GUIDE: GET MY BUSINESS ONLINE | STEP NINE:
How to Ship my Online Products
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Shipping your products to your customers is a vital part of running your online business. If a customer isn’t able to physically pick up their order, it is up to you to decide how you will get it to them. Fortunately, there are a number of different ways you can do this depending on your budget, frequency, and overall needs.
To start, you need to do some research about rates and support provided by shipping companies like FedEx, UPS, USPS. Things that will affect rates could include weight of packages, the size of the packages, the distance the packages need to go, and how fast you would like the package to get there. If you sell on websites like Amazon or Walmart, they may have their own internal methods you should consider as well.
Another factor to consider is the website you are selling your product from. If you build your own website using something like WordPress, you can choose whatever plug and play options you like. If you use drag and drop style websites, like Wix and Squarespace, you may be limited to whatever shopping tools they have partnered with. If you use websites that are made specifically for online stores, like Shopify, you may have the best of both worlds as the main focus of the website is to provide a great shopping experience without sacrificing options when it comes to shipping companies.
For tips on how to package your products specifically, check out Freight Pros. Their website talks about finding materials to pack with, ways to protect fragile items, the importance of weighing your packages, and more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you have questions about shipping your products? You should consider checking out our Resource Navigator. It houses the contact information of 400 of our most helpful partners from across the state who provide free to low-cost assistance to Iowa entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Q: Do I pay for shipping or does the customer?
A: Depending on what kind of shipping you offer, you or your customer could completely foot the bill, or both of you could. When checking out from your shop, the customer will be prompted with shipping options. If you transfer the cost to them, the shipping cost will be added to the final bill which includes any applicable taxes. If you wanted to offer free shipping, you could either add in an estimated shipping cost to every product you sell, or you could subtract the cost of shipping from the revenue made from the sale itself. The first option allows you to give the appearance of free shipping and will keep more of your sale. The second option lets you sell your products for cheaper, which customers will probably like, but you will end up making even less after you subtract out the cost of shipping.
Q: Should I offer multiple ways to ship my products?
A: This is up to you. For simplicity purposes, you could offer a single method for every customer. This would ensure your revenue is consistent every time, but it can increase the chances that a customer doesn’t convert if they are turned off by the cost of shipping or time for delivery. By offering more than one method, you cater more to the customer and let them take the wheel a little bit in the sales process.
Q: Are shipping options really that important?
A: This depends entirely on your type of business and who your customers are. It’s always a good idea to do some customer research when creating a new product or service, why shouldn’t we figure out what kind of shipping options work best for them as well?
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NOTICE: The information included on this website is to be used only as a guide. It is not intended to cover all provisions of the law or every taxpayer's specific circumstances.
GUIDE: START AN ONLINE BUSINESS
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