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Shopify Versand & Fulfillment Cheat Sheet

Shopify Versand & Fulfillment Cheat Sheet

Shopify & Shipping presentation from the Berlin Meetup on 2nd May 2017

Thank you very much to Emma and Nick who organised another great Shopify Meetup. For anyone interested in future Berlin Shopify Meetups, check out their page.

Here you can view and download the presentation that was held by Patrick on this event.

12 things to consider when choosing your shipping strategy

  1. Your brand
  2. Where your products are shipping from
  3. Where your products are shipping to
  4. Your average order value (AOV)
  5. Your product margins
  6. Your product's weight
  7. Preferences for tracking and insurance
  8. Carrier preferences
  9. Customer shipping preferences
  10. Product costs
  11. Product restrictions and regulations
  12. Customs and duties

To charge or not to charge the customer for shipping

Free shipping is a powerful psychological concept that you should take advantage of. However, if this is not possible for your brand you essentially have three options:

How to chose the best packaging

There is no definite answer to answering which package option is generally the best. The first big question is branded or plain packaging. To determine if you should go branded (and take on the extra costs involved), consider these questions:

  • When and where does my product offer unique value? (i.e. is it a gadget which creates a value for your client that cannot be easily replicated or are you selling as the 1000s streetwear brand founded last year?) 
  • Do you plan to make use of influencers for your marketing? (they will prefer creating content for a product that already comes in a nice wrapper)

You notice that this is not a black-and-white question, your packaging will likely fall between the two categories. Keep in mind that branded packaging might be very costly (esp. in small volumes) which in turn could kill you margin.

These are the costs involved for packaging:

There is no supplier we can particularly recommend, however Printmade makes the best impression for branded material. For plain material we recommend good ol' Ebay.

What to pack (or utilising the strongest after-sale touch point there is)

You probably spent €1000s for Adwords, Facebook Ads and email campaigns during the lifetime of your brand. However, you very rarely have the opportunity for a physical touch point with your clients, or so it seems.

Actually, if you actually ship products, you have at least one physical touch point when the customer opens her package and unwraps her product. This marketing channel has an open rate of 100%, make use of it! Add printed marketing material or merchandise, for example:

  • Highly specific discount offers (i.e. carrying the name of the customer)
  • Product samples
  • Small gifts/merchandise
  • Thank you/personal notes
  • Review or share request

Shopify did a great job discussing the different options with great detail here.

How to generate shipping labels for your Shopify orders

Consider these three options:

  • Manual - you copy the shipping data by hand into the form (or actual paper) of the shipping company (i.e. how you would send a package privately to a friend)
  • Semi-automatic - you export the shipping data at the end of the day in bulk and import it to the system of your shipping provider
  • Automatic - all shipping data is already available within the system that generates the shipping label

Obviously, automatic sounds best. This option is actually the easiest to realise if you do not have an "exotic" shipping case (i.e. "cooled" shipping). With the help of services like Sendcloud you have an automated shipping label process setup in a day.

How to setup a third-party fulfilment process

  1. Find a fulfilment service provider (notable providers for Shopify merchants are Zenfulfilment, Salessupply and Amazon FBA)
  2. Make sure there is an automated way to notify your service provider of new orders and shipping data (i.e. via Apps, Order notification email, Webhooks, etc.). If the service provider you had in mind DOES NOT agree with an automated process, drop it. Service providers with ancient business models are not good partners for Shopify merchants.
  3. Instruct your supplier to send products to your new service provider.
  4. Test your new provider by ordering yourself (or via friends) to check if everything goes as expected

How to setup a dropshipping business

Since dropshipping is more of a business than a shipping strategy we recommend this awesome guide written by Shopify: The Ultimate Guide to Dropshipping

Shipping with Shopify - a few technical points to consider

  • Product-specific shipping rules are not possible (exception for Shopify Plus merchants)
  • Customer-specific shipping rules are not possible (exception for Shopify Plus merchants)
  • Shipping costs can be determined by cart value, cart weight or actual costs (latter for North-American providers)
  • Internal order notification (for warehouse workers) is already built into Shopify
  • Tracking information for the customer is already built into Shopify
  • Creation of shipping labels should be automated if you want a scalable business model