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How to Manage Shipping in eCommerce Marketplaces with ShipStation and AfterShip

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Shipping is a vital touchpoint for a smooth customer experience in eCommerce. From order placement to shipment pickup and delivery – synchronized and effective shipping management in eCommerce marketplaces delivers the highest sustainable return on operations (to both sellers and admin). To ensure streamlined shipping management, it is essential to define clear goals you wish to accomplish with your eCommerce shipping strategy.

For instance, improved conversion rate, enhanced operational efficiency, and an increase in average order value (AOV) are some of the most common shipping goals that your business can focus on to grow online. Whether it’s same-day or two-day shipping, one carrier or multiple carriers involved, real-time visibility into the packages across multiple touchpoints should be available without having to jump through a dozen multiple hoops.

How Shipping is Managed in eCommerce Marketplaces?

Effective shipping management in eCommerce marketplaces is a USP (unique selling proposition) that differentiates businesses from their competitors and increases profit margins. Establishing a reliable shipping strategy for your eCommerce marketplace is a fundamental step toward business growth. And, there are three essential parameters that determine a streamlined eCommerce shipping process in marketplaces:

  • Inbound Logistics (Transportation, storage, and receiving of goods): It refers to keeping track of goods received so the inventory is carefully managed and the buyers aren’t ordering products that are out of stock. This helps eCommerce businesses keep their promises of fulfilling all orders received with minimal hassle.
  • Outbound logistics: The ability to capture online demand more accurately, include last-mile delivery into the pricing strategy, and define who is responsible for order fulfillment (vendor/admin or a third party) is critical for an eCommerce business. It helps them offer apt shipping thresholds (like free shipping) while maintaining healthy profit margins at all times.
  • Right Shipping Cost: Offering the right shipping rates is vital for an eCommerce business to stay afloat and thrive in a competitive environment. This makes a huge difference in reducing the cart abandonment rate and increasing sales revenue.

Streamlining order fulfillment involves several real-time checks that aren’t easy to track or manage manually, especially when the shipment rates keep changing and online orders increase. Software integrations like ShipStation and AfterShip pre-integrated in multi-vendor eCommerce software help businesses build an efficient marketplace that automates the entire fulfillment process.

Overview of ShipStation and AfterShip

ShipStation

ShipStation is a global shipping software and leading choice for eCommerce business owners to connect with their favorite carriers, generate shipping labels, and fetch real-time shipping rates quickly. It offers the lowest shipping rates on USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL, no matter the volume or where business owners sell.

Once configured for eCommerce operations, ShipStation fetches real-time shipping rates for all carriers and pre-selects the cheapest Shipping/delivery option (although buyers can change as per their preferences) on the checkout page.

AfterShip

This leading shipment tracking solution empowers eCommerce businesses to grow and provide the best shopping experience to their customers. AfterShip includes a set of automated tools that assist businesses with sales, marketing, order management, and shipping tracking. Integration of AfterShip with eCommerce platforms allows business owners to send personalized targeted information to the customers based on the status AfterShip tracks.

The enterprise-grade analytics in your post-purchase experience help business owners improve the delivery experience and make insightful decisions.

Shipping Management Challenges Addressed with ShipStation & Aftership

Shipping management has been a primary challenge for eCommerce retailers, especially small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). In the age of Amazon with its two-hour or same-day delivery options, retailers are struggling to compete as they fail to streamline shipping processes either due to poor inventory visibility or inadequate returns management. This has partly been caused due to extensive efforts required for manual shipping module operations.

For instance, individually updating the order status for each shipment or configuring shipping carriers in the eCommerce marketplace can be hectic for a business owner. With automated shipping management in Yo!Kart, these challenges are mitigated to a great extent.

1. High Shipping Cost: High shipping costs can quickly devour your business as customers do not like to pay for shipping. APIs like ShipStation and AfterShip ensure your customers find the lowest shipping rates across all products in the eCommerce marketplace. The module fetches discounted rates for nearly every major shipping carrier configured.

Source: Statista

2. International shipping: From configuring unfamiliar shipping carriers to managing international duties and taxes, there are several complications that prevent eCommerce businesses from expanding globally. ShipStation and AfterShip simplify international shipping processes for eCommerce businesses. Once configured, it provides instant refunds, deep discounts, and express delivery to major cities worldwide.

3. Poor inventory monitoring: Ineffective product allocation strategy may cause delayed shipments to buyers leading to poor customer satisfaction. For instance, without a reliable mechanism to track and manage stock levels, customers can place orders for products that are out of stock. To prevent such a situation, shipping APIs have automated shipping operations enabling retailers/admins to monitor and sync inventory levels more effectively. 

When seeking enhanced and personalized delivery for buyers, business owners require accurate information on users, inventory, and more in real-time. Integrating shipping APIs to automate shipping management in eCommerce marketplaces streamlines the entire order fulfillment process helping eCommerce retailers improve operational efficiency.

ShipStation API Now Pre-integrated in Yo!Kart

Earlier, the shipping management process in Yo!Kart could only be configured manually by the admin for all shipments. This has changed over the years with the addition of new modules and enhancements to the platform. Now, ShipStation is among the Pre-integrated APIs in Yo!Kart to streamline shipping operations and provide customers complete insights on all orders at every stage of the shipping process. The entire process becomes automated with ShipStation API.

Yokart-shipping-summary

Enabled ShipStation API in Yo!Kart

Once enabled within the admin dashboard, ShipStation API performs the following operations:

1. Fetches live shipping rates from carriers configured in the marketplace
2. Automatically update status for all orders and eliminate manual entry
3. Create shipping labels and generate order tracking number from carriers configured

Also, you can map shipping providers (configured using ShipStation API) with tracking courier services (configured using AfterShip API enabled). Go to “Tracking Code Relation “within the admin dashboard to map these services. This allows customers to track orders with ease. 

Manage-Tracking-Code

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What are the different types of shipping methods?

There are 7 shipping methods that one can implement at an e-commerce store checkout. These options include table rate, flat rate, shipping per product, shipping to multiple addresses, conditional shipping, local pickup, and packing slips.

2. How does eCommerce manage delivery?

Shipping is a key part of every e-commerce business. To manage shipments delivery, an eCommerce business implements an effective shipping strategy that offers low shipping rates on products, simplifies international shipping processes, and monitors inventory levels so the product never goes out of stock. This can be easily done by automating the shipment process for your eCommerce marketplace.

3. What is the best shipping method for an online store?

Ideal shipping methods depend upon the shipping strategy and there is no one-size-fits-all in eCommerce shipping. In general, there are six shipping methods namely, two-day delivery, same-day delivery, overnight shipping, international delivery, expedited shipping, and eco-friendly shipping.

4. How do e-commerce sites calculate shipping?

From shipments dimensional volume & total weight to import/export fees when shipping internationally, there are a variety of factors when calculating shipping cost. To ensure accurate shipping cost estimates, most e-commerce sites have pre-integrated shipping management tools like ShipStation to automate shipping calculating for every online order placed successfully.

5. How do you integrate with ShipStation?

ShipStation API comes pre-integrated in Yo!Kart-powered marketplaces. To enable Shipstation, go to System Settings -> Plugins -> Shipping Services in the admin dashboard. Here, you can configure ShipStation for your marketplace by entering the API key and API Secret key.

6. How do you integrate with AfterShip?

AfterShip API comes pre-integrated in Yo!Kart-powered marketplaces. To enable AfterShip, go to System Settings -> Plugins -> Shipment Tracking in the admin dashboard. Here, you can configure AfterShip for your marketplace by entering the API key.

Deliver a world-class shipping experience with Yo!Kart

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