Have you just entered the wonderful world of ecommerce?
Firstly, welcome! Secondly, you're probably overwhelmed by all the jargon, terminology, and concepts. It starts with your website and phrases like SEO and backlinks. Then there are your payments with terms like gateways and POS.
There are also several shipping concepts to get your head around. But having a basic understanding is vital as it will play a significant role in your fulfilment strategy.
But how do you know which shipping concepts to learn first? There's no need to stress. We've collated the top 20 for you to help you get started.
The Essential Shipping Concepts for Ecommerce
You could spend a week or two trying to memorise all of the shipping concepts. However, there are at least 20 essential ones that every ecommerce business owner should learn when starting out.
API stands for Application Program Interfaces. It allows two systems to connect and act as one seamlessly. For example, there is an Interparcel Restful JSON API that you can use on your website or application.
The term CSV stands for comma-separated values. It's a text file that includes a list of data or information. If you're using a platform that doesn't integrate with Interparcel, you can upload your orders by dragging and dropping a CSV file into our Shipping Manager.
When you integrate plugins, applications, or software with your ecommerce store, you are combining them so that they can work seamlessly. It doesn't require any coding or hacking. All you have to do is hit a connect button and wait for the two systems to do what they need to do.
If you're starting an ecommerce store with your own website, it's worth knowing there are multiple other locations where you can sell your products. One of these is marketplaces such as eBay and Amazon. Instead of trying to attract customers to your own site, you instantly have access to millions of people who browse these stores every day.
You might already be using a platform for your ecommerce store. Some of the most popular include Shopify and WooCommerce. There are plenty of others too. The good news is that most of them integrate with the Interparcel Shipping Manager.
When you're running an ecommerce store, you're going to want to automate as much as possible, so you're only spending time on high-value tasks. Using a fulfilment automation solution is vital and brings many efficiencies to your business.
7. Shipping Label
Every individual order you're shipping will need a label. It should include the essential information such as address and contact details as well as information on what is getting sent.
8. Commercial Invoice
The most important document you need to complete for international delivery is the customs/commercial invoice. This document provides Customs with information about your shipment such as value, classification and origin.
If you see the word parcel, it will refer to the box you're using to send the order.
As for a satchel, these are generally bags that you would use to ship the order. They come in multiple shapes and sizes.
Setting up PrePay on your Interparcel account means you no longer need to worry about entering your card details. It's a free feature and it will allow you to pay for your deliveries with just a few clicks. With this feature you can also get an overview of how much you spend per order or between a certain period of time and manage your budget in a more effective way.
A multicarrier fulfilment solution is vital for ecommerce stores. The concept refers to having a choice of several courier companies. It de-risks your businesses and provides greater flexibility in meeting your customer's expectations and getting the parcel in their hands.
13. Live Rates
Adding live rates to your website can be a gamechanger. It puts the decision of shipping costs in the hands of your customer. They may want to pay more for express delivery or spend less and wait longer. It also doesn't impact your bottom line.
14. Standard vs. Express Delivery
The two most common delivery methods for courier companies are standard and express. You'll pay for more shipping when you select the express option, but it will get delivered within a day or two, depending on the destination.
15. Shipping Notifications
Once your customers make a purchase, they will want to know when it will arrive. Shipping notifications keep them up to date on its status throughout the fulfilment journey.
16. Branded Tracking Portal
With the Interparcel Branded Tracking Portal, you can personalise the tracking page that customers will see with your logo and colour scheme. They can get all the information they need on their parcel's status through the tracking portal.
SKU stands for stock keeping unit. It's the barcode on your products that help you keep track of your inventory.
18. Volumetric/Cubic/Dimensional Weight
The volumetric, cubic, and dimensional weight relates to the size of the parcel (lenght, width and height). You should take the time to upload this information to the Interparcel Shipping Manager to help determine the right packaging for your products.
19. Dead Weight
Dead weight or actual weight is the total weight of your shipment. It doesn't refer to the physical size, just how heavy it is.
20. Smart Boxing
One of the benefits of uploading the volumetric/cubic/dimensional weight is you can utilise the Smart Boxing feature inside the Shipping Manager. It will help you combine multiple orders in the most efficient way.
How to Learn More Shipping Concepts
These vital shipping concepts can help you get started on your new ecommerce journey. They will help you formulate your fulfilment strategy and ensure you meet your customer's expectations.
Once you've mastered these shipping concepts, you'll be ready to learn more ideas that can help take your online store to the next level. You can find more helpful ecommerce tips in our blog. Make sure to follow our social media channels, so you never miss a new article.