2020 – the COVID year – was a year of challenges and opportunities and many small to medium enterprises chose to gear up and get into the online sphere to meet customer needs. Ecommerce boomed in Australia and around the world, and it seems we are set to continue this ecommerce boom in 2021. Convenience has become the new norm for customers.
So getting ecommerce order fulfilment right has never been more important.
Shipping orders to your customers is a key part of your digital commerce business. Knowing how to choose a parcel delivery service, how to charge for delivery, and how to package up the orders, is something you need to consider as you plan your ecommerce business (if you’re at the planning stage of your new startup). The Australian Government business website has some good clear information to help you get started. https://www.business.gov.au/products-and-services/shipping
If you’re already an established business you might be thinking of changing your shipping processes in some way to enhance customer experience.
Managing shipping – yourself!
Small or newer businesses often start by managing shipping themselves, as a way of keeping costs down. In-house order fulfillment, also known as self-fulfillment, is when the merchant completes each step of the fulfillment process internally, without the help of a dropshipper or third-party logistics provider. This means you do all the work involved in getting your orders safely into the hands of your customers! Clearly, organising a parcel or courier delivery service is part of that.
As a business you obviously want the delivery of customer orders to be quick, safe and affordable, especially if they’ve already had a great customer experience at home through your online store or on the move via their mobile devices. All the elements of the purchase and delivery process need to be fast and to hang together – it has to be smooth, efficient and pleasing – from the customer search through to “the reveal” of nicely packaged goods.
Some of the more well-known Australian-owned freight/logistics companies are listed below. Most have great websites that are easy to navigate, and it’s easy to have an onscreen live web chat, or phone for information, or ask for a quote online. Each has various specialties or priorities, such as speed, inbound or outbound shipping, heavy goods, oversize or bulky goods, sensitive materials …. it’s important to do your research on the basis of your own priorities.
Top 6 Couriers!
According to the 2020 Canstar Blue survey, DHL Express topped the ratings for the third year in a row, receiving 5-star reviews against the rating criteria, for its booking process, reliability of service, delivery timeliness options, pick up and drop off options, problem resolution, value for money and overall satisfaction. And the top 6 couriers were listed as:
- DHL Express
- StarTrack Courier
- Australia Post
Ultimately, who you trust with your parcels and deliveries will come down to your personal preferences. As with any business decision, it’s best to look into all your options and to do your own research.
It’s useful to include a couple of shipping options at your store’s checkout. It’s been proven that this strategy really helps to counter shopping cart abandonment.
To help you make the right courier choices for your business, run through these few points to make sure you cover everything when you’re researching or talking to the company.
- What’s the most appropriate delivery method for your goods – will postage work, or do you need a fast courier or larger rail or road freight haulage for heavy or bulky items?
- Are the shipping rates for the courier you’re considering, affordable?
- In turn, what you will charge customers for handling and delivery, and how? Will you offer free shipping, a flat rate, or a calculated rate? Or a mix?
- Where do you want to ship to ? Australia’s a huge country, will your orders be going to more rural and remote areas? How will this influence the cost of the courier and the charge to the customer? Does the courier do domestic and international deliveries?
- What are the delivery timing options, relative to your customers’ potential needs – urgent same day, regular, expedited, 2-day, special cases; international within a 24 hour target ?
- What options does the courier have for doorstep pick up and for prompt return of goods?
- Does the courier company utilize 24/7 lockers for the convenience of all parties?
- Are you clear about the courier company’s prohibited items? Things they won’t transport.
- If you are selling cross-border, are you clear about import and export prohibited and restricted goods regulations, prohibited countries, duties to be paid?
- and finally, what type of packaging are you thinking about to send the goods – some shipping companies are very, very specific with their requirements. And some of you merchants will be very specific too, wanting to truly enchant customers with exceptional, eco-friendly, or beautiful packaging and freebies thrown in!!
In this era of convenience, customers expect choices for delivery and effortless returns with every purchase. In fact, 95% of customers are likely to shop with you again if you make returns convenient. Why not go the extra mile and include return labels in the package, or in their email, for an extra special experience?
Courier services are usually used for packages that are around 25kg or less. Freight services are usually best for larger/heavier or more complex or specialized shipments. Many of the big Australian freight companies are historically and currently renowned for their heavy haulage by road or rail around this vast country!
Other popular Australian options
Australia Post is no longer just a network of posties delivering letters…. Australia Post has evolved into a modern delivery and logistics enterprise – especially since their acquisition of StarTrack, the courier/road freight business listed in our top 6. Services are provided through MyPost Business and eParcel.
PACK & SEND is popular and includes free marketplace integrations eg Shopify, WooCommerce, eBay & more.
All Transdirect parcel delivery services are certified carbon neutral.
AirRoad Specializes in express road freight transport all across Australia
Finally, it’s good to know that even small changes in the delivery process can pay enormous dividends in shopping cart conversion, controlling your shipping costs and delighting customers.
If you’re a bit anxious about any aspect of managing your digital presence, Webyroo will help you. Click **here** to book a video call now.