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Shipping and Fulfillment

How to Save on Shipping and Warehousing

By Alex Coleman

As consumers everywhere shift the majority of their buying habits online for both essential and non-essential items, businesses of all types and sizes should be focused on developing or sustaining a strong online presence. And this means more than simply listing and selling products effectively; it’s about committing to solid, cost-effective back-end logistics that will keep inventory safe and organized, costs down, orders fulfilled and your mind where it should be: focused on growth initiatives and off day-to-day operations and logistics.

What Are the Ecommerce Pain Points Surrounding Shipping and Warehousing?

Simply put: shipping matters to Canadian consumers. In a 2019 report, 80% of Canadian respondents listed free shipping as the primary factor driving their choice of retailer. As ecommerce continues to evolve and expand, it’s difficult for small- to medium-sized businesses to stay competitive when it comes to free shipping. When overhead costs associated with things like shipping and warehousing start to grow, small- to medium-sized businesses lose the ability to stay competitive in a market where added fees mean unsatisfied customers.

In a 2018 survey looking at the primary reason why Canadian online shoppers abandon cart, a definitive 72% of respondents blamed shipping costs that end up being too high or more than expected.1

For American businesses, reaching a rapidly-expanding market of Canadian shoppers also presents uniquely difficult challenges. Shipping and fulfilling from the United States presents avoidable inconveniences to Canadian end customers.

Stores located in the USA often charge Canadian customers a 25-40% shipping premium when it would otherwise be free for American customers. Plus, for orders of $151 or more, Canadians must pay customs duties on top of the already exorbitant shipping costs. In comparison, the minimum threshold for this import tax for Canadian goods shipped to the United States is USD $800.

When you add these fees and discrepancies, Canadian customers are far less likely to convert when it comes to cross-border shopping.

Another Painpoint: Receiving, Warehousing, and Reverse Logistics

Shipping aside, the ecommerce fulfillment process can be a complicated one full of snags, stakeholders, inefficiencies and unnecessary costs. Receiving, storing, managing, picking, packing, shipping and managing returns are all essential steps to successful order fulfillment that must work in tandem. The more third parties involved, or steps ignored, the higher propensity there is for headaches. One of the areas this is most prominent is reverse logistics. From delivery fees and re-stocking expenses to inventory losses and damages, returns can be costly and drastically affect the bottom line. Plus, returns matter to consumers as well.

  1. At least 30% of products purchased online are returned vs. 8.9% in brick and mortar stores
  2. 92% of customers will buy something again if the returns process was easy
  3. 67% of shoppers check the returns page before making a purchase
  4. 47% want an easy-to-print return label

Instead of treating these potential losses and deterrents as an inevitability, it’s essential to work with a fulfillment partner who prioritizes returns and handles them efficiently, effectively and affordably.

The Solution?

If you want to ship between countries without the sky-high cost of opening a new operation in another country, your best bet is finding a 3PL partner.

Healthier Margins, Lower Shipping Costs, and Easier Fulfillment for American Brands

We build the partnerships you need to stay competitive, maximize profitability, reduce abandoned carts and satisfy customers. By working with local postal services, like UPS, FedEx, Canada Post, and Canpar, the right 3PL can secure discounted postage rates of up to 80% for ecommerce fulfillment clients and their consumers. The savings get passed directly to you, and therefore your customers when you don't have to mark their shipping up.

For American businesses, finding a 3PL with fulfillment centres strategically located in Canada’s largest urban centres (Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal) helps you to get closer to consumers north of the border. This greater accessibility will eliminate customs fees, import taxes and drastically reduce wait times to help you create a better ecommerce experience for Canadian customers.

A Single-Partner Solution to Help Streamline Every Stage of the Ecommerce Fulfillment Process – Even Reverse Logistics

Receiving, storing, managing, picking, packing, shipping and returning online orders are all essential steps to successful fulfillment. The more steps your dedicated ecommerce fulfillment partner can handle, the less you have to worry about back-end logistics. This gives you the flexibility you need to focus on the aspects of the business that you manage best.

Instead of working with multiple third-party logistics providers, you can rely on the right 3PL provider at every stage of the order fulfillment process. This ensures that you get the best, most comprehensive service for your dollar. Some 3PL providers can save you up to 40% on warehousing costs.

When it comes to reverse logistics, you want a partner who can help with every stage of the process and make it easier for you to reduce costs and improve inventory management. When your customer requests an exchange or a return through your online store, a fully integrated 3PL should receive the information before creating and sending the packing label at no cost to the customer. Once the customer sends the product back to their warehouse, your 3PL provider will receive and inspect the product before adding it back into your inventory. Easy!

Final Thoughts

With the right partner in place, you'll find yourself saving on shipping and warehousing from day one!

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By Alex Coleman

Alex is a Growth Marketer at Bolt, and is responsible for making it easier for businesses to find solutions that make sense. When he’s not hunting deals on cookware, he’s walking his rescue dog Oscar, or trying to figure out his next food stop: “have you tried Chen Chen’s or Ghost Pizza?”