An oft-forgotten but definitely essential aspect of uniform eCommerce, shipping can determine whether consumers take that final step towards checkout, or abandon your website altogether. Give them too good of a deal, however, and your eCommerce business may not be able to reach an acceptable profit margin. The gulf between individual shoppers and private VIP accounts can cause further confusion — how do you accurately estimate shipping on large orders?
Struggling to determine the appropriate approach for shipping charges on your eCommerce website? Keep these essential considerations in mind as you develop a viable pricing scheme:
Choose the Right Carrier
Before you even consider price, you need to determine which carrier is best for your purposes. Top options include United Parcel Service (UPS), United States Postal Service (USPS), and FedEx. Many sites offer a range of carrier options, as some customers have specific preferences. With API integration, your website can auto calculate shipping costs based on which carrier each customer selects. Cover the cost of packaging and other necessary expenses by tacking on a small handling fee.
Set Up Flat Rates
Flat rate shipping is a popular option for bulk orders; it ensures that, no matter the size of the order, the shipping rate remains the same. There is some setup effort involved for the retailer to determine what the flat rates should be, but this is a great way to attract repeat customers or to encourage first-time customers to spend more.
Take Advantage of Tiered Pricing
Flat rate may be an excellent option for marketing purposes, but it can prove incredibly costly over time. However, you can mix the financial benefits of per-item shipping with the marketing wonder of flat rates by setting up tiered pricing. Determine tiers, or levels of pricing that customers are likely to hit, and assign a shipping cost based on that amount. For example, all orders of up to $50 may ship for a certain amount, and orders of between $50 and $100 will ship for a separate price. Tiered pricing encourages customers to pursue larger orders than they might with other shipping schemes.
The Role of Shipping Taxes
Do you pay taxes on shipping and handling? The answer to this question is rarely simple, especially as taxes on shipping vary significantly from one state to the next. Shipping may not be taxable if items are listed separately, but taxes are nearly always assessed on handling charges. Thus, taxes could add an extra burden to combined shipping and handling fees. Keep taxes in mind as you set up pricing schemes; an approach that initially seems ideal may prove too expensive when this additional factor comes into play.
Managing Large Orders
Shipping considerations vary significantly from one customer to the next. Flat rates and standard tiered pricing schemes are ideal for general customers, but with large orders, a more comprehensive approach may prove necessary. With Uniform Market's B2B Program Manager, you can secure more accurate shipping estimates by factoring in maximum weight and other considerations. Accurate estimates are particularly imperative for larger orders. B2B Program Manager's shipping options include:
- Shipping from a single location or selecting from multiple locations
- Employee-defined locations
- Free shipping
- Shipping based on price or order quantity
No one scheme for shipping uniforms is appropriate for every retailer. A lot depends on the types of customers you typically court and their expectations regarding shipping and handling. Do your research to strike the best balance between keeping your customers happy and maintaining a desirable bottom line.