How food merchants are improving shipping practices to achieve sweet success
Even when it comes to products that are non-perishable, shipping can be a touchy subject. By extension, direct-to consumer food merchants are tasked with an even more difficult challenge – not only do companies need to move their products more quickly, they must do so while handling sensitive contents. Destroyed packaging, delays and other potential missteps will result in these merchants having to eat a refund and damaging their relationships with customers.
Shipping perishable goods
It's easy to see how direct-to-consumer food retailers would face exorbitant shipping fees to ensure the quality of their products and the timeliness of their delivery. However, many players in the niche industry are developing new ways to reduce the costs of handling, highlighting how any retailer with a bit of ingenuity can make something like shipping expenses less of a factor.
For instance, Fairytale Brownies ships approximately 2.5 million gourmet brownies and other baked delights annually.
By utilizing the right eCommerce software and shipping service provider, the company was able to streamline handling processes, which resulted in a $15,000 savings in 2012. The company was also able to reduce the number of packages sent out, suggesting fewer customers were demanding replacement goods.
Kim Silva, operations team leader for Fairytale Brownies, told Multichannel Merchant that picking the right shipping service was critical to getting shipping prices in line. She originally used FedEx, but found UPS offered better incentives. Additionally, her eCommerce software aligned better with UPS, allowing her to make the entire process much simpler.
Of course, many of the unique challenges that Fairytale Brownies deals with are unique to its niche. For example, the company has to be particular when it sends products to customers – shipping too late in the week means it could end up sitting in a warehouse over the weekend, which may result in spoiled goods. In response, Fairytale Brownies may charge customers more money for shipping fees than they are accustomed to.
"It's different when you are shipping something that is not perishable," said Silva. "We do get high-shipping cost complaints; when you look at our competitors we actually come in lower than what our competitors are charging in shipping methods."
Shipping has become an increasingly prevalent issue, especially with many retailers training consumers to only look for free shipping or otherwise discounted fees. However, that doesn't mean merchants can't find some method to minimize the expenses related to shipping. By understanding their product, their customer and their business, on top of using the right eCommerce software to help manage orders and streamline processing, merchants may be better able to cut their shipping expenses.
ECommerce software solutions such as SalesWarp can integrate with distributors and suppliers, providing greater transparency to both the warehouse delivering the product and the retailer selling it.