Online Shops (Ecommerce websites) and Shipping

E-commerce websites are becoming increasingly popular. Personally, South Africa is a little behind as we are much more nervous about buying online than those overseas. Regardless, the need or demand for these sites where people can buy online and have their goods delivered to them is growing daily.

The designing and building of an online shopping website is not all that straightforward. Ensuring the design and layout is easy to use is key and coding can take a few weeks especially when there are very intricate details or functionalities that need to be implemented.

Shipping and Delivery

One particular feature which needs to be included is almost all online shops are the shipping costs. Shipping is almost always a challenge in setting up as every company ships or delivers their products differently or with a different courier company. Some shops may use a internal delivery guy, some may use the post office while others may use large delivery / shipping companies such a Fedex or DHL.

Then  comes the variables which almost always pop up when attempting to setup the shipping functionality and costs.

As I mentioned above, every company operates differently when it comes to shipping. And with every company, comes different variables. Variables add another challenge in setting up the shipping – here are some examples of variables:

Example 1:

  • Over 5kgs – 10kgs = R10
  • Over 11kgs – 50kgs = R30

Example 2:

  • All orders charged at R50 delivery
  • Any orders ABOVE R300 are free shipping

Example 3:

  • R10 per item ordered

Example 4:

  • Sell wines by the bottle, but charge shipping by cases

That just touches on what one can expect – there are loads of different variables and scenarios, but we won’t go into all of them now.

So, now what?

If you are planning on setting up an online shop, you need to make sure you know what you are doing about getting the goods to your clients and costs of delivery.

Here’s what you need to be able to supply your web company once you have finalized your shipping:

  • Name of Company with their logo (possibly) – sometimes it’s really good to have your courier company’s logo on your site so that buyers know exactly who is delivering their goods. Not always necessary, but something to consider.
  • Costs and variables – as explained above
  • Delivery times – the user needs to be informed about how long it’s going to take for their items to be delivered.
  • Tracking numbers – find out if there’s a way that your clients can track their orders – many clients like to know they can find out where their purchase is especially if it’s running late.

To end off…

DO NOT FORGET about the shipping and delivery side of things. Forgetting about it can be detrimental to your business and could even result in loss of income because clients don’t buy as they don’t know how their purchase will get to them OR you don’t take into account the different variables and when asking your courier to deliver an order, you are hit with a large fee due to the “different variables” discussed above.

Shipping should be known at the beginning. Often this isn’t the case, but we would certainly advise that you know about this particular area at the start of setting up your website.