Shipping for small businesses in India: the complete guide

shipping for small business in india

Shipping is the last element in a purchase cycle, but not the least. Last impressions matter as much as first ones, if not more. This means that you could have a fantastic product and good shopping experience, but if there is a fault in delivery, your customer will be unhappy.

Once a small business brand proves themselves to be unreliable in terms of shipping, many customers are reluctant and even unwilling to give that same retailer a second chance. In a study conducted in 2021, only 20% of consumers were willing to forgive retailers for delivery disruptions.

In this blog, we will walk you through on setting up a good shipping strategy for small businesses in India. You will learn about finding good shipping partners, packaging, and how Instamojo can help simplify the process.

Shipping for eCommerce in India: everything you need to know

Do you know that many eCommerce businesses have failed because of poor shipping strategy? Customer satisfaction highly depends on delivery and packaging experience. So, you need to get it right at the start of your business. Here are some best practises for eCommerce shipping in India for small businesses:

Basics of eCommerce shipping

Before you start finding courier services, you need to lay out a strategy for shipping. This will depend upon factors like your product, business model, etc.

Product weight: Shipping rates also depend upon the weight and size of the products. So, accurately measure and weigh the items you sell. This will help you in deciding shipping costs later.

Packaging material and sourcing: You will be overwhelmed by the number of different packaging types available! So, you need to decide on one based on the nature of your products and costs. You also need to decide on how and where to get the materials from

Shipping rates: Are you going to offer free shipping or do you want to pass on the charges to customers? There are different pricing models when it comes to shipping charges. So, you need to choose based on your business model.

Subsequently, we will discuss more on these basic elements of shipping.

packaging with thank you note

Set shipping rates

Shipping expenses make up a significant part of the finances of an online business. Here are the common ways to charge shipping rates.

Offer free shipping

Offering free shipping is a good strategy to increase sales. In fact, a survey shows that 72% of consumers cite free shipping as the reason to shop from a particular online store.

To offer free shipping to your customers, you have three main options to cover the shipping charges:

  • Pay shipping charges from your margin
  • Increase price of products according to shipping costs
  • Increase product prices slightly (which means both you and customer pays)

💡Tip: You can offer free shipping on a minimum order amount. This is another good strategy to increase sales.

Charge flat shipping rate

Charge a rate for shipping at checkout, which will be added to the invoice separately as shipping charges. This rate will be same for all the products in your online store. So, this model will work best if all your products are of a standard size. But, if you’re selling products of different weight and size, this may lead to loss from your side.

Find a shipping partner

There are many shipping services available in India and they have different pricing and policies. So, you need to consider which shipping partner is best for your business model. Use the following criteria when choosing a courier company or deciding the best shipping service in India for your small business.

shipping for small business

Delivery speed and range

Delivery speed, delivery range, and delivery tracking are important factors for businesses of all sizes. So if you want to select a courier company, the first thing that should be on your priority list is to look at their delivery speed. Also find out how many pincodes they deliver across.

Courier tracking capability

As an independent business or a DTC brand, you should know where exactly your delivery package is. This is why your courier service should be able to offer detailed tracking services. This information should also be communicated to your customers.

Pricing model for shipping courier

Shipping services charge on a monthly subscription basis or per order. If you are a business that receives a huge order amount, then the latter is more suitable. Some companies hide surcharges on their pricing models, so getting the rates from reputable couriers is the best way.

Calculate shipping costs

Shipping costs are calculated based on factors like weight of product, destination, and any additional factors such as insurance.

When calculating expenses, make sure you have included every factor before finalising the cost. Keep in mind that there may be some hidden costs apart from shipping charges. So, make sure you do your research properly to end up without a loss.

Here are some factors that contribute to shipping costs in India for your small business:

  • Cost of product
  • Packaging material
  • Shipping costs
  • GST

The sum of all this will be the shipping price you include at the end.

Packaging

You can choose packaging materials based on your product, durability, costs, and branding as well. Also, keep in mind that customers look forward to a beautiful unboxing experience. While a basic packaging with a brown box and bubble wrap is enough, it is always good to include something creative. So, think out of the box when it comes to packaging your products.

Did you know that good packaging drives sales too? Every year 95% of the products fail because businesses fail to invest in packaging.

Make the packaging too good to throw away. This is a good way to make your brand memorable and stand out. Inkbliss, a calligraphy supplies business, does a good job in making their packaging one of a kind.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ink n Bliss Calligraphy (@inknbliss)

The moment when customers receive their order is itself a delight. But, if the unboxing experience is also great, your customers will be over the moon! So why not invest in good packaging?

Here are a few packaging ideas to delight your customers:

  • Use packaging inserts – thank you notes, discount coupons
  • Packaging with brand colour scheme
  • Reusable packaging materials

Insurance

Depending on your courier partner, insurance may or may not be included in your shipping costs. If your products are valuable, it is always good to have an insurance. And most insurance policies offered by logistics services are not too expensive.

Shipping on Instamojo

Setting up costs and finding a shipping partner can be overwhelming. But, you are not alone. Ecommerce shipping on Instamojo takes away a lot of the burden off your shoulders.

Competitive rates, discounts, and more

You can partner with a leading courier service in India through your dashboard and get the best rates. Optimise shipping costs with competitive pricing offered by our logistics partners. You can also get exclusive shipping discounts and cashbacks with mojoPlus benefits.

Easy pickup and delivery

You don”t have to worry about going to shipping centres. Just keep the package ready and the courier partner will pick it up from your doorstep. You will receive tracking updates through email. So, delivery of products will be smooth and hassle free.

Forget tracking orders manually and shipping them one by one. You will be able to automate eCommerce shipping by syncing all your orders from a single dashboard. 

To conclude

Handling shipping, packaging, and delivery is a crucial part of an eCommerce business. It’s an element that is closely tied to the success of your online store. So, make sure you understand all the factors before making decisions.

To avoid struggles due to shipping issues, make smart decisions and partner with a good platform that makes your work easy. Having a single platform for shipping,  tracking, and other eCommerce functions such as order management, will save you a lot of time and effort. One such platform to effectively handle shipping and other eCommerce needs for small businesses in India is Instamojo.


Set up shipping for your business

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