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5 Reasons to Ship and Fulfill With Shopify This Holiday Season (2023)

As a merchant preparing for Black Friday Cyber Monday and the bustling holiday season, you may encounter significant challenges when it comes to shipping and fulfillment. High costs, peak-time shipping surcharges, and the need to meet delivery expectations can be daunting. This is where Shopify comes in, with the lowest shipping rates, a seamless experience, and a suite of powerful tools to help you succeed.

In this article, we share five reasons to use Shopify’s built-in capabilities to help you elevate your shipping strategy and ensure a seamless fulfillment process that keeps your customers happy and your business thriving.

1. Unbeatable shipping rates that save you money

As a merchant, finding the lowest shipping rates is a top priority, especially during the holiday season. With Shopify Shipping, you get instant access to the lowest, pre-negotiated, shipping rates with carriers like USPS, UPS, and DHL Express. These rates are heavily discounted from retail rates and can save you up to 88% with USPS, 82% with UPS, and 80% with DHL Express.

Snarky Tea, a merchant that recently adopted Shopify Shipping, discovered it was saving $25,000 per month on shipping by purchasing labels directly through Shopify instead of going to USPS.

Plus, our built-in solution offers an added financial benefit: $200 USD of shipping insurance is automatically included on each eligible label at no cost. This insurance protects your shipments from damage, loss, and theft. Managing and processing claims for USPS and UPS shipments can be done directly from your Shopify admin, powered by Shipsurance.

🎁 Did you know? There will be no holiday surcharges for US merchants this year when shipping with USPS, UPS, and DHL Express through Shopify Shipping! Canadian merchants will also enjoy no peak surcharges this year when shipping with UPS. This means you can focus on fulfilling orders and delighting your customers, without the worry of unexpected costs eating into your profits.

Check shipping rates

2. Transforms your shipping strategy into a competitive advantage

Creating a shipping strategy that sets you apart from the competition is crucial during Black Friday Cyber Monday and the holidays. Consider these tips to optimize your shipping strategy with Shopify:

Plan your shipping strategy

Decide which shipping strategy you want to use and how much you want to charge for shipping. Here are three main strategies to offer shipping rates at checkout, along with their pros and cons:

Flat rate shipping

Flat shipping rates are specific shipping amounts that you charge a customer based on their order.

Pro: This strategy allows you to offer affordable and predictable shipping rates, which can help increase conversion and offsets part of the shipping cost to your customers. You can offer a single flat price for all products or set price-based or weight-based conditions that display a specific shipping cost at checkout. Keep in mind that when you use this strategy, you need to calculate your shipping fees yourself. To avoid charging too much or too little for shipping, consider the average price for shipping a package.

Con: As the merchant, you will pay the difference between the shipping rate your carrier charges and the flat rate paid for by your customer.

Free shipping

Free shipping is an increasingly-popular option where customers do not have to pay an additional shipping charge.

Pro: 94% of consumers identify free shipping as important. To attract and convert more customers, offer free shipping on all orders or consider offering a free shipping threshold (e.g free shipping on all orders $50 or above) to increase average order value. 

Con: Shipping fees must be accounted for elsewhere, potentially affecting profit margins. Including shipping costs in product prices is a common practice, however you don’t want to overprice your products compared to your competitors.

Carrier-calculated shipping

Calculated shipping rates are determined at checkout by the shipping service based on the details of the order. This helps you charge your customers the exact amount that a shipping carrier will charge you when you purchase a shipping label.

Pro: This strategy offsets the cost of shipping to your customer, reducing your overall costs. To cater to consumer preferences, consider offering a mix of delivery options, including expedited shipping, as research shows that three-quarters of consumers are willing to pay for faster shipping. Another pro tip is to offer free shipping for standard and slower shipping services and charge for expedited shipping, providing buyers multiple options.

Con: You won’t be able to display carrier-calculated shipping rates before checkout (i.e. your product page), which may lead to increased abandoned checkouts. Charging merchants for shipping can sometimes have a negative impact on conversion, especially if the buyer views the shipping costs as too expensive.

Show shipping rates at checkout

74% of consumers want to see shipping rates up front. Whether you choose to offer flat rate shipping, free shipping, or carrier calculated rates, you’ll want to show these rates at checkout, so buyers know exactly what they are paying for and have no surprise costs.

Another common practice is to show buyers multiple shipping options at checkout (e.g free shipping for standard shipping and carrier calculated rates for expedited shipping), providing them the flexibility to choose the shipping option that’s best for them.

Display expected delivery times

Show expected delivery dates at checkout by setting up order processing times. Businesses that display these at checkout see a 25% uplift in conversions, as it instills confidence and encourages timely purchases during the holiday season.

Set up your shipping rates and methods

3. Faster delivery through prioritized fulfillment locations

Efficient order fulfillment is essential for customer satisfaction. With Shopify, you can leverage smart order routing to prioritize the best fulfillment location based on a set of ranked rules. These rules include staying within the destination market, minimizing split fulfillments, choosing the closest location, and using ranked locations.

By implementing smart order routing, Element Brooklyn was able to reduce overall delivery time by 1.2 days, achieve next-day delivery for 94% of orders, and save $1.14 on shipping for every order. Streamlining your fulfillment process not only speeds up delivery, but also reduces shipping costs.

Start routing orders

4. Seamless returns experience for enhanced customer satisfaction

Returns are inevitable, especially during the holiday season. To drive customer loyalty, it’s crucial to provide a fast and reliable returns experience, so you can ensure a smooth process for both buyers and your fulfillment staff.

Shopify offers a self-serve returns experience, enabling your customers to easily request and track returns directly from your online store. This tool allows you to efficiently process and track returns, create return labels, and restock inventory—all within Shopify.

Don’t forget to communicate your holiday return policy clearly on your online store, as 80% of online shoppers are less likely to shop from a retailer due to a poor returns experience. 

🎁 Did you know? To avoid ineligible returns when using self-serve returns, you can set up return rules to establish a custom return window, define restocking fees, and outline product-based and final-sale exceptions. Return rules helps ensure a seamless returns process and keeps your operations running smoothly.

Set up self-serve returns

5. Efficiently streamlines your fulfillment process

With an increased volume of orders during the holiday season, streamlining your fulfillment process becomes critical. Shopify offers tools like bulk purchase labels, automatic package suggestions, pick list apps, and USPS manifests to help you get orders out the door more quickly.

Organize your orders

Organize your unfulfilled orders with search, filters, and tags within Shopify. You can even create saved order views if you want to create a process for fulfilling similar items together.

Fulfill orders in bulk

You can bulk purchase and print up to 100 shipping labels and packing slips at once. If you’re buying labels with Shopify Shipping, the best packaging will be suggested automatically for each order based on historical data. 

Pick and pack faster

For picking and packing, you can print Shopify’s built-in packing slips to speed up the process. To further automate the experience, consider using picking and packing apps to automate the process further.

Streamline USPS pickups

Once your orders are packed, if you are using USPS, you can print a shipping manifest directly in Shopify. This feature enables the USPS delivery team to scan a single form containing all the shipping details for your packages at once, rather than having to scan each package individually. In addition, you can schedule a pickup time with USPS directly from your Orders page.

Once your packages are ready for delivery, easily track their status directly from the Orders page.

🎁 Did you know? You can use the Shopify Flow app to further automate your fulfillment process. From flagging high-risk orders to drafting shipping labels, Shopify Flow helps you cut out time-consuming tasks with automated custom workflows.

Start fulfilling orders

Shopify offers unmatched benefits for merchants seeking the best shipping options this holiday season. From the lowest shipping rates and no peak time surcharges to turning your shipping strategy into a competitive advantage, prioritizing fulfillment locations, creating a seamless returns experience, and streamlining your fulfillment process, Shopify has you covered.

Feature image by iStock.

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