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Starting an Online Business All-in-One For Dummies®, 3rd Edition by Joel Elad, Shannon Belew

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Shaping Up and Shipping Out

The immediate gratification that a customer feels when she orders some-thing from your business applies also to the fulfillment of that order. Customers want to hold a product in their hands as soon as possible, and some customers are willing to pay even more to receive their order faster. Customers often have a favorite shipping carrier, or a carrier that they don't want you to use.

When those same people hear the term shipping and handling, they usually envision you performing these basic steps:

  1. Pull an item off the shelf.
  2. Put that item in a box.
  3. Add packing material to fill up any empty space in the box.
  4. Seal the box with tape.
  5. Put the customer's name and address, and your business return address, on top of the box.
  6. Ship the box.

Even though these steps demonstrate the basic flow of the shipping process, you can make it happen in many ways. If you're handling the shipment of your business orders, you can take advantage of some existing systems to make your life easier.

Giving shipping options to your customers

In the end, the best way to satisfy both your business goals and the customer's shopping goals is to offer multiple shipping options to your customers.

Giving customers options can mean that you offer a variety in

  • Shipping carriers: You're willing to ship something by using FedEx, UPS, or the U.S. Postal Service.
  • Shipping methods: If your only carrier is FedEx, for example, customers can pay for Next Day Air, 2-Day Air, or Ground (with an ...

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