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How to Manage Shipping Online: What Every Shipper Must Know

Managing your shipping right is really important! Read this article and discover how to manage shipping online and how to ship your ecommerce orders!

Order fulfillment is a process of storing and organizing goods, packing orders, shipping products to customers. For online stores, this is a very important process. You have various options – you can handle fulfillment by yourself, you can outsource the process to specific fulfillment partners, you can drop ship or if you want, you can mix methods. Regardless of what are you going to choose, you need to make sure you do it right.

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The process order fulfillment includes all activities including shipping products to buyers. Order fulfillment starts with sorting the products, receiving shipments, and shelving inventory for fast and effective picking. As the orders come in, the items are picked, carefully checked for accuracy, they are packed appropriately, and labeled for shipment.

There are 4 different ways to handle order fulfillment:

1. In-house order fulfillment: you can manage a shipping and warehousing operation by yourself in your own space with your own people.

2. Outsource fulfillment: you can use specific order fulfillment centers or maybe third-party logistics organizations to store items, pack, and ship orders for you.

3. Drop shipping: you can use drop ship suppliers (which is quite professional, we must say) and ship orders to your buyers when ordered and charge you only for the items you sell.

4. Hybrid order fulfillment solution: This combines all or just a few of the above-mentioned options. This is a quite popular option for large businesses.

Once you have chosen a way to handle the order fulfillment process, you have your orders pulled, checked, and properly packed, you need to ship them and deliver in customers’ hands. In order to do this, you need to use a shipping carrier. Before you ship your first item, you need to know exactly what impacts the shipping rates, so you can negotiate low shipping costs.

Here is what every shipper must know:

1. Box weights and sizes – These factors play a huge role in determining the shipping rates. Sometimes, a few inches can really make a big difference. It is important to use the smallest mailer or box possible for each and every one of your shipments. If you are used to ship in a few box weights and sizes, managing rates with just one shipping carrier can be quite easy. However, if your box sizes and weights vary per order, by comparing different shipping carriers you will make sure you get the best rate. We highly recommend you to use a multi-shipper management tool.

2. Address type – FedEx and UPS differentiate between residential and commercial addresses and usually charge a higher rate or they add extra fees to packages that are shipped to residential addresses. If you need to shop to a home address, USPS is without a doubt the best option as that is their primary service.

3. Delivery zones – Shipping carriers use specific delivery zones to identify parts of an area and they use these zones to calculate the shipping rates, as well as, delivery time. The zones are usually based on your location. Please keep in mind that as distances from one location to another increase, the shipping rates, zone numbers, and delivery times increase as well.

4. Shipping methods – The shipping methods are service levels that shipping carriers use to determine the shipping rates and delivery speed. The faster the delivery time, the higher the rate.

These are very important considerations every shipper must know. We hope this article will help you manage your shipping online better and more professionally.

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