Siam Shipping – Your Logistics Partner on your E-Commerce in Thailand
The logistics of e-commerce is specific in Thailand, and must be managed by a recognized professional. Siam-shipping has established a partnership with the famous e-commerce site: Foot Addict, specializing in customized Thailand jerseys.
Foot-addict has enjoyed great success with unique products, Thai football shirts that customers could customize to their coats, adding sponsors, logos, their name and number of their choice.
“In view of the numerous orders, we needed a freight forwarder who could deliver all our orders on time, with a concern for efficiency, speed and commercial follow-up. Siam shipping, a French freight forwarder settled in Bangkok and very well reputed, responded to our call for tender and we began to work with them, it’s a key to our success, ” CEO of Foot-Addict
“We were relieved of the quality of the work provided, and very important commercial follow-up. Indeed, the tracking numbers are sent after the delivery and the package is traceable until the final delivery and the signature of the customer ”
Siam Shipping allow you to manage your Online Shop from wherever you want !
Here are the different steps of an order at Foot-addict:
⁃ Customer order via the website
⁃ Production of the jersey in 3 days
⁃ shipment by airmail service, cooperation between the Thai Post Office and the various posts in the destination countries
⁃ sending the tracking number to the customer
⁃ follow-up of delivery to final delivery
All the packages are taken in photos before departure and those to ensure a traceability without fault.
For all E-commerce companies present in Thailand, we strongly recommend the services of Siam-Shipping.
How to compose with shipping and fulfillment in e-commerce?
In ecommerce, shipping is not only bringing your product from point A to B. A large part of your business profitability and your brand comes from your shipping and fulfillment strategy. With a strong shipping strategy and package, you will be able to foster repeat business and you it will even facilitate your relation with new customers thanks to a strong spoken marketing. On the other hand, if you neglect your shipping and fulfillment strategy, the consequences can be disastrous with increased costs, unhappy customers and potentially an unprofitable business.
We commonly think that shipping is easy and that it is an insignificant part of ecommerce business, but it is not. Anticipating your shipping strategy can represent a huge asset to your business, however your strategy is also essential concerning the operation, that is why you have to revisit your strategy continually.
In the following guide you will understand all aspects of shipping and fulfillment. It concerns your customers load, package, brand options, choice of the best carrier, decision about options like insurance and tracking, as well as outsourcing and fulfillment options.
This guide is the most thorough and complete. Thanks to the guide you learn how to get your products from you to your customers so that customers experience a great service and your business maintains profitable.
2) Shipping Basis
When you build an ecommerce business, you can be hard challenged by shipping and fulfillment. Many variables are interacting which makes this complicated and shipping and fulfillment are seen from many different ways.
A combination of a multitude of factors will impact on your strategy and fulfillment strategy. Among the factors, there are:
- Your brand
- Departure of your shipping
- Arrival of your shipping
- Your average order value (AOV)
- Your product margins
- Your product’s weight
- Preferences for tracking and insurance
- Carrier preferences
- Customer shipping preferences
- Product costs
- Product restrictions and regulations
- Customs and duties
However, thanks to this guide that will help you to face each challenge, there is no need to worry. It will bring you to the best decision for your business and your customers.
At the beginning of your online business, many options will come to you. When you choose your shipping model, ask you if you want:
- Your own ship (Starter) – You ship from home, write label and walk to the post office.
- Your ow ship (Intermediate) – You ship from home, you have automated label printing and you pick package from your courier.
- A fulfillment Warehouse – You have a fulfillment warehouse to receive and ship orders.
- Dropship – Orders are shipped directly from a dropship partner on behalf of your brand. You never purchase inventory upfront or hold inventory yourself.
At the beginning, shipping your initial orders yourself is often the better option. It allows you to have an overview of the several steps and to understand how it works. After it will be easier to redefine your operations and better control your brand when your business will grow.
Different steps of shipping growth
For most online business, except those who involve major external factors, several steps of shipping and logistics growth have to be done.
- Launch – In this stage, it is likely that just the occasional orders are sporadically with no real consistency received.
- Consistency – You begin to receive consistent orders but it is still limited. We talk about a few order per day, 20 orders per week on average. However, the orders are consistent and predictable.
- Growth – During this stage, you now have many orders and shipping and fulfillment is now a large part of your time. Considering the growing number of orders, operations now need to be streamlined by services and shipping can be uncoordinated.
- Scaling/Infrastructure – Now to meet the large quantities of orders, you will need new infrastructures or to manage shipping you will require to work with a 3rd party fulfillment.
Shipping Fundamentals Conclusion
You know have all the information to face the challenges of shipping and fulfillment: you have 3 strategies to ship your products and 4 steps to face shipping growth. Your shipping mix should now be built. Let see how you can charge customers for shipping.
3) Charging customers
What are the options?
We all know that when a customer gets online, he had to its card in one click the product they want when they find a good price. But then, when they see the costs add by the shipping and handling, they began to wonder if it is really a good price and reconsider their choice.
Finally, the product appears a little expensive. There are two possibilities after that. Some customers buy the product anyway even if the price has increased. The rest of the customer cancel their purchase and leave your business. In fact, most of the they abandon the purchase and statistics shows that it is mostly because of unexpected shipping costs.
The success (or failure) of your online business ca depend on your shipping strategy and how your charge customers. We will now detail some of the most popular strategies for charging your customers shipping:
- Offer Free Shipping – For example: no shipping costs for orders over $100
- Charge Exact Costs – For example: the costs depend on the rates at the real-time
- Flat Rate Shipping – For example: $20 flat rate all over the world
Option 1: Offer Free Shipping
Statistics shows that “Free Shipping” is a good way to catch your customer’s attention and conversion rates increase. Nevertheless, if it is free for your customer, it is now a cost for you that you have to take into account. Look at your margins to be sur that offering free shipping really makes sense.
Consumers now expect free shipping since large companies like Amazon offer this service. “Free Shipping” can have a real positive impact on the marketing of your website and you can take a significant advantage over your rivals.
When you offer free shipping think about how you can meet the costs: absorbing the cost can be an option, you can also have a slight increase of your product prices to not affect your margins.
Free Shipping Over a certain amount is another option. Customer are prompt to consume with free shipping and at the same time your average order value (AOV) increase.
How to choose the certain amount? You can get some sales under your belt first and from then your average order value can be determined, then, for all orders X% greater than your average order amount you can offer free shipping.
Let’s take an example. Some customers have already ordered products that cost:
$88, $114, $73, $62, $120
The average order value is $91,40. In this case free shipping on all orders over $100 appears as a good option. Indeed, your average order size will increase and so will your profit too, which will partially cover the cost of the free shipping.
Most of the time, it depends on your margins, your competitors and the niche you operate if you have to offer free shipping on all orders or above a certain amount.
Consumers will probably not notice the increased product cost if you work in the luxury or handmade sector. In this cases you can increase your price to offer free shipping. On the other hand, in a highly competitive market where the norm is both free shipping and lowest prices, you cannot increase your price to offset free shipping because consumers will immediately compare to competitors and notice the price is higher. At this point, you can choose to take a different option but you can also try to absorb the cost for shipping on most of your items.
Like always, don’t forget the exceptions. A “free shipping” promotion on large or particularly heavy product can be a really bad option because of the cost of the shipping. Your margins will be cut significantly. Before choosing this option, look at the costs of shipping for all of your products, compare with your competitors, look at how they ship, your average order size and your profit margin. The best decision is now in your hand.
Option 2: Use real-time rate to Charge Exact Costs
On online business, setup real-time shipping quotes is possible. Your shipping partner (UPS, FedEX, USPS etc.) are linked up to your checkout and the real shipping quote based on the number of products, size and weight of all items will determine the shipping cost for customers. The price will correspond to the price your shipping partners will charge you when customers order.
Sometimes it doesn’t happen the way you expected but most of the time you can compensate the cost you have to pay for shipping with the charges the customer paid.
This option is a good way to have a trusty relation with your customers because thanks to the calculator, customers are sur you are not making money on shipping charges and neither raising your item prices.
And as we saw before, free shipping promotion for heavy or oversized shipment is complicated and often too costly, this option based on real-time rate appears therefore as a very good option.
Option 3: Offer Flat Rates
Offering a flat rate for every package or a certain flat rate depending on weight ranges and order totals is the third option.
A good preparation is necessary with this method. Indeed, your average cost of shipping package have to be calculated. This is the best option if you want to be sure that your customers are not drastically undercharged or overcharged.
When you will charge your customer, it probably won’t be the exact shipping cost but orders will compensate, sometimes you will lose a little, sometimes you will earn.
Finally, how to charge customer?
You have to thought over very carefully because your conversion rates and your overall profitability will be significantly impacted by how you choose to charge customers.
What best for your brand, business and customers have to be taken into consideration and you will certainly have to try the 3 methods before choosing the best one.
Now let see how to create a great impression with your customers with a rightly selected packaging. You need also to choice with regard to the cost and how the merchandise is protected.
In your shipping and fulfillment process, you have to take the packaging very seriously. Your products are protected from bumps and bruises and give your customer a first opinion as it is the first thing he see.
The first opinion of your brand is based on the packaging and it is really important.
We will now give you all the information about products packaging, what kind of packaging you can have and many information to help your started.
Utility Packaging Vs. Branded Packaging
You have all the option to charge your customers, you now need to know how you can package your products. First, your strategy used to charge customers can be strongly affected by your package choice as it can increase or decrease your shipping costs significantly.
You have to opposite options for packaging and other in-between options. The two opposite options are:
- Packaging based on utility– Very simple. Your product is in a plain envelope or brown cardboard box and protected by any necessary filler.
- Packaging based on brand– You want to offer your customer a fancy and memorable experience just with the packaging. It can have a strong marketing effect.
In fact, these two option are really opposite and extreme but in reality, you mostly choose a solution that is between those two options.
Standard Packaging Options
To protect your product before transport, your need to package them before shipping. For utility focused packaging your options are commonly padded or unpadded boxes and envelopes.
Some type and size of box to protect the order and padding are mostly required to protect product. However very little product or durable protect don’t often need that.
One the internet you can over 1,300 sizes of boxes, bubble mailers, and package cushioning, and therefore it is often a good option to purchase packaging materials. But you will see that there are many other options.
Package Size is important
When you ship a product, you will most of the time be charge according to the size and weight of your product. That is why you don’t want to lose place because of the package. Both you and your customer are winning in reducing package space.
Having selected sizes of packaging materials, like small, medium and large size boxes can be an option if it makes sense regarding your business and product line.
You have to find the good balance between the smallest packaging possible and a good protection for your product.
A Branded Packaging and Unboxing Experience
The most connected moment with your customer in ecommerce businesses is the shipped package. But it is very often not exploit by merchant.
We often only consider packaging important because it protect the product which is the most important thing in the transaction. But the world has change, business has new practices and shipping can become a whole new experience.
What do we call a Branded Packaging Experience?
We can define a branded packaging experience as several selections of packaging and shipping materials with a chosen presentation of the products. Your customer will receive additional value and so does your business thanks to a memorable and sharable experience.
Very different from physical retail, through ecommerce business it is more difficult to have contact with your customers which me less chance to impress them. That’s why it is important to seize the opportunity of seduce your customers whenever you can and to differentiate from your competitors so your customers never forget you.
Why is a branded Packaging Experience So Important?
Keeping a strong relation with your clients is a key asset to build a long-term, sustainable brand. Indeed, it’s more profitable to keep faithful clients than finding new one all the time.
If you keep that in mind, every time you will ship a package, what your customer will experience will be either:
- Below expectations
- Meet expectations
- Exceed expectations
Your customer can have experiences below expectations with your brand for many reasons, sometimes you could not have anticipated them. Your customer’s expectations are easily meet if everything happens as it should have and no shipping delayed. And to exceed expectations, you don’t have to do that much, a good packaging, a little of marketing and surprises. Just a little thing and the customer will advise their friends and families to work with you.
What to do for a Custom Branded Unboxing Experience
You have many things you can include to have a well-designed, branded packaging and unboxing experience. Let’s see the elements that can add more value to your customer experience. We will see many elements; it is not necessary to include all of them but take time to look at each of them and then decide which one is the most interesting to add value to your customers’ experience. Including some of the following elements in your business can be a strong winning strategy. Your customer will experience a better and more memorable service.
So, your branded, unboxing experience may include:
- Box – The main shipping box has to be considered as the biggest element. The word is ruled by white or brown corrugated packaging options because they are cheap, sturdy and get the job done. Just with the shipping box you can seize the opportunity to improve the experience of your customer. However, it can be expensive. You can customize your box with colors, printed pattern, or you can have your boxes shaped.
- Tissue Paper – When a customer will unpack the parcel, just a tissue paper can create an extra level of mystery and excitement. For example, printed tissue paper or colored tissue paper can be customized. It is a good option to add excitement.
- Protective Cushioning (Filler) – Styrofoam packing peanuts, foam inserts, air pillows or bubble wrap are considered as traditional protective cushioning. However, you have other option such as crinkle paper (colored), or excelsior that you have to take into account.
- Stickers – Stickers are polyvalent and a good option to valorize your package at a very low cost. You use it for different purpose. Either you already wrapped your package with tissue paper and a branded sticker will just have the tissue paper sealed together, or you can use stickers directly to customize your paper which is cheapest than tissue paper.
- Receipt – Including a receipt in your package is really common service. However, there is a lot to do to improve the presentation of the receipt to the customer. Think about how and where your customers will have the receipt presented. For example, using a custom envelope is an elegant way to present the receipt that higher end brands often consider.
- Tape – Clear packaging tape is commonly used. However, you can choose new options nowadays. To complement your custom packing and brand colors, different colored tape are new options to consider.
Internal Marketing Collateral & Package Inserts
Adding marketing and package inserts has proved to be a good strategy to reinforce your relationship with your customers for an interesting cost.
What are the reasons why packaging inserts are so important? Let’s see some of them:
- Packaging inserts are not important costs– we will later see some opportunity types of package insert and you could notice that none of them it’s expensive and can however be a really good investment.
- You can adapt your inserts to your customer – Indeed, the inserts are for customer and not potential buyers, they already bought your product. You can adapt the inserts with the customer depending on what he bought. This is a good way to make customer feel special and strengthen your relationship with him.
- Customers have already paid the costs of delivering the message – You can make the most of it since the package is already being shipped.
- Cross-selling thanks to package inserts – Package inserts is a good way to add highly targeted cross-sell opportunities. Indeed, with its purchase, the customer gives you an idea of what he likes.
- Package inserts are a good way to clear stocks- If a product is hard to sell, you can use it as a marketing expense and therefore strengthen your relationship with your customer.
- Loyalty can be acquired by the right inserts – With targeted inserts, the customer will feel special. This feeling of importance will gave them reasons to share their experience.
- Package inserts is easy – you mostly don’t have to do that much. You can just add a flyer or a coupon in each order you ship. Of course you can do more to and you have many options add value to your product and have a good impact on your brand and your customers’ loyalty.
Now let’s detail some of the most popular types of packaging insert options.
Discounts offer on future purchase are a very well-known type of package inserts. Of course you can always use email to deliver discounts offer. However, the impact on your customers is different when the discounts or credits for future purchases are included right in the shipped box. The offer will be directly in front of them and they will more easily associate the offer with your brand.
To deliver discount or deal offers in your packaging, one of the best way is to have them printed at a business card size. Business cards are a very good options because they are really practical and not expensive at all. Then, you can have several choices, you may include two cards whenever an order is shipped. Then the customer could keep one card and give the other one to a friend. The best thing to do is to test different options and then keep the one that have the best impact on your audience.
Great value to your package can be added by sample. Here are some reasons why. First reason it is not expensive because sometimes your vendors can offer you samples. Of course it depends on what you sell. Then, to push your customers to buy other of your products, one good way is cross-selling, and samples are a good way to let your customer discover other of your products and product lines they would probably never have tried on their own.
Small gifts are quite like samples. Your customers will be delighted and pleasantly surprised and they won’t feel you push them to make another purchase but just see it as a good attention. But you don’t have to make expensive cost to offer gifts. Since it is a surprise, your customer won’t be expected it, that’s why even a small one will change things and your relationship with your customers.
Thank-You Cards and Personal Notes
This option is the simplest, least expensive and most personalized insert. Just adding a handwritten thank-you in the package can be really appreciated by your customer. Loyalty can be easily reinforced by a simple card which is a thoughtful gesture. It is a good option at the beginning of your business because it is an advantage over your bigger competitors that most of the time cannot compete with anymore due to the size of their companies. Make it your advantage.
Product Review or Social Share Request
Most of the time the shipped package is the last connection you will have with your customer. That is why it can be a good time to ask your customers if they are satisfied and to get on social media to have their experience shared.
Costs of Branded Packaging
As we saw, you have many options to offer your customers a beautiful unboxing experience. However, you have to be careful to control your operating expenses. You need a good balance between the benefits of creating an experience for your customers and the costs that go with. These costs consist of the price you will pay for the inserts, gift or samples and the time you will spend which can also be an important cost. Depending on your average order size and profit margins, you will then decide what you can offer to your customers and what you can’t. You need to take the option with the greatest value to your business of course but above all to your customers.
The most expensive costs are most of the time customs boxes and surprises when your customers unbox the package. For an average of 500 orders, you have to consider a cost between $5-$25 per box if you want your own custom printed boxes.
However, you can call for your imagination to make less expenses for the same results. For example, Uline offer pre-designed colored boxes and for an order of only 50 boxes you will pay $2.50 per boxes.
AliExpress is another interesting option as it sells very similar colored boxes and it is only 0.39 cents (it changes depending on size) per boxes if you buy at least 50 units. Moreover, the shipping is offered to most countries.
Then to add value to your boxes, printed stickers with your logo offers good return and service like Stickers Giant or similar service have very interesting prices.
Protecting Your Product
Some products need protective material to go through the transportation without damage.
Once again, you have several options that come along. Bubble wrap, foam, tissue paper, air pillows and packing peanuts are a good way to fill void spaces and cushioning to protect your products.
Package Protection Test
To be sure that your product is well protected the common rule is to have any extra space in your packed boxes filled by some type of filler. However, it is not sufficient, transit can be rude little boxes are mixed with bigger boxes. The 4-foot drop test is the standard test to check if your package can support the journey.
Shipping Label Printing
So you have chosen your presentation and packaging. It is now time to consider how you want to label your packages. At the start of a business, the most commonly used options is to choose handwritten shipping and return address on the package. At first it is an option to consider but you will quickly realize that you lose a lot of time. It is also tedious and you won’t be able to do that when your business will grow. Moreover, in some sectors and some types of customers, handwritten address can be seen as unprofessional.
5) Shipping your package
Now, your package is ready to be shipped. You have to consider shipping courier or couriers to work with. Keep well in mind that the package is the first direct contact you have with your customers. Choosing the right shipping carrier is therefore a critical decision as it will have consequences on the representation of your brands near your customers.
You have several options whether you want a small, large, public or private carriers.
In this guide, in order to stay coherent, you will find information and related to several of the biggest carriers.
As always, none of this carrier is perfect and is the only one that you should choose. You will always find strengths and weaknesses in each partner. You have to look at each carrier on your own because you are the one that knows at best what your business needs. Let’s look at the factors you have to take into consideration to make the best choice about shippings carriers.
Calculating Shipping Rates
Multiple factors will contribute to the shipping rates. It includes weight, size, departing and destination country, as well as insurance and tracking.
You can have a lot of factors but those you will find in all shipping couriers base shipping rates are:
- Package Size
- Package Weight
- Departing Country/City
- Destination Country/City
- Tracking Options
- Insurance Options
- Volume of Orders
- Negotiated Discounts
You cannot completely compare the different services because each shipping carriers has its own unique variables.
Let’s look at the most cost effective option for your business you can have through a list of shipping calculators for some of the most popular shipping couriers.
For some product, especially expensive ones, you can reduce risks with a good shipping insurance, it is secure for you.
Thanks to a shipping insurance a lost, stolen or damaged parcels in transit will be reimbursed.
You can buy shipping insurance to postal services, courier companies, and 3rd party shipping-insurance companies. There are several types of insurance. And not all products can be insured. Your carrier of choice or a 3rd party insurer will tell you if your products are insured.
You can also insure some of your products but not all of them. Some high-value items need an insurance. It is a security for you if one of them is lost. Remember that some shipping services include insurance in their price, you have to take that into account when you compare prices.
Another good asset is to be able to follow your package during the transport. You can anticipate any issues and but it is first very valuable to customers who can see here the product is and know when it will be delivered.
Moreover, if a package is missing and you ask for insurance compensation, tracking is often your only solution for some carriers, payment providers (PayPal) and 3rd party insurance providers.
However, if you have short destination, locally or domestically, tracking will be expensive with no substantial good return and will proved to be unnecessary.
Once again, you can choose tracking for some orders but not all. For the riskiest orders, it can be because postal loss is very likely or it is probable that customers claim their missing package.
As always you have to try several options, look at the results and percentage to know what is the best option for your business. On the one hand, the more the value is low, the less is your loss rate important. In this case you certainly don’t need to choose tracking on every package.
On the other hand, if most of your order are high-value, the transport is riskier and it is certainly better to have a 3rd party insurance and you will be able to provide a blanket rate on all your shipment.
Communicating Customs & Duties To Customers
To assure a good communication with your customers and to be sure he doesn’t feel swindle, you need to give him information at the good time. For instance, after his purchase, your customer will have to add customs charged to its final buying. You need to inform him about that as soon as possible so he won’t feel trapped.
Let’s look at a company example which gave all the information to be sure its customers won’t be surprised by the price at the end:
” IMPORTANT: We cannot guarantee that you will or will not be charged any customs taxes or duties. Any customs or import duties are charged once the parcel reach its destination country. These charges must be paid by the recipient of the parcel. This applies only to international orders. “
Customs & Duties Conclusion
Both you and your customers face difficulties with customs and duties. You have to find the right balance between the services your offer and the costs and how you keep your customers informed. It is a key point to keep relation of trust with your customers.
Let’s now see how you can have outside supports for lower costs but with a growing business.
6) scaling your shipping strategy
With a growing business and an increase of orders, you will have to look at to other options, like a fulfillment warehouse.
Thanks to a fulfillment warehouse you can have our shipping automated and handled for you. With a fulfillment warehouse your inventory will be stored at one of their warehouses. If it is well integrated with your shopping cart, the order to pick, pack and ship will be directly forwarded by your fulfillment partner.
What are the advantages of using a fulfillment warehouse? Let’s see some of them:
- Cheaper Shipping Rates – The shipping rates are reduced because they have several vendors and therefore more quantities of orders. Most of the time they are working with major shipping logistics companies, which give you more opportunities to choose your shipping.
- Shorter Shipping Times – with fulfillment partner you can have your inventory stored closer to the majority of your customers.
However, depending on your business, fulfillment warehouses can be a wrong option. Here are some disadvantages you have to take into account:
- Branding Experience – We studied before that a packaging presentation can be an asset for the promotion of your brand but just a few fulfillment warehouse will propose you that kind of services.
- Additional Costs – Indeed, shipping rate will be lower but you will have other costs like what we commonly called pick and pack fees and warehouse storage fees.
When your ecommerce business grows and the orders are more predictable and regular, it makes sense to work with a fulfillment warehouse.
With a fulfillment warehouse you can spare time to your business growth and seduce new customers and not wasting time with logistics operations.