As online businesses grow, shipping is often the first thing to break. It makes sense. What works when you’re processing 20 orders per week almost certainly isn’t robust enough to handle a bump up to 1,000s of orders per week.
What’s a time-strapped online entrepreneur to do? Invest in a third-party logistics provider? Install thousands of dollars of software? Give in to the pressure and take a really long vacation?
We get these kinds of questions all the time from merchants (well, maybe not the vacation one), so we put together this article. After reading it, you’ll learn:
- The apps that can turn shipping, fulfillment and inventory management from a headache to a competitive advantage
- Leading tactics for shipping smarter
3 Easy to Use Apps That Will Reinvent Your Shipping and Inventory Management Strategy
Stitch is one of our favorite eCommerce applications and we end up recommending it to a lot of our clients. In a nutshell, Stitch is an inventory management solution that acts as a centralized hub for managing inventory across all your sales channels, tracking top products and customers, and accessing powerful reports about your products and channels.
Here are just a few of the ways that Stitch can help you better manage inventory
- Automatically track and sync inventory across all major online sales channels from one UI
- Access powerful reports to compare the performance of sales channels against one another
- Manage stock between multiple warehouses
- Track purchases and update inventory levels in seconds
- Integrate with Quickbooks and Xero to keep your accounting information up to date
Learn more about Stitch!
For high-volume shippers there are few apps more helpful than ShipStation. It’s powerful software that helps online retailers process, fulfill and ship orders from all of the most popular marketplaces and shopping carts using all the top carriers.
ShipStation converts a basic shipping infrastructure into a sophisticated one by:
- Automatically retrieving orders from major marketplaces and shopping carts
- Integrating with all major shipping carriers
- Batch printing hundreds of shipping labels
- Automating customer returns
- Supporting international shipping and for high volume shippers, Fulfillment by Amazon
Learn more about ShipStation!
WebShopApps have been a leading developer of Magento extensions since 2008. Their expertise in creating & manipulating shipping calculations is unmatched. WebShopApps offers more than 40 different Magento and Pixafy extensions, including MatrixRate, the top selling shipping extension on Magento Connect, which is also pre-integrated with every Pixafy store. Simply put, if you need to do any customization of shipping rates, WebShopApps offer the go-to extensions.
Here are just a few of the capabilities WebShopApps can bring to your online store. Please note that the listed capabilities are spread across multiple extensions.
- Define rates based on any combo of destination, product, price, quantity, weight and customer group rules
- Create shipping groups to categorize your products and assign rates
- Fully comply with dimensional weight shipping rules from UPS, FedEx, and USPS
- Enter your box sizes to automatically optimize how products are packed and calculate dimensional weight
Learn more about WebShopApps
7 of Our Favorite Tips, Resources and Strategies for Making Shipping Easy and Profitable
For many merchants, shipping isn’t top of mind, but for shoppers, it undoubtedly is. Smart retailers are taking shipping seriously and using better rates and services as tools to lure customers away from competitors. Want to do the same? We recommend reading this fantastic article from Samantha Drake and applying her advice whenever possible.
Different year, same story. Shipping costs are rising. If you’ve yet to consider the impact that increased shipping costs will have on your online business, then you need to read this article from Nicole Fallon, particularly if you’re just getting started in online selling.
Quality customer service can make or break most businesses, especially when an in-person interaction with a customer service rep or salesperson just isn’t possible. But there are some critical steps online businesses can take to ensure they’re putting their best foot forward, and many of them relate to shipping. After all, your customers continue to interact with your brand long after they checkout. To learn how you can use shipping and fulfillment to enhance customer service, we recommend checking out this post from Curt Barry.
According to research from BI Intelligence, high shipping charges are the primary cause of cart abandonment, so it literally pays to reduce your shipping costs as much as possible and pass those savings onto customers. While we’ve written about reducing shipping costs before, Jane Porter share some excellent advice in this article.
Successful eCommerce is built on a strategy of consistent testing, analysis and optimization, but that shouldn’t stop with your product pages and checkout experience. Shipping is important too! Test these tactics from Armando Roggio to iterate your way toward an optimized and improved shipping experience for your customers.
Free shipping is the Holy Grail of eCommerce. But it can be tough to make it work financially, especially for smaller merchants. This post from Andy Hunt applies a scientific, data-driven approach to the problem, giving you a framework for optimizing the financial returns on your free shipping investment.
How good would a post about shipping be if we didn’t talk about packaging? You don’t have to settle for the same brown box as everyone else. There are options out there that can reduce your environmental impact, impress customers, and reduce costs, especially if you’re dealing with dimensional weight pricing. In this in-depth post, Lisa Terry covers all your options.
We hope you find these tools and tips useful for your online business. We believe that even applying just a few of them will dramatically improve your shipping and inventory management operations. Best of all, each of the apps we’ve listed come pre-integrated with every Pixafy store.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, let’s chat! Contact us today!