For any Shopify store, fulfillment can be a time-consuming process that can harm your store’s growth. Customers have come to expect 2-day delivery as the norm due to Amazon Prime. If customers on your site see that their purchases might take longer than 3 days to be delivered, the chances of getting the sale are drastically reduced.
By leveraging shipping automation, your store can dramatically reduce the time it takes to fulfill orders. This allows you to offer better shipping speeds to your customers so you can improve your conversion rates and grow your store.
How does automated shipping work?
Automated shipping automates fulfillment shipping tasks as new orders come in. This includes picking items from stock, packing boxes, and sending packages on their way to customers.
In the world of ecommerce, speed will put you ahead of the competition. The goal of an automated shipping solution is to put orders that need to be filled in a queue automatically and get rid of some of the work that needs to be done by hand. It can be as fancy as using robots or as simple as adding a layer of software or putting in infrastructure like conveyor belts.
How automating shipping grows Shopify stores
Automation makes shipping operations more efficient, which leads to more work being done. Shopify stores can fill more orders and/or get them done faster. So, automated shipping helps your supply chain work better. Let's look at the specific benefits Shopify stores get from automating their shipping.
Automation makes it much less important for people to be involved in shipping processes. This is because tools can be used to automate tasks like checking an order and making and printing shipping labels. Because of this, business owners need less help and can move people to jobs that machines can’t do.
Automated shipping can help Shopify stores that get hundreds or even thousands of orders every month. By using the right technology, a Shopify store doesn't have to worry about keeping track of inventory, packing boxes, dealing with carriers, and more.
Saves money and improves margins
Since automatic shipping reduces the number of people needed, Shopify stores can spend less time on tasks that anyone can do and more time on the most important tasks that only they can do. Even though it might seem silly to pay someone to do something you can do for free, there are many hidden costs to handling shipping yourself.
Makes fulfillment fast
Simply put, automated shipping systems make turnaround times much faster. Many tasks that took a lot of time, like packing, sticking on shipping labels, and sorting or counting stock levels, can now be done faster with the help of technology. Having a streamlined shipping process lets you increase production so that you can handle more orders in less time. This helps to boost sales, which in turn helps you make more money.
Barcodes can help automate tasks even more because fulfillment workers can walk around with a mobile barcode scanner that automatically updates a warehouse management system when a barcode is scanned. With shipping labels, you can also get tracking information in real-time, which will then be sent to your customers automatically.
Make your supply chain work better
When you automate your shipping process, all your information is in one place. This makes it easier to keep track of orders and manage stock, and it also gives you the information you can to predict customer needs better.
How to automate your Shopify store's shipping
Since the digital age started, online shopping has become one of the main ways to get things. This means that tasks need to be handled in a more precise and quick way. Ultimately, the goal is to find ways for every online business to do more with less. In this way, shipping is one of the most important things to automate. We'll look at why.
When you automate shipping processes, you can, on the one hand, cut down on delivery times to meet customer needs. So, the buying experience will be better, which will have a direct effect on profits: the faster you deliver the package, the more likely it is that the customer will buy from you again.
You need to improve the fulfillment tasks as well as the buying process. If a Shopify business isn't ready to handle a lot of orders professionally, it will use inefficient methods to ship the orders. When there are more sales, there are more orders to keep track of, which makes things less efficient. It's a circle of bad things that need to be broken.
When a bottleneck happens, the online shop's growth slows down, its profit margins can go down, and it can be harder to keep customers and keep them coming back.
Now that you know how having an automated shipping process can help your Shopify store, let's take a closer look at how to set it up.
Connect your Shopify store to a fulfillment platform
There are many Shopify partners (3PLs) that focus on fulfillment. Options like ShipHero, Shipping, and ShippingTree all offer integrations with Shopify. Once an order is placed, your 3PL begins fulfilling it. Also, having an integrated platform lets companies see the status of orders and inventory records in real-time.
Use an ERP system (optional)
Parts of the inventory process are done automatically by ERP inventory systems. Big companies usually use ERP systems because they let them manage their inventory, orders, finances, and general operations all in one place. When you have an ERP system, all of your operations are in one place, which makes them more efficient and encourages automation.
Set reorder points
When you have reorder points set up, you will be notified automatically when your stock reaches a certain level and you need to order more of each SKU. Setting reorder points is important because it helps businesses keep their storage of inventory in balance. Companies shouldn't store more inventory than they can sell at a given time, but they should have enough safety stock to avoid stockouts.
Set up an automatic way to track shipments
An automated tracking system also cuts down on mistakes made by people and eliminates the need to enter data by hand. Automated shipping makes it easy to let customers know how their packages are doing as they move through the sorting facilities and vehicles used by USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL.
Offer more than one way to ship
Every online store has carts that get left behind. One way to keep customers on the checkout page is to offer different shipping methods. They will give you the tools you need to meet your customers' needs, like faster or cheaper shipping, which will increase the number of sales.
Print labels and shipping documents
If you don't have a system set up for it, it can be hard to make all the necessary paperwork for the shipments. Because of this, businesses decide to automate shipping by using a tool that can print labels, packing lists, and invoices on its own.
Picking and packing automation
Picking and packing lists are pieces of paper that tell your staff what they need to know to get the products and pack them. This information combines both tasks, which speeds up the preparation process and cuts down on the time needed for picking and packing.
But picking and packing lists can be made by hand or machine, just like labels and other shipping documents. As you can imagine, doing these tasks by hand has a direct effect on how well the company works. Response times are slower and less reliable, and mistakes are more likely to happen.
Automating the process of picking and packing your orders will make the tasks easier and reduce the number of accidents.
Cut down on the distance people have to walk in your warehouse
A warehouse with a lot of stock needs technology to automate the moving of goods and the releasing and putting away of goods. How big the warehouse is will play a big role in what kind of equipment is used. But the ones used most often are forklifts, pallet jacks, and other warehouse vehicles, as well as tablets with AR technology.
Time your shipments to arrive when the couriers do
If you want to automate eCommerce shipments, you must be able to handle daily courier pickups well. But you shouldn't have a courier come to your place of business if the packages aren't ready. This will slow down your deliveries and cut into your profits because you will be paying for a service that won't be used.
To avoid these kinds of problems, it is important to have all of your couriers connected to a single interface. This is in addition to optimizing the processes mentioned above. If not, it would be impossible to get so many workflows to work together.
Even with all of this, another important part cannot be left out: ensuring that the different logistics divisions can talk to each other. To do this, it's important to set up systems that encourage synergies. Most important are:
- Warehouse management system (WMS)
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID) terminals with 3G and 4G-ready devices
- Platform for enterprise resource planning (ERP)
Mistakes are stopped automatically
The last thing you want is for problems and delays in the delivery process to put at risk your plans to cut costs and make customers happy. If buyers aren't given certain guarantees, investing in shipping automation is a waste of money.
Logistical problems can be caused by many things, both inside and outside the company. This means that there must be ways to control and keep an eye on things. We suggest making a plan to avoid problems with logistics. You can begin with:
- Figuring out where your logistics system might be slowing down
- Putting the risks in order of how likely they are to happen and acting on that basis
- Putting in place control and prevention measures
- Taking care of your infrastructure and processes on a regular basis
Returns are one of the biggest problems that eCommerce has to deal with every day. They need to be perfectly planned and carried out with a profitable system for reverse logistics. This is the moment of truth: returns can easily raise logistics costs and, as a result, cut profits by a lot.
Also, it's not enough to make them possible. Your return policy needs to match how your customers usually shop. Most of the time, this means that returns are free, flexible, and easy. This makes the whole process even more complicated because you will have to pay for all the costs caused by the returns. This is why the only way to cut costs and make the customer experience better is to automate returns through a special portal.
How Cross-Store Selling grows your Shopify store
Want to know the open secret to growing your Shopify store? It’s Cross-Store Selling. With Cross-Store Selling, your brand can sell products from other stores and vice versa.
Sell your products on other brands’ websites
With Carro, we have a directory of the biggest brands for you to partner with. This means they’ll sell and market your products to their customers. But if you can’t decide which brands are the best fit, we have a tailored recommendation service where we introduce you to brands so you can begin working together.
The best part is you don’t have to pay for products like you would with traditional wholesaling. This allows you to choose different SKUs to see what complements your existing product catalog.
"Take my word for it, if you install Carro, you are going to see what I’ve seen. Which is a dramatic increase to average order value, especially on orders that contain Carro products, which for us is over 80% increase to AOV."
Ryan Pamplin, Founder & CEO of Blendjet
Virtual inventory makes fulfillment easy
Brand partnerships are not like wholesaling. With Carro, you don’t have to buy products from your partners. Instead, orders are automatically sent to your partner brands so they can handle fulfillment themselves.
“Before we joined Carro, we had put our company on the market. We thought we needed capital to expand our traditional wholesaling. Now, we’re able to meet our goals without having any cash come out of pocket. We’re tripling and quadrupling the numbers of units that we move because we have access to so much more inventory.”
Amy Richardson-Golia, June & January
Find new bundling & upsell opportunities to increase AOV
Perhaps the most exciting reason to leverage Cross-Store Selling is that it’s the best way to grow your Shopify store in the long run. By working collaboratively with other brands, your brand will set itself up for success. Your Shopify store will become THE destination for your niche.
One of the best reasons to shop on Amazon is convenience. Being able to buy everything you need in one place is a powerful motivator. Wouldn’t you love it if your Shopify store was the go-to place for your customers’ needs?
"In addition to a nice contribution to the bottom line, it was also one of the most highly-engaged social posts for the year."
David Krimper, Director of Ecommerce, Manduka
To learn more about how Carro can help your Shopify store grow, check us out on the Shopify App Store.