The Ultimate Guide to Shipping and Fulfillment on Shopify
The Current State of E-Commerce Shipping and FulFillment
The past two pandemic years have strained shipping and fulfillment for every business.
It’s been hard for e-commerce companies to get what they need to ensure they have their brand products on-hand to fulfill buying requests because of worldwide shipping disruptions. That serious issue has kept every e-commerce company scrambling to find workarounds, alternative sourcing, and ways to rework some product aspects to ensure supply can still meet demand.
It’s been equally challenging to get your purchased products shipped to buyers promptly and cost-effectively as shipping delays and costs have increased. Staffing has been problematic as workers got sick, and costs multiplied across the board on everything from shipping supplies to the shipping fees you incur.
The combination of those issues has led to unhappy customers who are also strained to the breaking point. That’s especially true if your e-commerce product is essential to their daily lives. Though it’s not your e-commerce brand’s fault, that strain and unhappiness can result in lost customers who could have been loyal customers that enjoyed purchasing from your brand.
It’s been rough for everyone. The last thing your e-commerce brand and your customers need is for the process to be more complex than it needs to be or for sudden shifts to throw a monkey wrench into critical shipping and fulfillment.
Shopify Could Be The Answer to Your Outbound Shipping and Fulfillment Issues
In 2022, shipping and fulfillment are problematic because shipping fees and delivery arrival times are in flux. The last thing you want is for a customer eagerly awaiting their new purchase to be angry or frustrated before they even get it. Sadly, that experience reflects on your brand even if you had no control over the situation and did everything in your power to ensure everything went smoothly.
Given the nature of e-commerce, the more your target audience spreads worldwide, the more complex shipping and fulfillment becomes for your e-commerce company.
You’re not alone if you’ve been tearing your hair out or gnashing your teeth over this.
Shopify has worked to make shipping and fulfillment more timely, cost-effective, and effortless for e-commerce brands to ensure customers get what they purchased on time and in good condition.
Below are elements of what Shopify offers and requires. We believe these elements may make it a strong choice for your shipping and fulfillment needs no matter where your customers live.
What Does Shopify Offer That Makes Them Worth Considering?
1. Multiple Warehouse Locations
Shopify has a number of warehouse locations throughout the U.S. and Canada for fulfillment to every region of those countries and to international locations. That means customers can receive shipments faster than they would with only one or two central warehouse locations because of reduced parcel travel time.
2. Cross-Channel Fulfillment
Shopify does fulfillment for a wide variety of well-known e-commerce shopping channels you may use for your marketing efforts. Click here to see a current list.
3. Discounted Shipping Rates
Shipping and shipping supplies have gotten progressively more expensive in the past couple of years, so any discount you can get helps. Because Shopify’s fulfillment program ships in large quantities, it contracts and passes along incredible discounts to the e-commerce brands using its services. You can get shipping discounts up to over 80+% in some instances. Click here to see examples of shipping rates and discounts.
4. Simplicity & Speed
Let’s get honest. How organized is your shipping right now? How often do customers get the wrong package, delayed shipments, or nothing? Those missteps in this age of fast delivery expectations create dissatisfaction that doesn’t have to happen. Shopify’s regional warehouses are a model of efficiency created by including the latest in automation and technology. The faster your product is out the door and the more accurate the fulfillment, the more satisfied your customers will be. Read more about how Shopify does this in Shopify Fulfillment.
5. Your Role Becomes Streamlined
Shopify lets you manage, pack, ship, and track orders, using customized packaging. You do that all on one platform, making fulfillment much simpler. Shopify handles your returns and exchanges, making them simple and fast so you don’t have that headache. That can increase customer satisfaction even if something goes wrong.
6. How to Get Products to Shopify’s Warehouses
You ship to one fulfillment center. Shopify ensures those products are distributed to its other warehouses so they can be shipped quickly to your customers.
7. Delivery Time & Which Carriers Shopify Uses
As of this article’s date, Shopify’s regional and national contracts are with USPS, UPS, DHL, and Canadian Post. Because Shopify offers a 2-day (regional/national) delivery promise, additional negotiations are ongoing. Shopify uses multiple carriers for international delivery.
8. Shopify Packaging and The Environment
All poly used is 100% recyclable, and 31% of corrugated cardboard used is post-industrial material.
Shopify requires no monthly minimum fulfillment fees.
10 Fulfillment Contract with Shopify
There is no long-term contract. The only notice required is 45 days, giving you the flexibility and freedom to change as your e-commerce brand grows and scales.
Will Your E-Commerce Company Qualify?
Let’s look at factors determining whether your e-commerce brand qualifies to use the Shopify fulfillment and delivery service.
- E-Commerce Company Physical Location: Your e-commerce company has to be based in the U.S.
- E-Commerce Product Eligibility: You can only dropship and fulfill the types of products through Shopify that are on Shopify’s Eligibility List. In many ways, this list is common sense. But you will want to ensure your products qualify before you apply.
- E-Commerce Company Minimum Daily Sales: Your e-commerce company must have a minimum of three daily orders for purchases to be delivered to the U.S. or Canada to qualify.
- E-Commerce Company Application Required: If your e-commerce company meets the above criteria and you like what Shopify has to offer, apply for the fulfillment program. Shopify will evaluate your e-commerce website and brand. The onboarding process generally takes about two weeks. Then you’re good to go.
But How Does It Work In Real Life?
Watch this short but detailed video to find out.
Is Shopify FulFillment & Delivery Right For Your E-Commerce Brand?
Every e-commerce brand is different, with unique needs and goals. Most e-commerce companies could benefit from a more streamlined, effective, efficient fulfillment, shipping, returns, and exchange operation. But that kind of in-house operation takes a considerable investment which takes away from your e-commerce brand’s ability to grow and scale. A factor not often considered is that it takes time and extensive staffing, distracting attention from the critical need to drive growth.
It’s frustrating because you have a vision of what you know your e-commerce brand can be. If only there were about 48-60 hours in every day, instead of the scant 24 we all have to live with, and if you could work non-stop 24/7 without falling over. Minor detail.
Most e-commerce companies need outside help to become as successful as they know they can be. Outsourcing fulfillment, delivery, returns, and exchanges to a reliable and well-known multi-channel source can make a huge difference.AdQuadrant guides its clients in finding ways to maximize their e-commerce brand’s potential while making intelligent decisions about ensuring vital operations operate effectively. Talk to us about how to make your e-commerce brand’s vital processes function like a well-oiled machine so you can focus on scaling your brand to the next level and beyond.
About the author: Merikay Noah has over 20 years’ experience in digital marketing. She worked with e-commerce B2C and B2B websites of all kinds, from Fortune 100s to small start-ups, at two of the top three search engines and at a Los Angeles ad agency. Her successful e-commerce book publishing website, PopcornReads.com, attracted an international audience of bookaholics for over eight years. She now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where she works as a copywriter and loves to hike with her small but fierce doggy protector – Miss Lucy.