Lesson 4: Ecommerce Training – Is Your Product Shipping Compatible?
In the last lesson, we learnt about why do Customers buy online?. Let’s now move on to the next important aspect, shipping feasibility.
Shipping or delivering the products is the most important aspect of an online store which is often ignored. The products which have been purchased need to be delivered to the buyer in the shortest time, in an intact condition and at a reasonable price (so that it does not severely affect your profit margin). Failure to give enough attention to any of these can negatively influence your store.
Shipping the product that has been purchased is very challenging; especially, if your product is not shipping friendly! Now, what would be an ideal product to be shipped safely? Simple; an ideal product is the one which qualifies the below properties:
- Be durable (not fragile)
- Have a good shelf life
- Not too big and/or too heavy
The products that you send through courier do get a rough treatment during the transit period. They have to withstand the possibilities of being dropped from varying heights, stacked upon (other boxes being kept over during transport or storage) and thrown about (yes! That can happen even with the best courier company). So, you need to keep these in mind before choosing a product to be sold online.
If your product is a durable one (such as a bag) it may need minimal packing. But if it is fragile, it would require to be packed in a material of sufficient strength to bear the handling. However, if you end up spending a lot on the packaging itself or if there is a high risk of breakage during transit, then it is not an ideal product. On the other hand if you are able to cover the damages with the profit margin, then you can give it a try (but don’t compromise on packing).
This aspect comes to play both while stocking the product as well as during shipping. Although majority of the courier companies do deliver within the time promised, there often may be a delay owing to several reasons. Hence, the product you choose must not go bad (especially applicable for food products) or get damaged if kept for longer duration.
Bigger the size, higher is the shipping charge! Shippers charge you by weight slabs (usually 500 gm slabs; so if they charge you Rs 50 for the first 500 gm and Rs 40 for the next 500 gm, a product that weighs between 510 gm to 1 kilo would be charged Rs 90). Accordingly, you have to choose whether you are going to bear the shipping costs or transfer it to the buyer. While some buyers may opt to pay for the shipping, majority of the online buyers prefer free shipping.
An ideal product is the one which can be shipped free or at a minimal price (where you have enough profit to bear the shipping cost).
So, now you know how to evaluate your product for shipping feasibility. We will take up the next aspect in the coming article.
Meanwhile, if you have any questions or would like me to cover a particlar topic in the upcoming lessons, then please let me know by leaving a comment.
The author, Dr. Lirish Chinnappa, is the founder of CoorgShoppe.com, an online store that sells cool stuff from Coorg. He also moonlights as a dentist and writes for various technical papers around the world.
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