Considering the complexity of shipping and packaging rules based on customer needs, shipping is a key component of B2B businesses. In many cases, shipping problems can often lead to high cart abandonment rates.
If a B2B seller provides limited shipping options or charges a high price for shipping large orders to multiple locations, then customers may get frustrated. These reasons, along with many more, make the availability of custom shipping options very important for B2B eCommerce solutions.
Depending on the shipping time constraints, the package weight/volume and the ease of logistics to preferred locations, following are some of the common shipping options that B2B businesses must integrate with, in order to cater to the varying needs of their customers:
- Regular/standard shipping for small packages- For small to large boxes, regular shipping is a cost-effective delivery option. This is a standard shipping feature that includes ground delivery, 2 days shipping, and overnight shipping.
B2B sellers should specifically mention all these three options on their website. This way users get more choices and selections based on their urgency and price sensitivity. In many cases, free shipping is also offered on these regular delivery options.
- Multiple Shipping Location- In a lot of cases, B2B clients have complex shipping needs, such as delivering the products to multiple locations. Therefore, B2B companies often use drop shipping to ship items from warehouses and other manufacturers, and this strategy enables them to increase their delivery speed.
Such complex deliveries can be managed better with the help of inventory management integration on your eCommerce website. B2B companies can set particular options for free shipping, flat rate shipping, or shipping by weight. Direct onsite connections to carrier websites can directly help provide the carrier-calculated shipping rates, this is important in case of small packages as well.
- Ship-on-account- For any B2B website, ship-on-account is a vital shipping feature. Ship-on-account allows for the B2B buyers to have their own shipping vendors come and pick up the order from the B2B seller’s physical store/ warehouse location, instead of delivering it to an address.
The buyers need to provide some information to make use of this shipping option, such as the shipper’s name and the account code with the shipping vendor.
B2B sellers can also offer their buyers advanced local pickup options that enable them to visit their closest location to get the items quicker. Usually, there are no charges involved, however, sellers can add a handling fee. It is ideal to opt for this method in a custom shipping zone on the basis of local zip codes.
- LTL (Lighter Than Load)- For small freight or in case freight doesn’t require the use of an entire trailer, LTL shipping can be used for transportation. The weight range of these shipments is usually between 151 and 20,000 pounds. Therefore, B2B sellers need to provide LTL shipping options for those consumers who want to maximize their cost savings. Many carriers also charge handling fees separately for providing delivery notifications for such shipments.
In such cases, it is recommended to have an integrated inventory system that can automatically calculate the costs of LTL shipments. When shipping charges are calculated in real-time, there are fewer complaints from customers because they are already informed of all costs and the shipment status.
- Drop shipping- This shipping option allows the B2B sellers to purchase the products from a third party and then having them shipped directly to the customer. Dropshipping is a highly accessible method for the sellers to connect with customers without having the need to stockpile inventory. The seller relies on a third party, usually a wholesaler or a manufacturer, to fulfill customer orders.
- Split shipping- Split shipping option allows the customer to order multiple products at the same time but have them shipped separately. In this, the order is split in order to accommodate multiple packaging needs, changes in stock, or different shipping locations. This feature is very necessary for any B2B website, as the products are ordered in bulk and the customers might have diverse shipping needs.
- Other custom shipping options- You can also offer automated self service features and custom delivery options to customers, depending on the integration platform you are using. These include connecting to carriers onsite, selecting strategies for global shipping and automating custom address books to schedule shipments to multiple locations. Without integration, companies need multiple staff members to manage such complex shipping and multi-channel sales.