Standard Shipping: A Comprehensive Guide for E-commerce Retailers


Establishing a robust delivery supply chain for your e-commerce business can be a daunting task. The financial and operational requirements are substantial, making it impractical for many businesses to build their infrastructure. Thankfully, standard shipping services provided by courier companies offer a cost-effective alternative with comparable results.

In this guide, we will delve into the world of standard shipping for eCommerce, exploring its advantages, and disadvantages, and how it can benefit your online platform.

What is Standard Shipping for E-commerce?

Standard shipping is the fundamental delivery service offered by courier companies and their partners. It represents an affordable and reliable option for merchants, particularly for domestic shipments that primarily utilize ground transportation. However, it's important to note that standard shipping may have longer delivery time frames compared to other expedited services, potentially affecting the overall delivery experience.

To better understand the potential of standard shipping for your e-commerce business, let's explore its key characteristics.

4 Steps to Ship Ecommerce Orders through Standard Shipping

To successfully ship e-commerce orders using standard shipping, follow these four essential steps:

1) Order Creation: Once a purchase is made, a fulfillment request is generated in the backend system, notifying the warehouse of the order details. Simultaneously, an Air Waybill (AWB) is created with the carrier and sent to the warehouse. The item is then retrieved from the warehouse and prepared for packaging.

2) Labeling: Print a shipping label provided by the courier service, ensuring it includes accurate shipping and sender's addresses, as well as contact details. Additionally, consider using precautionary labels to communicate important handling instructions, such as "fragile" or "flammable," for the safety of the package during transit.

3) Packaging: Properly pack the item in boxes or pallets, depending on the order size. Ensure secure packaging that can withstand potential rough handling during transit. If an order consists of multiple items, consolidate them securely into a single larger package for more convenient delivery.

4) Fulfillment: After packaging and labeling, either drop off the parcel at the nearest center or schedule a pickup. At this point, the package becomes the carrier's responsibility, as it traverses the delivery network to reach its intended destination. Finally, the package is delivered to the customer's doorstep, completing the forward flow of the e-commerce shipping process.

How to Calculate Standard Shipping Costs for E-commerce?

When calculating shipping costs for standard shipping, four primary factors are typically considered:

1) Package Size: Couriers often charge a standard fee if the package falls within specific dimensional and weight limits. These guidelines are typically outlined in the terms and conditions of the shipping service. Failure to adhere to these limits may result in additional charges for oversized packages.

2) Package Value: The value of the package usually determines the cost of insurance. Most carriers charge a percentage of the total value, typically around 3-4%, to provide insurance coverage for the shipment.

3) Distance: The distance between the origin and destination plays a significant role in determining the shipping cost. Carriers often divide countries into different shipping zones to calculate costs more efficiently based on distance.

4) Value-Added Services: Additional services such as package tracking, customer notifications, and doorstep pickup are usually separate from standard shipping costs. These value-added services can be purchased to enhance the overall shipping experience.

Tips to Improve E-commerce Standard Shipping

To enhance the shipping and delivery experience for both you and your customers, consider implementing the following tips:

Leverage Your Order Volume: Negotiate separate Service Level Agreements (SLAs) with courier companies based on your order volumes. Tailor the agreement to include clauses like minimum thresholds for damaged/delayed shipments, improved delivery times, and other customized terms that align with your product and customer requirements.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1) How long does standard shipping take?

The delivery period for standard shipping typically ranges from 3 to 7 business days for domestic shipments. However, it's important to note that this is an estimate, and actual delivery times may vary depending on the carrier and other factors.

2) Does standard shipping include package tracking?

Yes, most standard shipping services include basic package tracking. However, for real-time tracking features, you may need to purchase additional services or upgrades. Be sure to check with your chosen carrier for specific tracking options available with their standard shipping service.

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