality of the service provider. An object that’s been well protected, a good quality package, easy to open: these are elements that will make customers want to keep ordering on your site. The package makes customers feel that their items have been taken care of and protected, and it’s important not to skimp on this part of shipping.

Little gifts, big impact
“It’s the thought that counts” is true when opening a package. Don’t hesitate to give little gifts (a pen with your site colours, stickers, or other little gadgets that cost you a few cents or a sample linked to your own products that will make them want to buy more!) which will be a surprise for the person receiving the package. This will make them associate your brand with generosity and a nice surprise.

Going viral?
Have you heard of unboxing? Bloggers and other influential internet users have started this trend of filming the moment when they open their package. Use this trend to your advantage and encourage your customers to share the moment when they receive their purchases on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Vine or Twitter and thank them with gift vouchers applicable to their next purchase. This way you’ll kill two birds with one stone: spread your brand’s reputation and increase your repurchase rate.

Now it’s your turn!

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