Creating a shipping strategy that suits your business is crucial. Due to factors like competition with other eCommerce stores, customers can have very high expectations for small & medium sized businesses to offer low-cost, fast shipping methods. Meeting these expectations can be expensive. As your business evolves, your shipping strategy will change depending on shipping costs, order volume and marketing.
eCom stores connected to Retail locations:
For merchants who use Lightspeed Retail, newly created Lightspeed eCom stores will be equipped with a shipping method called In-Store Pick up. In-Store Pick up will allow customers to purchase online and then come into your physical store to pick up orders when convenient. To extend the reach of your eCom store, offer more shipping methods that include delivery.
Create your strategy
Create your first shipping strategy to meet customer expectations and protect your bottom line. Consider the following steps for getting started with shipping:
- Estimate or observe your shipping needs, including:
- Average order size
- Frequency of orders
- The geographic locations you will be shipping orders
- What your customers expect for shipping
- Find out how much it will cost to ship your average order size by researching shipping providers and source packaging materials.
- Based on your estimates, observations and research decide how you offer shipping rates.
- Use these articles to help set up your shipping methods in eCom:
Research shipping providers
The availability of shipping providers depends on your region. Contact them to find out how their rates. Here are some popular shipping providers by continent:
Many integrations and apps available through Lightspeed connect to more than one shipping provider. This is usually done through a third party company. This third party can sometimes offer better rates than if you went with a shipping provider directly. Consider this when deciding researching the cost of shipping. Find out the difference in price by contacting a third party integration or app like EasyPost, ShipStation or MyParcel depending on your location. For more information on the integrations and apps available in your area, click here.
Source packaging materials
When you receive your order and you're ready to ship it to your customers, you'll need to package the order. It is important to not overlook the details of this step as it's an important one. This is the first time your customer is coming into physical contact with your products, so it is a perfect time to show off your store's brand. Also, sourcing the right size of packaging can decrease the cost of shipping, for example, padded envelopes may be a better option than boxes if it reduces the weight.
When deciding where to get your packaging materials, check with your shipping provider, they may provide packaging. The following list contains some sources for Shipping boxes, both standard and custom options. You're encouraged to do your own research to find better options in your area.
Standard Shipping Boxes
- Uline (North America)
- eBay (Global)
- SelfPackaging (Europe)
- Rajapack (Europe)
Custom/Unique Shipping Boxes
- The Packaging Company (USA & Canada)
- Packhelp (Europe)
- Dozen (Europe)
Decide how you offer shipping rates
Your customers need to be given shipping options in checkout so they can purchase their order.
The following table outlines four shipping strategies you can choose to implement. Use the table to decide which strategy you would like to implement. Then click on the title of each shipping strategy to find complete instructions on how to set it up.
For a comparison between Manual vs. Integrated shipping methods, click here.
|Manual shipping method||Integration or app|
|Offering free shipping||Offering a flat rate||Offering a rate per weight range||Offering live rates|
|Number of orders||Low||Low||Medium||High|
|Needs||Promotional||Simplicity||Complex shipping||Automated rates/labels/tracking codes|
|Can add free delivery over cart total||–||Yes||Yes||
|Costs covered by||Business||Business & customer||Customer||Customer|
|Product Setup||None||None||Add weight in each product variant||Add weight in each product variant|
Manual vs Integrated shipping methods
In Lightspeed eCom, there are two ways to display shipping rates: using manual shipping methods or an integration/app. Both methods display rates at checkout and they differ by:
- Setup - The setup for integrated shipping is generally more complex than setting up manual shipping rates but once launched, they generally require much less maintenance and time when compared to manual shipping rates.
- Researching rates.
- Entering the names and descriptions.
- Defining which rate is returned in checkout using weight ranges.
- Choosing automatic or specific tax rate.
- Obtaining an account with an integration partner.
- Connecting the integration by retrieving integregration credentials and entering them in eCom.
- Testing and ensuring the integration is setup correctly.
- Configuring the integration in eCom, the integration partner's web portal and/or the web portal of the shipping provider in order to set up:
- The shipping providers that will be displayed in checkout.
- The service levels that offered.
- Any other modifications to the rates.
- Rates in checkout - Manual and integrated shipping methods use the total weight of the cart to return rates in different ways.
- Manual shipping methods compare the total weight of the customer's cart to the weight ranges and shipping rates that were previously set up by the merchant. For example, weight range of 0 kg to 3 kg is created with the rate of 12 USD. A customer's cart contains 3 products with a total weight of 2 kg. So the customer will see a price of 12 USD to ship the product.
- Integrated shipping methods send the total weight and sometimes dimensions of a customer's cart to a connected shipping provider. The shipping provider calculates the estimated price and returns the rate back to Lightspeed eCom to be displayed to the customer in checkout.
- The final rate is determined when the parcel is shipped by the shipping provider.
- Labels - Labels are generated automatically only when using integrated shipping.
Manual Integrated After an order is created in the eCom Back Office, labels:
- Are not automatically generated.
- They need to be manually created with a shipping provider for manual shipping methods.
- For example, if the selected shipping provider is UPS, access the UPS website and create a label by filling out a form that includes the customer's name, address, etc.
After an order is created in the eCom Back Office, labels:
- Are automatically created based on the preconfigured settings of the integration for integrated shipping methods.
- Tracking codes - Tracking codes are automatically added only when using integrated shipping.
Manual Integrated Once a label is printed, tracking codes:
- Need to be obtained from the shipping provider and added manually in Lightspeed eCom in the eCom Back Office > Orders > Shipments for manual shipping methods.
Once a label is printed, tracking codes:
- Are automatically added to the order in Lightspeed eCom, after a label is printed.