Author Archives: Jennifer Dunn

ShipperHQ Customer Story: International Military Antiques

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  February 21, 2019

International Military Antiques
Helmet and Drum

“ShipperHQ keeps us legally compliant. I rest easier at night knowing they have our back.”

If you’ve watched movies like Saving Private Ryan or Dunkirk then you’ve likely seen authentic props provided by International Military Antiques (IMA).

Now the largest military collectibles business in the world, IMA got its start when founder Christian Cranmer inherited his father’s collection of 300 antique weapons. The inheritance really piqued a passion in Cranmer.

Since 1965, IMA has sold military weapons of all type, ranging from 17th century flintlock pistols, to World War II-era Italian General military uniforms. Collectors, props masters and history buffs can all count on IMA for unique finds.

But selling weapons online, even deactivated antiques, can pose formidable shipping challenges.

Alex Cranmer, IMA’s CEO and frequent expert guest on the History Channel’s Pawn Stars, explained the company’s delivery needs and how ShipperHQ has helped IMA master complex shipping scenarios.

For example, some of IMAs collectibles are restricted. A machine gun – even the entirely safe and deactivated non-firing ones that IMA sells – cannot be exported out of the United States without a license from the Department of State.

And while IMA employs a knowledgeable fulfillment workforce that manually reviews all exports, ShipperHQ is still IMA’s first line of defense to catch any errors.

“ShipperHQ has saved us man hours,” said Cranmer.  “We no longer have to cancel orders when we can’t legally ship an item, or contact customers after they’ve ordered because we need to update their shipping quote.”

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By utilizing Shipping Groups in ShipperHQ, IMA prevents customers outside the U.S. from ordering a deactivated machine gun, or other restricted items. And because IMA includes messaging at their checkout about these rules, shoppers can easily understand what is and isn’t allowed to be shipped to their location.

The “antique” in antique gun is also vital. Guns manufactured in 1898 or before are considered antique. But guns manufactured in 1899 or after are considered firearms and require a license in most U.S. states.

“ShipperHQ keeps us legally compliant. I rest easier at night knowing they have our back,” Cranmer said.

And antique guns aren’t the only items that pose their own shipping challenges.

Take, WWI and WWII daggers, for example. Some have built-in brass knuckles, which as you can guess, are prohibited in certain states. Again, the powerful combination of ShipperHQ’s shipping groups and IMA’s knowledgeable warehouse staff create a strong line of defense against an accidental (and costly) shipping snafu.

But ShipperHQ hasn’t just helped IMA master complex shipping scenarios for their products; they’ve also helped improve IMA online shopping cart’s native shipping options.

Previously, IMA were unable to differentiate between small and light items, and items that cost more to ship. With ShipperHQ’s Dimensional Rules, they can now easily differentiate between mailing a small decal and a heavy antique firearm.

According to Cranmer, the ability to charge reasonable shipping rates based on the size and weight of the item immediately increased conversions.

“ShipperHQ has helped us provide a better, cleaner user experience. And in our niche industry, when customers are happy, they tell a friend.”

We encourage you to explore International Military Antiques excellent website. And the next time you’re watching a war epic, be on the lookout for authentic military collectibles. Chances are, you’ll be seeing IMA’s merchandise in action!
International Military Antiques

Click Here to view ShipperHQ’s Customer Story: International Military Antiques

If you’re experiencing unique shipping challenges like IMA, start a 30-day no-risk free trial to automate your own shipping with ShipperHQ.

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Why Does Residential Delivery Cost More than Commercial Delivery?

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  February 14, 2019
residential delivery

As an online seller, you may have noticed that shipping fees for residential delivery are higher than the fees for delivering to a commercial address. Most of the commonly used shipping carriers add a surcharge when shipping to residential addresses.

The reason residential delivery costs more? Last mile shipping. 

The cost associate with last mile shipping is the reason why it’s more expensive to deliver to residential than commercial addresses.

“Last mile” refers to the cost of delivering a parcel over the last leg of it’s journey to the customer. This is generally from  facility or distribution center to the customer’s preferred delivery address. According to a report from McKinsey & Company, last mile delivery services make up at least 50% of a parcel’s total delivery price.

Carriers like UPS who compete on price and delivery options have a vested interest in mitigating the costs associated with last mile delivery. Residential addresses are far flung and spread out, meaning it takes more time, gas, wear and tear on their vehicles, and other overhead costs, to deliver residentially.

Carriers may also have to perform services like address correction for residential addresses, which adds time and administrative costs to the delivery.

What about commercial deliveries?

On the other hand, commercial addresses are a carrier’s dream.

Commercial addresses are generally in high-density areas where the carrier can bundle many deliveries in a small geographic area. They may even be able to deliver multiple packages to the same address. And if not, they are probably at least delivering to other businesses very close by. It’s this “delivery density” drives carrier costs down.

There’s also usually someone available to receive or sign for the package, so the carrier doesn’t have to make multiple delivery attempts, or return the package to a hub and make a staff member available for the recipient to pick it up.

Can you avoid residential delivery fees?

As an eCommerce merchant, you are likely paying a residential surcharge every time your customer has a shipment delivered to their residential address. There are a few ways you can avoid this:

  1. Integrate a way for your customer to choose to pick up their package. UPS Access Points are conveniently located, secure, often offer later pickup hours, and can help you avoid paying and passing along the residential surcharge to your customers.
  2. Incentivize the customer to enter a business address. Offer your customers a discount or faster shipping if they do so.
  3. Ask the carrier to waive the fee during your annual negotiation. Go in armed with your shipping costs. If you are a loyal customer who uses one carrier for all your small package deliveries, they may waive this fee in order to retain your business.

For Further Reading

ShipperHQ can help you assess your current shipping strategy and offer your customers more options like these. Take advantage of ShipperHQ’s partnership with some of the biggest shopping carriers in the industry by signing up for a free 30 day trial.

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How Date & Time-Based Delivery Save Any Holiday

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  February 7, 2019
Date & Time-Based Delivery

Spring is upon us.

Whether you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day or Father’s Day, chances are your customers are going to be shopping around your store for a gift. Even if you sell pet supplies or machine tools, there’s no accounting for what some people like on these special days.

You don’t want to get your customer in hot water when their gift delivers after the kids open their Easter baskets, or the day Mom and Dad leave back home from their visit. To help you avoid these holiday fails, here’s how you can offer your customers date & time guaranteed delivery options just in time for any holiday.

Why your Customers want to Schedule Date & Time Delivery

The #1 reason to allow your eCommerce customers to choose a delivery date and time is, of course, that shoppers are increasingly coming to expect these options. Some other reasons why your customers may want to have their deliveries at their doors at certain point on the space time continuum include:

  • Convenience – Everyone is busy these days, which means offering convenience is absolutely essential. Perhaps your customer wants their child’s birthday cake to arrive the morning of the big 5th birthday puppy party. Or maybe they need that new patio set installed on their day off. Tasty treats, meat, and other perishable items run the risk of melting or spoiling on the doorstep, so it’s important that your customers can be there to accept any items that risk deterioration.
  • Special occasions – Flowers and cupcakes are not as special the day after your gift recipient’s birthday. Be a part of your customer’s special occasion by allowing them to give that perfect gift at the most ideal moment.
  • Security – This one is self explanatory. It’s no fun to order a big ticket item only to have the neighborhood thief make off with it instead. After all, not everybody has the skills to install a glitter bomb to teach would-be thieves a valuable lesson in this social contract.

Best of all, allowing customers to choose a delivery date and time increases conversion rates. If your customer has to choose between a retailer with a 2-day delivery window and a retailer who can promise to get the giant cthulhu plush to their beloved by February 14th, then that decision is a no-brainer.

How to Implement Date & Time Based eCommerce Delivery with ShipperHQ

ShipperHQ can help you fulfill orders on-time, every time using our Date & Time functionality. Keep in mind that in order to use these functions with ShipperHQ your carrier needs to support selecting a delivery date and time. UPS, FedEx, In-Store pickup and some custom rates carriers fit this bill.

  • Set Lead Times – Lead Time is used to define how many days are required to prepare an order for shipment. This can be less than a day, such as packing a t-shirt in a padded envelope, to weeks or longer, such as the time needed to build a custom piece of furniture.
  • Set Cut Off Times – Cut off times work in conjunction with lead times. The most frequently seen example of a cutoff time is the same-day shipping cut off date. For example, you may tell customers on your site to “Order by 5pm for next day delivery,” or “Order by 2pm for your package to ship today.”
  • Set Blackout Production Days & Dates – Blackout Production Days and Dates are used to define when this origin is not processing orders. For example, if you are a custom cake baker and your star baker only works Monday-Thursday. It takes your baker 1 business day to produce your trademark amazing cakes. So in this scenario, if a customer orders on a Friday, you’ll know it won’t be ready until Monday.
  • Set Blackout Dispatch Days & Dates – Blackout Dispatch Days and Dates are used to define when this origin does not ship orders out. This will most commonly be set to weekends and holidays. In some warehouses you might only dispatch on certain days of the week.

You can find specific instructions on using date & time-based eCommerce delivery options in our How to Use Cutoffs, Lead Time, and Blackouts for Delivery Date/Time in Transit article.

Allowing your customers to choose delivery date and time can increase conversions and create loyal customers who come back for more. To get started with date & time-based delivery options, start a 30-day trial of ShipperHQ today!

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8 Ways to Simplify Your Checkout for Cross Border Customers

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  January 29, 2019
cross border shipping

So you’ve decided you’re going to ship cross-border. You have your shipping network in place. Maybe you’ve even localized your website to attract shoppers in your target market. Your analytics show that potential customers in your new market are definitely clicking around your store. But conversions just aren’t there. What’s the deal? It could be your checkout process.

This post will go over how to simplify checkout for your cross-border customers.

Before they “Add to Cart”

Simplifying check out for your cross-border customers shouldn’t start when they hit “Buy Now.” Instead, you want to start by offering your future buyers an optimal experience when they are still merely browsing your store.

Don’t ship certain products to certain countries or regions? Then use geolocation to prevent potential customers in that country from picking a product, choosing their options, and trying to pay, only to be hit with, “Sorry, we don’t ship our jet skis to Peru.”  Or worse, the confusion of trying to enter payment information only to be presented with zero shipping options and no explanation.

ShipperHQ is working on a feature that will prevent disappointed customers at checkout by allowing you to restrict the product pages they can access. Contact us for early access.

During Checkout

1. Promote Trust

While cross-border purchasing is gaining steam, your customer may still be antsy about buying from someone in another country. In a PayPal study, U.S., German, French, Mexican and Japanese buyers all mentioned “suspicious checkout” as a top concern when it comes to buying from an international merchant.

Promote trust by keeping customers on your branded site during checkout. Sending them off to a vastly different page when it comes time to enter payment information can leave a customer skittish about parting with their vital information. They want to buy from you, not a generic checkout page.

On that note, a study by PayPal and Magento found that simply adding a security icon to the checkout increased mobile Revenue Per Visitor by 17.37% percent against a control group of the same websites. RPV increase by 7% with desktop and tablet shoppers.

Also feature symbols of trust such as customer reviews, trust seals, and a clear way to contact you should your buyer have questions or issues.

2. Minimize Form Filling

Require that customers provide you the absolute minimum amount of information to complete the order. In most cases this is email address, name, shipping and billing addresses and payment information. After all, you probably don’t need to know your customer’s birthday and nickname in order to get their product to them. Minimize friction and keep your forms simple.

3. Don’t Require Account Creation

Don’t interrupt the flow of the checkout process by requiring that your customer enter a password and create an account. If this is their first experience with your store, they may not know if they want an account with you yet. There’s plenty of time to encourage them to create an account after the transaction has processed.

However, do obtain an email address as early in the checkout process as possible. This will allow you to later send abandoned cart notifications or discounts to try and win the customer back.

4. Simplify Entering Addresses

Addresses around the world come in different formats. For example, a 9 digit US zip code is all numeric and looks like this: 30348-2129. And a UK postcode features a combination of letters and numbers and looks like this: NR14 7PZ.

If you require all numerics in your postal code field, you’re going to run into a problem when your UK customers try to enter an address. And customers who encounter errors entering shipping and billing addresses during checkout are likely to abandon the confusing cart and take an easier path to purchase.

Or, they might take a stab at an address and hope for the best. A study by Loqate found that 80% of customers don’t realize that their failed delivery was caused by entering their own address incorrectly. Instead they blame the merchant or the courier. Ouch.

But you have some options here. You can localize your checkout so that each customer sees the correct address fields for her country. Or you can use ShipperHQ’s Address Auto-complete feature that autofills addresses based on information the customer enters.

You can also minimize the amount of fields a customer has to fill out by automatically copying the billing address they entered over to shipping address fields (or vice versa), then giving the customer to option to change the shipping address if needed.

5. Offer Multiple Payment Types

Buyers in different countries prefer different payment methods. For example, a Pitney Bowes study found that buyers in Spain prefer to pay with credit cards like Visa, Mastercard and American Express. But only about 30% of German eCommerce buyers prefer to pay with credit cards. Mobile shoppers, an increasing percentage of online shoppers, may find it easier to pay with mobile wallets rather than typing in a credit card number. And many customers in India and Central Europe prefer to pay cash on delivery.

Preferred payment methods are as varied as your buyers. Ensure you’re not losing customers during checkout by providing the payment options they feel most comfortable using.

6. Be Upfront about Shipping, Taxes and Other Fees

You’ll find many occasions when selling cross-border where either your or the customer are required to pay import duties. If the customer is required to pay these duties, be sure to warn them upfront so they aren’t met with a nasty surprise before they can pick up their package.

You can also choose to show or hide fees strategically. Do you cover duties? Then you may not want to include a line for customs & duties at checkout. For example, say you are selling on a fully localized site. A customer who didn’t realize their item is shipping from overseas could get antsy and pull the plug on a sale.

7. Show Pricing in Local Currency

According to PayPal, 75% of cross-border buyers say they want the option to buy in their local currency.  And 62% say they check prices in local currency before placing an order. Anytime your customer navigates away from your site during checkout, you potentially lose them. Showing prices in their local currency keeps them in your checkout flow.

8. Optimize for mobile

Forty percent of mobile shoppers abandon their cart because they have trouble entering information. All the checkout options we’ve mentioned above will help mobile shoppers enjoy a seamless checkout experience, but you can do more.

Design your checkout with large, easy-to-see and press buttons, highly visible fonts and a fixed navigation bar so your customers can easily navigate your site and checkout on mobile.

Conclusion

Because on average of 70% of online shopping carts are abandoned at the checkout, you have to give customers delivery options that fit their individual needs while also showing them upfront when to expect their items.

Well guess what? Both are possible with ShipperHQ’s new Enhanced Checkout.

With the Enhanced Checkout, you have access to out-of-the-box support for options like click and collect, estimated delivery dates and date and time selection. Meaning your odds of keeping customers on your site and adding to their cart just got better. Sounds like a win / win right?

New and existing Enterprise Customers can sign up for ShipperHQ’s Amazon-style Enhanced Checkout through our Early Access Program for launch in early 2019.

 

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ShipperHQ Customer Story: Intelligentsia Coffee

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  January 14, 2019

Intelligentsia

bag-combo

With ShipperHQ we finally have a push-button shipping solution

Intelligentsia Coffee stands on the forefront of specialty coffee in the U.S. In fact, when it comes to coffee, these coffee crafters decided that Fair Trade wasn’t quite fair enough – at least to the customer.

Not only does Intelligentsia Coffee practice Fair Trade, which ensures that coffee growers are treated and paid fairly, they pioneered the even more stringent Direct Trade coffee buying model, which has become the benchmark for the entire industry.

Applying their Direct Trade principal, Intelligentsia’s buyers travel to 18 countries to meet each and every farmer they work with and sit down together for a cup to ensure each crop’s quality. When someone orders a mug of Intelligentsia Coffee, they know they’re going to sip coffee perfection.

With such high quality standards, it’s no wonder that Intelligentsia Coffee is in demand from coffee sellers and drinkers all over the world.

But Intelligentsia Coffee’s thriving wholesale business demands shipping software that can keep up. When they first built out their wholesale platform, shipping posed an immediate challenge. The biggest issue was cartonization.

“Our initial software didn’t understand that shipping one box that weighs 30 pounds is a whole different story than shipping six boxes that weigh five pounds,” said Matt Riddle, Director of Systems and Strategy.

They even had one employee whose entire full time job was working with a marker and highlighter system to manually guess weight on shipments, cartonize them, and create labels on UPS WorldShip™. Ouch.

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To compound that limitation, their old software’s UX was clunky, and left them unable to provide services like offering shipping promotions and special pricing.

When they decided to migrate to Magento 2, they listed their shipping requirements and began searching. ShipperHQ checked all their shipping solution boxes.

With ShipperHQ, Intelligentsia Coffee can now charge their customers correctly for shipping, offer special pricing, and easily pack the right products into the right boxes.

“With ShipperHQ we finally have a push-button shipping solution,” said Matt.

By the way, now that that cartonization problem has been solved, it’s no longer anybody’s full time job. We’re happy to report that the person who previously wrangled all those markers and highlighters has moved on to a much more fulfilling role in the company.

But that’s not all.

“We can provide inclusive pricing on some items, which means offering our customers free shipping,” said Matt. “ShipperHQ has allowed us to provide a value-add for the customer.”

Visit Intelligentsia Coffee to find out more, including where to get your own Direct Trade coffee fix.
Intelligentsia Coffee

Click Here to View ShipperHQ’s  Customer Story: Intelligentsia Coffee

Start a 30-day no-risk free trial to learn about automating your eCommerce shipping with ShipperHQ

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DDP vs. DDU Defined for eCommerce Sellers

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  January 2, 2019
tax-1-min

When shipping cross-border, you’re quickly going to run into the acronyms DDP and DDUHere are those acronyms defined:

  • DDP stands for “delivery duty paid” and means that you, the merchant, have paid all customs, duties and associated fees on the shipment. Generally the shipping carrier you’ve contracted with will handle the heavy lifting on customs and duties and then bill you the total.
  • DDU stands for “delivery duty unpaid” and means that your buyer is responsible for paying any customs and duties fees associated with the purchase. Your buyer will be contacted by a customs broker and will be required to pay duties before receiving the shipment.  DDU is also sometimes referred to as DAP (Duties at Place).

What do DDP and DDU have to do with my eCommerce business?

When shipping cross-border, many countries will impose a duty or tax on your shipment. Whether a duty or tax is required depends on factors like the declared value of the shipment, the purpose of the shipment and origin and destination of the shipment.  

Every country sets it’s own customs and duties, and they can get complicated. For example, the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule (i.e. the U.S. government document spelling out what customs and duties are owed on what products) is 3,863 PDF pages long and updates annually. Ouch.

When shipping products cross-border, a duty or tax may be owed on your product. As an online seller, it’s up to you whether you want to pay the duty or pass that cost along to your customer.

Should you ship DDU or DDP to your international customers?

The short answer is: It depends.

Shipping DDU Cross-Border
If you choose to ship DDU, your customer is ultimately responsible for paying customs and duties before she can receive her package.

Your carrier will deliver the package to a customs broker in your customer’s home country. A customs broker can be your carrier, the local post office, or another company who handles customs fees. Your customer is then responsible for paying the duty before she can take final possession of the package.

Shipping DDU has advantages when it comes to winning a sale. Without taxes and duties factored in, your price-conscious customer sees a lower price at checkout. A 2017 KMPG survey found that 57% of online shoppers hit “buy now” on the lowest price they can find.

If you aren’t careful to spell out during checkout that taxes and duties may be due on arrival, this may create a negative experience with your store when your customer realizes she has to pay even more just to spring her package from customs jail. Worse, if your customer isn’t quick to pick up her package, storage fees and other fees may apply. Or if she abandons the package, you may be on the hook for fess, return shipping and fines and penalties. In the worst-case scenario, your customer abandons the shipment at customs and cancels the sale, meaning you’re liable for paying the penalty yourself.

Shipping DDP Cross-Border
If you choose to ship DDP, you pay the cost for shipping, VAT or sales tax, customs, duties, etc. Because the duty has been paid upfront, your customer does not have to deal with the delay and hassle of paying a customs broker in her home country before she can receive her package. Your carrier will bill you for the customs costs.

However, this still leaves you with the expense. You may take the cost on yourself, pass this on at checkout, or include it in your item’s price.  ShipperHQ’s upcoming cross-border feature will help merchants finally understand total landed cost before shipping, and arm you with the knowledge you need to mitigate the cost of shipping DDP. 

Shipping DDP also has advantages.  Your shipment will arrive more quickly because it isn’t delayed in customs. And as eCommerce matures, savvy online shoppers now expect that they will have to pay customs and duties on cross-border purchases.

Conclusion

Whether you ship DDP or DDU will ultimately depend on the mix of products you ship internationally, and how receptive your customers are to either paying taxes and duties up front or dealing with customs brokers after the fact.

We want to hear from you. Do you ship DDP or DDU? What made you decide this? Do you plan on changing up your shipping strategy in the future?

ShipperHQ is actively working on a solution to make cross-border shipping easier for merchants.  Want in? Contact us to learn more about this .

 

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ShipperHQ Customer Story: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 20, 2018

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ShipperHQ isn’t just an add-on or 3rd party integration piece to us. They’re a partner

When your business sells perishable products over the Internet, you have very specific shipping needs.This is especially true for Columbus, Ohio-based Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, because they’re more than just a trendsetting purveyor of artisanal ice cream.

“People go on first dates at Jeni’s Scoop Shops, people get proposed to, and have their weddings with us,” said Chelsea Clements, Director of eCommerce at Jeni’s.

“Our customers send our ice cream for Mother’s Day, bereavement gifts and anniversary gifts. We are a part of people’s lives.”

This focus on customers means that Jeni’s wants to create a delightful experience whether in one of their Jeni’s Scoop Shops or when opening up a signature Jeni’s orange delivery box in the comfort of their own home.

That’s where the need for a shipping partner comes in.

“We were opening Scoop Shops across the country, but only shipping out of one fulfillment center,” said Clements.

“We realized that in order to sustain our online business and our cold storage supply chain, we needed multi-warehouse fulfillment. This wasn’t native to our platform Bigcommerce, so we knew we needed a solution.”

Enter ShipperHQ.
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“ShipperHQ helped us enable multi-warehouse fulfillment logic, which grew the business. Beyond that, they also helped us with things like guaranteed delivery date, because that’s very important to our customers who often send Jeni’s as gifts.”

After all, a box of melted ice cream on your doorstep the day after your birthday isn’t exactly festive.

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“ShipperHQ also helped us in times of crisis, like when landslides meant we couldn’t get shipments out of one of our fulfillment centers. If that had happened before we used ShipperHQ, we would have had to shut down our entire eCommerce business until the roads re-opened. We don’t have any developers on the team, but with ShipperHQ it was as easy as changing some settings, and we were able to keep our business up and running.”

Clements estimates that just relying on ShipperHQ to calculate delivery dates has saved the company 131 hours per year.

ShipperHQ also partnered with Jeni’s to enhance their customers’ eCommerce experience in other ways, like setting shipping cutoff times, and automating flat rate shipping and real-time FedEx Priority overnight delivery.

Clements added, “They’re very knowledgeable in all aspects of eCommerce, and have been great with helping us with our tech stack, and giving us advice and honest feedback about things we could try or avoid. ShipperHQ isn’t just an add-on or 3rd party integration piece to us. They’re a partner.”

Visit their website to learn more about Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams and order your own pint.
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Click Here to View ShipperHQ’s  Customer Story: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams

Start a 30-day no-risk free trial to learn about automating your eCommerce shipping with ShipperHQ

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7 Cross Border Shipping Options Online Shoppers Expect

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 19, 2018
ship-internationally-2-min

In part one of this series, we talked about what your cross-border customers want when it comes to customer experience. But now we want to talk about the aspect of online commerce we live and breathe here at ShipperHQ – shipping.

Shipping fails can derail your cross-border sales, but perhaps not always for the reasons that you think. Here are the 7 main things your customers are looking for when it comes to cross-border shipping options.

1. Clear shipping costs

Spell out shipping costs clearly and as early in the checkout process as possible. The last thing you want is for your customer to reach the final page of checkout and be hit with a huge fee.You should also be very clear on what each line item represents and why they are reasonable charges. Cross-border shoppers are accustomed to paying for shipping and fees.

Avoid showing shipping, handling, customs & duties and VAT all together in one lump sum, or you may risk scaring the customer off with sticker shock.

2. Options on shipping cost and speed

Some of your cross-border buyers need their product now, and are willing to pay a little more for shipping speed. Others shop around based on price and will try to stretch every dollar, euro or yen.

How you show shipping prices may depend on the market where you’re selling. Pitney Bowes’ survey found that Australians are more concerned with shipping price than speed, while Korean buyers were more concerned with speed than cost.  PayPal’s survey found that nearly and equal number of customers cited delivery cost (25%) and delivery time (24%) as reasons to abandon their cart.

According to the Pitney Bowes’s report, retailers are meeting cross-border customers’ shipping needs by offering a choice of carrier. They found that 83% of high-growth retailers used three or more carriers vs. just 53% of low-growth retailers.

3. Clear information on taxes, customs and duties

When shipping cross-border, retailers have two options when it comes to handling customs and duties. Delivery Duty Paid (DDP) means that the retailer pays all customs and duties. Delivery Duty Unpaid (DDU) means that the customer pays the final tally of customs and duties upon receiving the shipment.

Cross-border buyers want clear information about these fees, and taxes like VAT, and who will be responsible for paying them. The Pitney Bowes report found that some international shoppers (especially Canadians) prefer to see prices both DDU and DDP so they can compare and make a decision from there.

However, PayPal’s report found that 24% of global buyers cite having to pay customs and duties as a deterrent to making a purchase.

4. Doorstep delivery

Often called “last-mile” delivery, the process of getting your buyer’s shipment from the nearest shipping hub to their doorstep can be surprisingly tricky. Everything from laws curbing emissions in urban areas to underdeveloped shipping networks can make it difficult to delivery directly to your customer’s hands.

Retailers are looking at solutions ranging from courier services to drones to close the last mile. Use caution when choosing a last-mile carrier. Your customer will associate all aspects of shipping with her purchase from your online store, and a bad last-mile delivery experience will likely reflect poorly on your brand, and not the carrier.

5. Pickup options

But not every online buyer wants a package delivered to their door.

Forrester found that many buyers in France and the UK prefer picking their packages up from a central location or locker rather than trying to receive them at home or the office.

6. Tracking

PayPal’s report found that fraud and security are still top concerns when it comes to buying cross-border.

One way you can reassure your customer is to provide them with tracking so they can follow their purchase as it makes its way to their waiting hands. Not all carriers will provide, tracking, however, so make that one of your criteria when choosing a carrier.

7. Free shipping

Even though cross-border buyers are aware that international shipping comes with costs, they are also enjoying more free shipping as large online stores and marketplaces vie for their attention and purchasing power. In fact, PayPal found that 44% of shoppers cited free shipping as driving their cross-border purchase. This was the second biggest factor encouraging them to buy now, next only to price. 

Free shipping is an option for your retail store, even cross border.

Need help optimizing your shipping for cross-border customers? ShipperHQ has your back. Sign up for a 30-day no-risk free ShipperHQ trial and start delighting your cross-border buyers.

 

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6 Cross Border Customer Experiences Online Shoppers Expect

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 18, 2018
cross border ship internationally

Global buyers are buying from retailers outside their own country or region. According to PayPal’s 2018 Cross-Border Consumer Research Report, 25% of online buyers around the world made a purchase from a retailer in the U.S. Cross-border shoppers purchase based on elements like price and product availability. But studies have shown that shoppers are looking for signs of trustworthiness from online retailers before clicking “Buy now.”

As global markets mature and eCommerce gains in popularity, more and more shoppers are making purchases across borders. So what exactly are online shoppers looking for when they make a purchase from an international retailer? And how can you attract these shoppers and keep them coming back for more?

1. Choice

PayPal’s report found that 38% of all online shoppers shopped cross-border to find items that they couldn’t purchase domestically.

A KPMG report found that 15% of U.S. shoppers, who are among the least likely demographic to buy from international retailers, still go across borders in order to obtain products that are unique or specialized.

PayPal’s report found that 38% of all online shoppers shopped cross-border to find items that they couldn’t find domestically.

2. Price

Not surprisingly, online shoppers shop based on price. PayPal’s report found that nearly half, 44%, of online shoppers make purchasing decisions based on price (shipping included.) According to PayPal, three quarters of buyers would prefer to pay in local currency, and 60% of those who don’t see that option report looking up exchange rates before making a purchase.

3. Localization

The 2017 Pitney Bowes Global eCommerce Report found that 72.4% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when the website is in their own language.

Perhaps not surprisingly, shoppers in developed markets like the US, UK and China express a stronger preference for localized online stores.

For example, what do you call it when you buy something online but pick it up in person? In the U.S., that’s “In Store Pickup.” In the UK, it’s “Click & Collect.” Use the wrong language on your website and you end up with confused customers unsure of how they’ll ultimately take possession of their order.

As eCommerce networks are built out globally, though, we can expect the trend toward localization to grow as online buyers have more purchasing options in their own local languages and lexicons. That’s why we 😉 suggest working with a partner like ShipperHQ who understands the nuances of shipping across borders.

4. Refund policy & ability to return

A UPS consumer survey showed that 66% of online shoppers take an online store’s return policy into account when making a purchase. They found that online retailers earned customer trust when it came to returns by:

  • Specifying a return and/or exchange period
  • Specifying a warranty period
  • Providing pre-printed return labels with the shipment
  • Providing clear and upfront information about the store’s return policy

Be ready, though. A recent BBC article reported on the phenomenon of shoppers ordering multiple items of clothing online and sending the majority of the purchase back. While this is a win for the personalized and comfortable in-home shopping experience, keep an eye on this trend and build it into your pricing accordingly.

5. Payment Options

Depending on the market, your buyers may prefer payment methods you haven’t considered. According to Pitney Bowes, only about 30% of eCommerce transactions in Germany are paid for by credit card. Indian buyers have a strong preference for cash on delivery when making purchases. Be sure to research preferred payment methods as you develop new markets.

6. Seamless Checkout Process

It’s easy to lose a customer at checkout. Checkout best practices include requiring your customer to fill out as few fields as possible, while collecting the information you need. This includes providing a guest checkout option so your customer doesn’t have to pause during the order process to create an account.

Also keep in mind that addresses come in different formats depending on the country. Include the correct address fields for your customer’s country to avoid confusion. A few tweaks to simplify your checkout will help you avoid cart abandonment by your international customers.

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5 Holiday Shipping Pro Tips for a No Hassle Customer Experience

Author: Jennifer Dunn  |  December 13, 2018
holiday shipping

As a retailer and a shipper, the most important aspect of your holiday shipping customer service experience is ensuring order deliveries are convenient, cost-effective and on time for customers. The last thing you need in Q4 is cancelled orders, unhappy customers and bad feelings in what is supposed to be the season of good cheer.

Here are some tips on keeping your customers happy with your online store’s holiday shipping process.

1. Know Your Holiday Shipping Deadlines

It’s important to know key shopping and shipping dates so you can keep up with inventory, sales, orders and fulfillment to your customers.  To ensure Santa isn’t late, keep in mind these key retail dates approaching and plan your shipping staff accordingly to ensure that services selected are delivered by the holiday.

You can find a list of 2018 holiday shipping cutoff dates for the major carriers here.

2. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Be clear and upfront about the last day your customers can order to receive their items by December 24th. It’s imperative you communicate this at checkout, at the bare minimum. But it’s even better if you communicate on the product’s listing or even right on your homepage.

When possible, get granular and communicate delivery dates with each shipping option so your customers can decide if they want to opt for 2-day or overnight shipping just to be on the safe side.

Consider using this opportunity to do a marketing promotion, email campaign, text update, or run an ad. This reminds your loyal customers that they need to purchase by the cutoff date if they want to receive their order in time for gift giving. Scarcity tactics play to your customer’s sense of urgency and encourage them to click “Buy now.”

3. Keep Customers Informed Throughout the Shipping Cycle

Even when you’ve informed customers on your site and at checkout that they’ve met the cutoff date, they can get antsy wondering if their order will arrive before Santa Claus does. Take this opportunity to engage with your customer by notifying them when their package has been shipped, and providing a tracking number so they can follow along.

And if the worst should happen and the shipment is delayed (whether through a fulfilment issue, a carrier issue, weather, or one of the other problems that can crop up around shipping), take the opportunity to get in front of the problem and “make it right” with the customer. Offer a discount, refund or other incentive. This will help you explain the issue while — fingers crossed — still retaining the customer.

Of course, the best way to avoid eCommerce delivery problems is to plan for every contingency. We highly recommend implementing a backup carrier should your primary carrier let you down.

4. Make Receiving More Convenient at an Access Point

Consider giving your customers the opportunity to pick up their package where and when it is most convenient for them.  In scenarios where you’re shipping to an urban area, or where a signature is required, this could mean the difference between your customer receiving their shipment on-time and missing out.

Consider providing shoppers alternate delivery options such as “pickup in store” (like UPS Access Point or FedEx Lockers) which offers shoppers protection from “porch pirates” and extended pickup hours.

5. Take Advantage of Free Shipping Day

This year, the annual “Free Shipping Day” falls on Friday, December 14, 2018.

According to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, Free Shipping Day started back in 2008 as a way to extend the holiday online shopping season. (Traditionally, holiday shopping online has peaked around Cyber Monday, with shoppers fearing that ordering any later might mean they receive their products too late for gift-giving.)

Stores can sign up to participate at FreeShippingDay.com, or you can do your own thing and offer free shipping renegade-style. And hey, if you’re nervous about offering free shipping, check out our guide to offering free shipping that doesn’t bite into your bottom line.

Want more holiday shipping tips? Check out the holiday shipping checklist we wrote for our partner, Blue Acorn.

Need help optimizing your store’s shipping for the holidays? Try a 30-day free trial of ShipperHQ.

 

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