Tag Archives: shipping

Christmas Preparations

indexThe busy season for those of us who deal with games / toys and other knick-knacks that fit under the tree is coming up.  If you don’t think it’s time to start prepping for the season,you are definitely wrong.  Christmas can be as much as 50% of a business’s sales for the year, certainly for Fortress Geek, we see a significant (like 100-200% increase) in monthly sales volume.

What can you do to make your Christmas Season flow well? Here’s a few suggestions:

  • Advertising banners and on-site, in-season designs should be started immediately.  You want them ready for the Christmas season to put shoppers in the right mood and remind them to purchase what they need now!
  • It’s too late to start shipping Amazon for Toys & Games, but it’s worth considering places like eBay  and other 3rd party sites.  The bump in traffic during this period is definitely worth planning and grabbing at.
  • Get your shipping area ready.  Pick up all the necessary boxes, packing materials and tapes that you will need.   You don’t want to have to slow down / stop shipping just because you forgot to buy paper for the printer.
  • Pre-pack some of your best-selling items to prep for shipping.  If you know you sell 100 copies of the same item, all in single lots, you can pre-pack these to speed up shipping.
  • Make sure to organise multiple pick-ups / shipments as necessary with your courier company
  • If you are hiring extra help, make sure all documentation and processes are already in-place.  If possible, assign people to specific tasks that they can do continuously such that they can get good at that single task (pulling, packing, etc.) without having to learn the rest of your processes.

Do you have any other tips for e-commerce business’s during the upcoming business season?

Free, flat or variable shiping costs

Let’s talk about shipping.  Now, we all know that you need to let customers or potential customers know what the cost of shipping is before they hit checkout.  So you put in the necessary shipping estimators on the shopping cart and otherwise.

However, what kind of shipping methods do you use? The various options have pros and cons.

Free shipping (pure) generally means you put the cost of the shipping items in the cost of your products. This works quite well if, for example; you have a high margin product with a low shipping cost.  It also does well if you can get customers to purchase more than 1 of the item at the time, to save on shipping costs.

However, the cons are that you generally have to put a much higher price on your product which could make you seem uncompetitive.  I’d say this type of shipping method works best for really high value products (where shipping is a small portion of your actual price) or low value products  (where you can ship the order really cheaply).

Secondly, you can do a combined free / variable shipping method. Basically, you provide free shipping at a certain level.  Now, this shipping option pushes people to purchase a certain amount and if set right, can push people to the next ‘level’ of purchasing.  This kind of method requires more calculation but in many cases can be quite profitable.

Flat rate shipping on the other hand is perhaps the easiest for customers to understand.  It’s a simple number that they can work with, but has the disadvantage of requiring to you know your shipping cost quite well.  It also means that if a customer does a large order, and a lot of customers do that, you cost is going to go much higher than you expected.  Depending on how you price it, you might also be losing money on each order.

Lastly, you have variable – or actual – cost of shipping.  Here you charge everybody the actual cost of what it costs to customer to ship. This is of course the most fair method, but the customers that you really want – the large order customers might decide to go elsewhere because other businesses are offering them free shipping.