Why is shipping important?
Shipping is important to an online business because the customer has already paid for the goods, and yet he does not have them yet. In a brick-and-mortar store, this should be of no issue, since it is the customer who picks the package from the store and takes it home.
Or he pays for delivery and then waits until the product arrives in his home. This set up is also less worrisome because the customer knows where to find the merchant should the shipping be delayed, or if the product that was delivered is of low quality.
Online, the customer does not have the product, and he does not know where to go. He also has no idea where the package is.
Because of that, customers are anxious to get their products soon. The sooner it is, the better they would feel so they can check the product and report if something is not right.
Shipping can attract customers to come and buy again, or it can ruin your reputation as a seller. It is too easy for a person to tell his friends and family that a product he ordered online came as advertised and came early.
It is also easy for a customer to tell others that he is unhappy with the shipping timelines, and most importantly, the price of the shipping and the condition of the item when it arrived.
The aspects of shipping that you need to be concerned about are accuracy, timeliness, and handling. All of these are things that you can fulfill with ShipBob.
What is ShipBob?
ShipBob is an e-commerce fulfillment solution. What this means is that it ships physical products to your customer’s doorstep.
If you think about it, Amazon has its own shipping partners that enable Amazon to deliver in as little as 24 hours in some places in the United States.
Amazon also has a program called Amazon FBA or Fulfillment by Amazon. Here, you ship all your items to Amazon, then you list these products on your Amazon account.
Once somebody buys, it is Amazon who ships the item.
ShipBob helps you do the same.
While Amazon FBA sounds good, you can only sell your products n Amazon. What if you do not want to sell on Amazon? What if you want your own online store so you can maximize your profits and be in control?
The trouble without a shipping partner is that you have to drive to a local courier or schedule a pick-up where they will drive to your house, and then get the package you want to ship.
After this, all the packages will be sorted out in their shipping warehouse, and then they will be shipped.
With ShipBob, you do not have to schedule a pick-up, and you do not have to drop the items to an office. Instead, you ship all your products to ShipBob, and then they will manage the inventory.
Since all your products are in their warehouse, each piece of stock will be cataloged. You, as the business owner, will have access to all these codes, and then all you have to do is to manage your sales.
You do not even have to schedule a shipment. Because of the integration, ShipBob will know if a customer ordered a product from you, and they will pack the item and ship it to the customer within two days.
So how does this work? The thing is, you need to integrate your online store to ShipBob’s logistics systems. This should not be a cause of concern because ShipBob integrates with many online store platforms.
It is also easy to do this because you do not need how to code a computer language to tie-up with ShipBob; everything is done by clicking and following simple instructions.
Once the order is shipped, you will know where it is. You can tell your customer what the tracking number is, and give the customer an assurance the order that he paid for is on its way.
And the good news? ShipBob will ship all items from the United States to any part of the world. What this means is that you are not limited to sell in the US only; the whole world is your market place.
Features of ShipBob
Now, let us take a look at the great benefits of ShipBob and why you need to use it.
Multiple eCommerce Integrations
It does not matter how many stores you have. Many online store platforms can be connected to ShipBob. Once an order is placed, they will pack your parcel and deliver.
You can integrate ShipBob with Shopify, CrateJoy, WooCommerce, BigCommerce, SquareSpace and many more.
Since you will be shipping all your products for sale with ShipBob, you need to make sure that your partner tracks all your products properly.
It is not a good experience for a customer to order a product and then find out later that it is out of stock. If he already paid for it, a refund is due. But refunds take a while, and this is going to make your customer frustrated.
ShipBob has an accurate inventory management. The system knows how many more of your products are in stock in their warehouse. This stock count will automatically reflect in your store.
As the business owner, you will have a dashboard that shows you how many are in stock in ShipBob’s facilities, how many were ordered or booked, and how many were sold in the last month.
The inventory system also allows you to do a random spot check to verify how many stocks are in the warehouse. Plus, you can also view the sales history of specific products in your store.
The inventory system is also cloud-based. You can access from any computer, and all you have to do is to log in to your ShipBob account.
And because it is cloud-based, all systems are updated in real-time. You may wake up one midnight and decide to check for an update in your business, and you will find real numbers and then make a decision if you need to send more products to ShipBob.
You will also receive inventory alerts of the product stock is running low, giving you time to ship more items to ShipBob instead of waiting until the supply is depleted.
ShipBob does not operate only one warehouse. ShipBob is headquartered in Chicago, but it has several fulfillment centers across the United States.
Some examples are:
- Brooklyn, New York
- Los Angeles and San Francisco, California
With this feature, you can spread your items in several locations. If a customer orders, ShipBob will get the product in the warehouse closest to the customer’s shipping destination. What this means is that it will take a shorter period of time to deliver it.
Your customer will be happy, and you will have earned your customer’s loyalty.
This does not happen automatically. It is your choice, and your responsibility to ship your products to specific warehouses.
Order Management, Reports, and Advanced Filters
Once an order is placed, you can track what is happening in ShipBob’s warehouse. You can view if the item has been packed, processed, delivered, or if it is being returned. The system also has a feature where the customer will automatically receive tracking numbers.
ShipBob’s order management system can keep track of all shipments from receiving, processing, delivery, and returns stages. It can also automatically transfer tracking details to your customers.
In the advances filter, you can view your dashboard and only choose to see items that are under process, those that have been shipped, or those that have already been delivered.
This kind of filtering system will help you manage your business well, and do things by order of priority.
The dashboard will also show you a report, and you can view important details about your sales.
Here are some examples of what the report contains:
- Order ID
- Import date
- Ship date
- Customer name and email
- Tracking number
- Order status
- Insurance details
- Various timestamps
You can export the report in a spreadsheet, and this can help you create your own analysis. For example, you can create your own report to see who among your customers has the most repeat order, or who orders the most number of items.
If you know information like this, you can use this to drive your marketing campaigns. You can thank a loyal customer who keeps coming back, or you can send a personalized upsell email to someone who bought only one item.
ShipBob is compatible with many online store platforms. Here, let us take a look at a few and how you can use ShipBob to manage your shipping process.
While Shopify has a shipping discount with many shipping couriers, you need to ship the items from specific offices. This is the only way you can get discounts.
But if you integrate ShipBob with a Shopify Plus account, you will be able to promise a 2-day delivery to your customer.
This is how it works:
- You ship your items to ShipBob’s fulfillment center before integrating the two
- Once the integration is done, all your products will be in your ShipBob dashboard
- If an order is placed, ShipBob will take care of the processing, packing, and shipping
- If the customer’s shipping destination qualified for 2-day delivery, then the item will be delivered within two days. In some cases, your customers can also qualify for same-day delivery.
If you are using BigCommerce, you can take advantage of the free shipping option. BigCommerce has some real-time shipping calculators.
These apps can work with ShipBob, and they will check if additional shipping fees have to be charged plus handling fees.
It is also your choice to offer free shipping or a flat rate.
You can offer free shipping in BigCommerce if you use ShipBob because ShipBob does not charge high shipping rates if you are on the BigCommerce platform.
SquareSpace is a website-building platform where you can create an online store. With SquareSpace and ShipBob, you have the option to ship internationally, and also create shipping zones.
A shipping zone is like an area of coverage. You can choose to add countries per zone, or just cities and towns per zone if you only want to ship locally.
Apart from these three, ShipBob can also be integrated with WooCommerce, Magento, BackerKit, ShipStation, and many more.
The integration processes are similar, and all the benefits are the same. There will only be a difference in the features you get depending on the ShipBob plan you subscribe to.
Regardless of your online store platform, you have to ship your inventory to ShipBob’s fulfillment centers. The company does not pick up the parcel or package from your house.
Also, the shipping zones and regions depend on your store’s platform capabilities, not with ShipBob.
Now it is time to take a look at how much it would cost to have ShipBob as part of your business tool.
ShipBob is not like many apps that charge a monthly subscription fee.
The tool itself is free, and you can get the following services:
- Free onboarding lessons
- Standard packaging for your products
- Discounted shipping rates
- Returns management services
- Reports and analysis
- Inventory management
- Order management
All customers get the same basic services. There will be better services f you pay higher, and this cost will depend on the size of your inventory.
You see, ShipBob charges you based on the amount of space you use on their warehouse and the hours of work done.
For the first two hours of work that ShipBob does for you, you will pay $25. On all succeeding work hour, you will be charged $35 per work hour.
What is this payment?
It takes a person to work on storing your products, labelling them, packaging them, and adding them to your digital inventory. This is the cost of labor you pay for.
There is always a warehouse fee, and you will be paying $40 per month for each pallet that you use. This is sometimes called the storage fee, but only if your products need to be on pallets.
If your products are stored on a shelf, the fee is $10 per month. If your products need to be put inside a bin since they are not fragile, like clothing, the cost is $5 per month.
There is no fixed shipping rate in ShipBob, as the cost all depends on the following:
- The warehouse where you sent the item
- The weight and dimensions of your item
- The insurance cost
- The destination of the product
To get a custom quote on the shipping prices, you have to be a member and then send them your items.
Why Should You Use ShipBob?
ShipBob is ideal for small and medium-sized businesses that ship at least 100 products a month. With this number, it is difficult to deal with printing shipping labels, packing them, and then going to UPS, DHL, or FedEx.
Although you can ask the shipping couriers to pick up the item from your store, you can actually do better and save on cost if you get the services of a logistics partner as ShipBob.
You can save on cost because you no longer have to pay an employee on an hourly basis to manage your inventory. ShipBob will do it for you.
And once the work is done, ShipBob will not charge you any more man-hour, except when there is an order, and somebody worked on the delivery of your product.
ShipBob is a great logistics partner for small businesses because there is no minimum order requirement for orders per month. Here, you can send the items to their warehouse facilities, and then start integrating your online store with their platform right away.
ShipBob has also made analytics easy since you have a dashboard that updates in real-time. What you have to do is to simply download the report in Excel, and view filtered reports according to your preference.
You can use the analytics tool to make informed business decisions. With ShipBob, you can reduce the time you spend in packing, labeling, and shipping, and then use that time to do what is really important in your business: product development and marketing. How you liked the review!