Shipping can be a challenge for businesses large and small.

There’s a lot to consider in a world where Amazon’s massive fulfillment operation is the mark to match. Even if you’re not looking to fulfill orders at lightning speed, there are many other factors you should weigh when developing your approach to shipping.

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Try Something Else

It’s difficult to fulfill orders at the same speeds as Amazon and Walmart, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to give up. Instead, you can take a different approach that will be as valuable to the end customer and compensate for the extra day or two it takes to move your package from the fulfillment center to the front porch.

Other successful approaches might include:

  • Really understanding your customers. Sometimes the truth is that your customers aren’t expecting as much as you think they are. They may be happy to wait a week when free shipping is involved. Survey your customer base on delivery times and find out what you’re actually dealing with.Your order fulfillment should be necessarily limited by a cost margin, if you can make some of that up with slower shipping, there’s no reason not to.
  • Play around with some models. Playing the “what-if” game can get you into a lot of trouble in your personal life, but in business they call that “modeling.”With logistics, modeling is a good way to figure out where you are, where you need to be and what it’s going to take to get there. Sometimes you even find secret paths you hadn’t considered before.
  • Maintain transparency. You know, many customers are just as happy with regular shipping speeds when they know exactly where their package is at all times. It may take a little extra effort on your part, but keeping an eye on shipments and shippers can also reveal new ways to improve on the system you’re using. It’s kind of a win-win.
  • Creating the ultimate last mile experience. You can’t compete with the big retailers, but you can certainly provide a unique and pain-free last mile experience. Say, for example, that you sell flat-packed furniture. Instead of just dumping a box on the front porch, maybe your team builds the item ahead of time and delivers it gently to the perfect spot in the customer’s living room. Now that’s going above and beyond!

There’s really no one way to get shipping right, there are only lots of little things to try that can mesh together into a cohesive whole. From your warehouse, through your supply chain and down the last mile, there’s always room for improvement in the world of modern order fulfillment.