Choosing the Right Shipping Method for eCommerce Fulfillment

Fast and dependable fulfillment is critical to the success of your online business. Your top priority is getting your orders to your customers quickly and accurately, but at the same time choose a cost-effective shipping method. This article gives you a detailed overview so you are prepared to select the right shipping methods for your fulfillment business.

Shipping Options: Choose from the widest range of shipping options to make sure you get the most reliable and cost-effective delivery methods for your orders. The choice of shipping companies and shipping methods depends on following criteria:

You have essentially two choices – services offered by USPS or services offered by private carrier such as UPS/FedEx.

In spite of all the bad press, USPS is one of the best and most reliable shipping option for delivering to consumer for home delivery. USPS service is by far the cheapest. There are many shipping choices available. First Class, Media, Priority and Express Mail. USPS also offers Flat Rate Package mailing for one standard price to any part of the USA. The best part of USPS is that it is the only choice to deliver package to PO Box and APO locations. Unlike other carriers, First class mail charge the same flat amount whether the package is shipped to next door neighbour or air shipped to Hawaii or Alaska.

UPS/FedEx usually charge more. These two carries are a good choice if you want very dependable service. If your products have high value and you want an insured and guaranteed delivery then it is OK to justify the high cost charged by UPS/FedEx. These carriers are a good fit for heavier package items. Both UPS/FedEx offer ground and air services. The cost and time to deliver a package based on the zone. The entire country is divided into various zones. Packages shipped to the closest zone gets delivered next day via ground and cost less compared to farther zone which could take up to 5 business days via ground service.

Delivery confirmation and tracking: The terms “Delivery Confirmation” and “Tracking” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. When UPS or FedEx “tracks” a package, it knows where it is at all time. Delivery Confirmation will usually acknowledge that the package arrived at the destination zip code. It will also note if delivery was attempted but not successful. However, the details are often fuzzy after that. If “delivered”, was the package left at the doorstep? Did the postal worker leave it at the neighbor’s house? Delivery Confirmation often will not help you in those situations. It is possible to have a lost package with “delivery confirmation” showing “delivered” at the same time.

Another limitation of Delivery Confirmation is that it is often not scanned. There have been reported instances when the package was never scanned, either on the pickup side or the delivery side or both. When you look up the “delivery confirmation” number online, it simply says “Label Printed”. Other things to note about delivery confirmation: USPS Delivery Confirmation on “first class” mail is restricted to items which are at least ¾” thick. If the item is less than ¾” thick, you must upgrade to priority mail to use Delivery Confirmation.

Shipping Merchandise to the Fulfillment Center: In addition to selecting the right shipping for outbound shipping; you also need to ship merchandise to the fulfillment center. Most fulfillment centers have negotiated rates for freight shipment via LTL or other shipping methods and you should compare the shipping cost for inbound shipment from your fulfillment company instead of going direct to the freight company. Depending on the nature of your merchandise, and pickup site, there could be a huge cost difference between various freight companies, your fulfillment center should be able to guide in advising the best option.

Guidelines for Choosing the Right E-Commerce Website Hosting Service

E-commerce website hosting is a specific kind of website hosting platform used for hosting a website doing business online. It is different from a standard web hosting because it must have several business-specific functionalities and features to ensure smooth running of the website. Choosing the best e-commerce website hosting service provider is imperative for success in your online business endeavor.

What Are the Features to Consider

When it comes to e-commerce website hosting, the special features that must be considered are database support, SSL, specialized software for shopping cart management, online payment processing services, and of course security aspects. Entrepreneurs and businesses must have access to the right tools and best services that they can use to set-up and manage an online business.

All e-commerce websites must have access to the same fundamental features regardless of the size of their business or retail website. These features include a suitable domain name, the ability to process credit card payments online, and a user-friendly website. Web retailers must choose the right e-commerce website hosting service to take care of all these business essentials before they put up their business online and activate it.

Why Engage Services of an Expert

Small business owners may have a tough time finding a website hosting provider specializing in e-commerce hosting. You must have a good idea of what to look for before you start your search. Choose a reputed provider with vast experience in successfully hosting e-commerce websites and at a price that fits within your budget without diluting the essential features required to manage and run your business smoothly.

You may have to decide between shared and dedicated web hosting and then plan in detail to take care of your present and future needs of your business. There are advantages as well as drawbacks of both approaches and that’s why you will be better off hiring the services of an expert who can advise you on making the best possible move.

Shared Or Dedicated – Which One Is Your Choice

A shared e-commerce web server means you will be sharing the resources of the server with many other users as the hosting company will be running many websites on the same physical server. When you choose a dedicated server, you will be in complete control of server operations as your web site will be the only one on the server. You will be able to use all the resources and enjoy smooth operation.

Quite expectedly, the dedicated server hosting option will come at a much higher price than the shared hosting option. If you are an e-commerce business poised to take the big leap ahead, dedicated e-commerce web hosting service is highly recommended.

Managed dedicated server hosting will save you the hassle of utilizing your in-house expertise to maintain and run the server. The e-commerce web hosting company will include everything in the plan, including customization and management of the server. You will be able to tweak the services to match the specific requirements of your e-commerce business website.