In the e-commerce industry, the delivery mechanism is now mattered more than ever. Customers don’t just expect a safe delivery of their product but their expectations rise to the minimum possible time as well. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has given a boost to the e-commerce industry as customers are left with almost no option besides online shopping even for the necessities. They want their items to be quickly delivered to their doorstep safely. Due to this, the e-commerce focus is taking account of the delivery mechanism as well. In the e-commerce business, there are a plethora of ways by which you can better serve your customers and shipping is one of the major among them.
With the Magento e-commerce platform, you get huge options of shipping features with different functionalities, price variations, version, and edition. Using the right shipping options can make shipping for your business more cost-effective, sales stimulating, and also eco-friendly. Since the shipping mechanism is quite complex, it is best to use an established shipping extension in your store which comes with all required shipping tools instead of using stand-alone shipping extension one by one.
In this article, we will know about the complete mechanism of Magento shipping, shipping options and the best apps that you can use for shipping in your Magento store.
Magento Shipping Mechanism
When a customer makes an order in a store, he/she needs to choose a delivery option. For shipping an order, the store requires the following information from your end.
a. Content of the Cart:
These are the items that a customer adds to the cart. They can be different in terms of dimensions and weight which will define the delivery cost. Sometimes, there isn’t a physical product in the cart, like a virtual book. It should be a downloadable product in your Magento store. The customer will be able to download it after purchasing it. Thus, we are assuming that it will not have a hard copy and it cannot be shipped.
If you wish you can make virtual product shipping by uploading the physical into a physical memory disk. The disk will be a physical product that can be ship in a parcel.
Conclusion: Only physical products can be shipped from an e-commerce store. If the cart contains only virtual products, there shouldn’t be any shipping options on the checkout page.
This is the address where the product needs to be delivered. Location plays an important role as it can vary the price and delivery options. For e.g. shipping from New York to Ottawa will be less costly in comparison to New York to Sydney. Remember, the destination is not always covered by the delivery service.
As you can see, the delivery cost can vary as per location that’s why it is shown on checkout pages and not on catalogue or product detail pages.
c. Magento Shipping Options:
Here the customer will decide the way of shipping. The customer can decide the shipping provider such as DHL, UPS, FedEx, Delhivery, USPS, etc.) and the way of sending the order (by air, ground, courier, dropshipping, etc.)
In Magento, service providers are termed as shipping carriers, and the ways of shipping are termed as shipping methods.
In-built Shipping Functionality of Magento:
Magento gives you multiple shipping options, such as:
- Free Shipping
- Flat Rate
- Table Rates
- In-store Delivery
- Integrations with popular service providers like UPS, USPS, DHL, FedEx
- Multiple Address Checkout
Let’s know about each of these.
a. Free Shipping:
In Free Shipping, you have to set the minimum order value and mention the countries where the shipping will be free of charge. If the order value is more or equal to the minimum order value, and the destination address is in the free-zone location, then the customer will get free delivery.
In Magento, the free shipping option comes with its own courier and not connected to any service provider. But you can choose the service provider to send packages in any convenient way.
b. Flat Rate:
A flat rate is a bit complicated shipping method in which you have to set a flat rate for an order or for each item in the order. You can also specify an additional fee:
Just like Free Shipping, Flat Rate is also a default Magento setting that is not assigned to any delivery partner. You can set it with the delivery partner you prefer.
c. Table Rates:
In this shipping method, the delivery charge will be highly dynamic and vary as per the different combinations of dimensions, weight, location, price, and the number of items. This is a more customized version of the Flat Rate Shipping but consider the fact that shipping rates of nearby locations are the same. For e.g. the shipping rate of 221B Baker Street will be the same as 210B Baker Street.
Hence, you must group shipping costs into zones. Usually, a zone is specified by using postcodes. For this, you have to create and import CSV files with detailed information.
d. In-store Delivery:
If your target audience is nearby your store location, then you can give them an in-store pickup option as well. Mostly, this shipping method is free of cost. If there are multiple store locations, then customers can choose which one is best suitable for them.
e. Multiple Address Checkout:
By default, a customer can choose one method and one address per order. The complete order regardless of the number of items is considered as a single physical unit, which can’t be split. Thus, you can’t split the order for multiple addresses delivery like one part shipped by air to Japan, and the other parts by sea to Madagascar. But in some scenarios, the splitting of order is the only option, and for this, there is a Multiple Address Checkout shipping functionality in Magento.
Navigate to Admin panel > Stores > Configuration > Sales> Multishipping Settings
Must have shipping features in your Magento store:
Volumetric or Dimensional Shipping is being used worldwide carriers for calculating shipping rates. It uses a formula of multiplying the 3 dimensions and then divides the product by shipping factor i.e. (L x W x H) / SF. It is a better version of dimensional weight shipping.
In a step further, it will consider both dimensions of product as well as package. Smart packaging algorithm optimally “pre-packs” an order into given packages in real-time. The algorithm will mention the dimensions of the package to the shipping provider. It is a very accurate way of real-time rates of the majority of shipping providers.
Benefits of Smart Packaging Feature:
If a package is optimally packed, it will require only fewer environmental resources. It will save space in transportation vehicles and reduce emissions by avoiding shipping of inefficiently packaged orders. Also, it reduces the filling material required in packaging to avoid damages.
Reduce shipping cost:
Smart Packaging can reduce your shipping costs to a great extent. If a large box is used for a smaller product then it will unnecessarily increase the shipping cost. But using an optimal packaging size, the carrier can transport more products, thus dividing the costs.
- Real-time shipping rates:
Shipping rate accuracy increases with the additional information we can provide. We can also avoid shipping empty air in the unnecessary oversized package. Shipping costs based on only weight parameters is very inefficient and costly. It reduces the accuracy of shipping rates. The accuracy will increase after providing the actual weight. However, still, it is not 100% accurate. If you provide the correct dimensions and their weight then you can attain the highest accuracy of shipping rates.
This cost is the overall amount calculated by adding all costs it takes the merchant to send a shipment from the manufacturer to the end customer. It is generally linked to international shipping, as the costs are associated with getting a package across the borders. It includes shipment prices, insurance fees, taxes, as well as import duty or customs duty. Considering every cost can influence your profit margin, if you make mistakes at any cost, you will not just lose sales but also the trust of your customers.
Benefits of Landed Costs:
- Better Customer Experience:
No customer expects an extra cost at the checkout page or when the order gets delivered at his doorstep from abroad. As an e-commerce retailer, you must not hide any additional cost from your customers while they checkout.
- Cost per item:
Landed costs account for profit made per shipped item. Knowing how much additional money required for packaging, shipping, insurance etc. will let the retailer accurately assign the profit margin on each product.
- Custom Attributes Support:
There is shipping software like Calcurates that support the landed cost feature. In this, you can assign custom product attributes such as tariff codes, origin country, and product descriptions for more flexibility when shipping abroad.
In this, the shipping rates are compared between shipping carriers or for their services only. It can compare between FedEx ground shipping & UPS ground shipping. You can save money by comparing rates from different shipping providers. But it is very time-consuming so you must use a shipping calculator which can calculate the cost from all major carriers.
Benefits of Rate Shopping:
- Reduces Abandoned Cart Rate:
Do you know nearly 47% of the customers will not buy an item if they have to pay for free shipping? Higher shipping costs lead to cart abandonment which in turn results in lower sales and a higher bounce rate. You must avoid this thing at any cost. Rate Shipping will allow you to display the most cost-effective and convenient shipping rates.
- High Conversion Rate:
Just like the above metric, it is a co-related metric that will improve if the customers will get their products at lower shipping rates.
- Removes unnecessary shipping options:
Last but not the least, Rate shopping supports a diverse product portfolio. It is like a boon for the online merchants who sell products with varying sizes and weights and shipped across the globe. They can remove the unnecessary shipping options and display only domestic shipping rates, international shipping rates etc.
Shipping has become one of the important factors of bounce rate, and high cart abandonment rate. While running an e-commerce store you must consider the shipping rates as they will not just impact the customer experience but also your internal process. At Ceymox Technologies, the best Magento development company in India, we understand all these requirements of the clients and thus give them the best solutions. We will not just develop an e-commerce store from scratch, but will also upgrade it, provide regular maintenance services and whatnot. Let us know your requirements.