Shopping is going through a complete makeover! With the world becoming more digital, companies are now taking a good look at online shopping and even changing their strategies to actively include eCommerce. This has increased the focus on shipping or eCommerce courier service in India.
Online shopping is becoming extremely popular and research suggests that ecommerce sales will cross 17% of retail sales globally by 2021 and reach 22% by 2023.
For companies in India that want to survive in the long run, online retail and shipping is slowly going to become a must. If you’re part of an Indian company that is seeking logistics solutions and wishes to enter the e-commerce space, this article will help you by providing tips regarding Ecommerce courier solutions.
Let’s delve deeper into Courier Services!
What is the difference between shipping services / delivery services / courier services?
So, you’ve decided that you want to actually partner with the best courier service for online business? Great! Let’s go over some basic terminologies. These are specific words that you will encounter on a daily basis. Since you’re new to the industry, it is important to know the meaning of terms that are used in the industry and the difference between the terms.
The words ‘Shipping services’, ‘delivery services’, and ‘courier services’ are terms that you will encounter when you are researching or even using Google. If you aren’t familiar with the words, they can become confusing, however, do not worry because these three words have the same meaning.
These words were originally used for different things. Shipping and delivery services were described as the process of moving a product from point A to point B. This could use any method of transportation including air and ship. On the other hand, the transportation of small objects from one location to the other was done with the help of courier services which was most commonly referred to the people who delivered the product to homes.
Today, all three words are used to refer to the same thing – an agency or company used to transfer something from one place to another.
What are some other common ecommerce courier service terminologies?
There’s quite a bit of jargon that is associated with courier service companies in India. This can often cause confusion for beginners, who are just entering the market. While you slowly navigate the industry, here’s a list of a few eCommerce terms and what they mean. This will help you understand the market better and plan your business model accordingly.
◙ Air Waybill (AWB)
The AirWay bill or the AWB is a document issued by the carrier when the shipment is transported by air. This document has information about the delivery including the carrier, the receiver, and tracking information.
◙ Commercial Invoice
Also known as the Tax Invoice, this document is given by the vendor to the purchaser and includes information of product/s purchased including name, cost, and taxes levied. Additionally, it includes the details of the seller and the purchaser. This is an extremely important document and very crucial to each transaction.
◙ Customs Duty
Duty is a type of tax that is levied on a product that is exported or imported internationally. The duty is decided on the basis of the type of product, the weight or a mix of both. It is important to note that the rate of duty differs from country to country.
◙ Exchange Rate
This is the rate at which one currency will be exchanged for another currency. The exchange rates change every day based on market circumstances. For example, 1 USD is equal to approximately Rs. 75.52. While this rate may hold true for one day, it might very easily fluctuate the next day. If your business is a global one or if you wish to take it global, it is important to keep watching out for exchange rate fluctuations.
◙ Expedited Shipping
This term refers to the process of speeding up the process of shipping and reducing the number of days it will take to deliver the product. While a lot of companies in India offer expedited shipping as part of their logistics solutions, it is expensive to the customer and so it is important to keep a note of it.
To send products from one’s own country to another (foreign) country. The process of exproting products comes with a bunch of rules and regulations and it is mandatory to abide by the national laws regarding exports.
◙ HSN Codes
Harmonized System Nomenclature codes are 8-digit uniform codes created by the World Customs Organization (WCO). These codes are used to classify products into segments. These codes are accepted globally.
To receive products from another (foreign) country into one’s own country.
Insurance is merely a guarantee of compensation for specific loss or damage to the products for a specified premium. While insurance is always recommended, it is even more important when the product that is being shipped is an expensive one or if it will be covering a long distance from the seller to the buyer.
◙ Insurance Certificate
A declaration provided by the insurance company stating their undertaking including the coverage costs for the product.
A document listing the different shipments that are being carried out on a ship or an aircraft.
How to Scale Your Business Using logistics solutions?
Integrating the best courier service for online business into your business is a great way to actually scale it. Shipping logistics solutions can help you open many doors, allowing you to grow your business easily and also stay ahead of the competition.
When you are planning on expanding your business offerings, it is important to plan everything you might need beforehand, such as funding and a good ecommerce shipping service process. Having your logistics solutions in place goes a long way in ensure a seamless flow within your business.
Shipping Aggregators such as Shipping101 come in handy here because you can easily offload your entire shipping process from start to finish without worrying about anything.
Here’s how a great ecommerce courier service can help scale your business:
Using a good ecommerce shipping process can help you become a more transparent organization, internally and towards your customers. You know exactly at what stage of shipping your product is and you can also keep your customer updated with the latest information. This also improves brand value and creates a positive image of your brand in the consumer’s mind.
Reduce Overhead Costs
Using systematic inventory management and demand forecasting, you can easily customize your shipping process and tasks such as shipping schedules, medium of shipping, packaging details, etc. This helps save time and money for the business.
Improve Customer Satisfaction
Offering improved processes such as timely eCommerce delivery solutions, safe payment options, multiple eCommerce delivery options, cost-effective charges, and constant transparency ensures that customers will be satisfied and keep coming back for more.
A great ecommerce shipping service plan can help in streamlining your deliveries. A consistent strategy and good fulfillment rate can help you get an edge over your competitors, as customers prefer companies that offer the best services.
Increased Business & Sales
Now that everything is in place, you will definitely get more customers which will increase your business and sales. Thus, your logistics solutions go a long way in increasing sales in the long-run.
What types of ecommerce courier solutions are available?
It is important to learn what type of ecommerce shipping service solutions you want to offer as a company as this will determine your standing as a business. The most common courier solutions include the following:
◙ Standard Courier Services
Standard courier services are the basic shipping services where you offer to transport and deliver packages from one location to another.
◙ Free in-store pickup
Free in-store pickup is when you allow customers to come into specific places and pick up their packages rather than have it delivered. For example, Amazon has a few pickup points, where customers can pick up their packages manually. Since a lot of people do not stay at their homes for most of the day, offering in-store pickup can be a good strategy.
◙ LTL freight carriers
Less Than Truckload (LTL) is a service that is used for large B2B shipments that includes bulk shipments.
Also known as one-day or next-day shipping, it makes sure that customers receive their delivery on the next business day. This is a good option when the product you’re selling is a product that is usually needed on an urgent basis.
◙ Same-day delivery
This ensures that customers get their delivery on the same day that they order. This type of delivery is commonly used for shipping perishables or time-sensitive goods.
◙ International Couriers
These are couriers that provide international shipping and delivery. This is a great opportunity once you’ve already established yourself in your country and want to expand offerings across the world.
However, there are a lot of rules and regulations as well as paperwork that is required in international shipping.
◙ Courier Aggregators
These firms are responsible for providing bulk shipping options. They offer entire end-to-end shipping services from pick-up to delivery to even returns, they do it all!
Do I need to have an ecommerce website?
This is one important question that every company asks them when deciding their business strategy.
WIth ecommerce becoming a norm in today’s day and age, having an ecommerce website is definitely a great move. Regardless of whether you are a traditional retail business or an ecommerce one, having a website is definitely something that can help your business.
The internet is a powerful platform that is used by millions of people who search for products and services everyday. Having your website popup on their search results even if you don’t offer ecommerce delivery solutions services can still increase your visibility and indirectly contribute to your business success.
Here are a few benefits of having an ecommerce website:
The cost of running an eCommerce business is significantly lower than traditional retail outlets. In eCommerce businesses, you can remove overhead costs such as store, inventory, staff wages, electricity, etc. Using social media management software and bots, you can automate marketing and customer relationship functions.
Being on the internet can help you increase your target audience. You are not limited by location and people can easily access your website from anywhere in the world. This allows you to easily expand your business.
With e-Commerce, you are not restricted to a particular location. You can work from anywhere in the world and provide products and services to any other part of the world. This contributes to your reach and opens your business up to a wide array of possibilities.
The internet allows you to give and receive instant feedback and connect directly with your customers without any middlemen.
In traditional methods, you would usually have distributors or local stores who sell your products, but with the internet your customers can directly reach out to you.
Using social media or your website, your customers give you instant feedback on what they like about your products and how you can improve them. This can help you easily retain customers or increase customer loyalty.
Expanding your business geographically becomes easier with eCommerce. For example, if you provide services only in a particular area, you can easily include more areas and even have your products delivered nationally or internationally.
Unlike traditional brick and mortar stores, you are not limited to a specific time frame of operations. Your website can operate 24/7, and people can place orders based on their convenience. This greatly increases customer satisfaction and in turn your business.
Not having to pay extra costs for rent/maintenance, sales people, distributors, etc. you save up on a lot of money. You can easily translate this into higher margins and can also offer more discounts or sales to your customers.
With an ecommerce website, there is nothing to lose and a whole lot to gain.
How to choose an ecommerce courier service in India?
Choosing a courier service is one of the hardest but the most important thing you need to do. Your choice will directly affect your business strategy and success.
Weight and sizing are two important factors that you need to consider when choosing an best courier service. Most delivery agencies create a pricing model according to these criteria.
So, if you have small parcels, then choose national postal services or companies that offer flat rate options. If you have heavy and bulky parcels, then a private courier service is a better option.
Research suggests that 74% of online shoppers consider free shipping one of the most important criteria when purchasing a product. This is why it’s always a good option to provide Free Shipping to your customers but it can become a very expensive additional cost for you.
You can also add that cost to the final price of the product, but make sure that the cost of the product is still competitive in the market. Another option is to offer free shipping above a minimum purchase cost. This will give customers an incentive to purchase more and you can offer them free shipping, so it-s a win-win!
Unlike the traditional brick and mortar stores, you are not limited to a specific time frame of operations with eCommerce. This helps increase productivity and optimizes resources.
Courier services usually use the following criteria for calculating shipping costs:
- Parcel Size
- Parcel Weight
- Country of Destination
- Country of Origin
- Tracking System or Other Features
- Insurance (if any provided)
International shipments can be costly, so it is important to provide your customers with all the information related to international shipping upfront. They should know how much it costs, how is it calculated. etc.
Don’t forget that you will require special permissions when it comes to shipping abroad and you will have to fill extra paperwork regarding your shipment with the appropriate authorities.
You should also make it clear that you are not responsible for any local customs duties in the country.
For a lot of customers (69% to be exact) delivery dates are extremely important. So, provide as much information as possible when it comes to deliveries.
Being as transparent with the customer as possible is important, from the dates of dispatch to delay in deliveries, everything should be informed to the customers.
A lot of people now prefer sustainable packaging options, so make sure to offer some recyclable or recycled packaging options. This can also save you a lot of money in the long run.
Make sure that the packaging suits the product inside, for example, fragile items should be packed properly to ensure it doesn’t break.
Make sure to let your customers know beforehand if you provide a returns option and clarify who pays for the returns. You should also make it clear how returns will happen, if you will provide a printed return label, or assign a pre-arranged carrier.
Express delivery is expensive, but a lot of customers choose next-day or same-day delivery options. If you want to offer this option, make sure to let your customers know the rates of this service.
What are some of the best & cheapest courier services?
FedEx is one of the biggest and most reliable online Courier service India. An American multinational delivery service, it has revolutionized the shipping market. However, it does have one downfall – FedEx doesn’t cover a wide delivery area.
DTDC is known for its widespread delivery coverage and extensive network. Started in 1990 in India, it has since grown to deliver to 220 countries.
While it is quite affordable as compared to other multinational ecommerce shipping services, it is still quite pricey for individuals and small businesses.
A somewhat new ecommerce shipping service, they have managed to make a name for themselves. They are rapidly growing their delivery area, primarily based on the fact that they are quite affordable and reliable.
◙ ECOM Express
Though fairly new in the ecommerce business, they are known for providing some of the best delivery services. They have even grown to provide both shipping and logistics solutions services. Another plus point is that they are considered to be quite affordable and have a good service time.
One of the best known ecommerce shipping services in the industry, Blue Dart is known for its high quality shipping and logistics solutions service. Though their costs seem a bit high, they have been known to negotiate with customers and provide cheaper rates.
◙ India Post
The iconic India Post is great for sending packages nationwide due to its extensive coverage area and its ability to send a package to even the most remote place in the country. Not to mention that it has one of the most affordable rates in the market.
Well known for their affordable pricing and nationwide, as well as international shipping, DHL has become known for its reliability. One notable aspect of it is that they have a special branch for ecommerce companies, known as DHL ecommerce.
◙ First Flight Couriers
With 10 offices and shipping worldwide, they are well known within the industry. They ship to over 4500 pincodes within India and are quite affordable for ecommerce.
Offering some of the lowest rates on the market, Dash101 is taking the ecommerce shipping world by storm. It offers high-end services for a fraction of the cost.
What are couriering costs?
There are many factors that play into the cost of sending a courier. The most important of which is the weight of the parcel and the location to where it must be shipped.
The first factor to be considered is the location. Each segment: Within City, Within State, Within Country, and International has a separate base cost. Within City is usually the cheapest, with the cost increasing for each segment.
International Shipping generally costs the most, as it often requires air or ship travel, with the most distance covered. Shipping to certain countries may cost more than to other countries. This depends on the infrastructure of the country or if any import/export duties are applied.
The second factor is the weight of the package, which will have an impact on the cost of the shipping after the location has been decided. For example, a 500g package being shipped within the country will typically cost more than a 500g package being shipped within the city.
Other factors that can also increase the cost of the package include any additional features applied to the package, such as with or without tracking, fragile shipping, or if any additional or special packaging is required. If expedited shipping is to be done, that will also cost more.
The costs of each of these factors may vary between shipping companies. Most of these shipping companies will be willing to negotiate costs if you ship bulk packages or if you ship packages frequently.
Technology can lead to a better Courier service experience
Technology innovation has become an important part for all segments, including shipping ecommerce service.
This is why it is important to constantly keep upgrading yourself and your systems to ensure the best possible customer experience.
Here are a few things you can streamline to improve experience by using technology:
- Bulk Order processing:
- Email/SMS tracking
- Integration with your sales platform
- Inventory management
- Easier processing of undelivered orders
- Analytics for shipment monitoring etc.
How can I gauge the level of customer service by the eCommerce courier service company?
Customer service is very important. If your customers are not happy, then they will not continue to give you business. Hence, it is a must to keep your customers happy and your business flowing.
However, it is not just you who is in charge of your customer’s happiness; it is everyone you work with, including your courier service companies in India.
You must ensure that the service they provide to your customers is top notch. Even if your shipping company makes one error, it could affect your brand value.
Therefore, it is essential that your customers are happy and satisfied with you and your courier company’s service.
However, this is easier to say than to do. So, how do you ensure that level of customer service is being maintained?
Here are some factors that you can follow to make sure that customers are happy and that your company is doing everything to maintain a high level of customer service.
Here are a few ways you can improve customer service:
Track Customer Calls
Keep an eye on how many customers call in with a problem. If there are not that many calls, especially as compared to orders, then most of the customers are happy.
On the other hand, if there are a lot of customers calling then most of them are not happy, and something is wrong.
You must then analyze whether the problem lies within your company or with the courier service company.
In order to understand the problem, you must always listen. Whenever a customer calls with a complaint, make sure you listen to exactly what the customer is trying to say, what are they not happy with?
Only if you know and understand the problem, then you can fix it. You can even ask them what do they like about your product/service, or your company.
Take this chance to ask how you can improve. This is how you can come up with a great solution.
Always Be Available
Make sure you or your customer service team is always available to listen to a customer or to address their questions or problems.
There is nothing worse than a customer who feels ignored. If that happens, then you may lose that customer for ever.
Make sure you make that customer feel heard, even if there is nothing you can do for them at the moment.
Offer Clear information
Don’t try to confuse or misdirect the customers. It will only make them feel frustrated and make them run away from you and your company, and you will lose a customer.
Instead offer them exact and clear information about what is happening, and what you are going to be doing to fix the problem.
Maintain Constant Communication
Even after the order is place, you are still not done. You need to maintain constant communication with both the customer and the courier service company.
Try to see what the problem is in both areas, and communicate to solve them. Perhaps the courier company needs more information or support to do their job properly.
There are many things that can go wrong in a business. If your customers are not happy, find out why. Provide better customer service from your end.
However, if there is problem with the courier service company then try to figure out what that is and how can you solve it.
Provide support to the courier company to see if they can improve customer service. If they cannot, or are not willing to solve the problem, then they may not be the best fit for you.
How to create the perfect ecommerce shipping solution?
While there is no such thing as perfect, you do want to get as close to it as possible, in order to ensure that your Courier service India is a success.
There are many ways that one can go about creating the perfect ecommerce shipping solutions.
Here are some steps to help you get started:
Create the right team
Make sure that you have a good team around you. You don’t just want people who agree with you but who really care about the business and who will take decisions for the good of the business.
Have clear goals
Set clear and achievable goals and then do everything in your power to meet them. Often people set impossible goals and then feel like a failure when they can’t achieve them. Instead set long term and short term goals.
You can aim for the long term goals, but should be able meet short term goals in a few months.
You can then set new short term goals which will help you achieve the long term goals and future dreams for your business.
Choose a shipping strategy
Choose a strategy which is not difficult to follow but also allows you to be on the path to meet your goals for the business. You can always tweak the strategy as and when needed to ensure that you stay on the right path.
No matter how much you plan, you will never be 100%. ready for growth. So after a certain amount of time and preparation, it is time to jump in, and start your eCommerce shipping business.
You can always change your strategy and adapt to the circumstances as needed, but you will never know what is needed, until you start.
What are some International ecommerce Courier Services?
There are many International ecommerce shipping services out there. You need to compare them and see which one works best for you.
These are some of the popular International Ecommerce Courier Services:
One of the most famous ecommerce shipping services that ships throughout India and even internationally. They ship to over 220+ countries, which is convenient.
They have more than 50 years of experience in the industry. This means that they certainly know what they are doing.
Is a popular and one of the best courier service for online business in India that delivers to over 220 countries.
◙ India Post
India Post is a cheap and reliable solution to ship your products to over 213 countries with the best GST rate.
Delivering to over 240 countries, DTDC has built a strong courier network. Their main USP is that they provide the option of COD on international orders.
Delhivery is a popular name in Courier service India. It has become a favorite for many companies.
◙ Ecom Express
They provide end-to-end ecommerce shipping Services. They even provide tracking services on all their international orders.
This extensive guide will definitely be able to help you navigate the complicated world of ecommerce Shipping Service.
If you’re a small business looking to partner with a shipping company or if you’re seeking logistics solutions, check out Dash101. With its affordable plans for small businesses and entrepreneurs, you can take your business online without any hassles. So take the plunge and think BIG!
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