If your business is selling online, then it is absolutely imperative that you know all you can about how to ship things. A solid understanding of how to ship and all that it entails is the backbone ecommerce.

Good shipping practices can make or break your business.

It’s unlikely that most customers will notice when you ship efficiently. But you can guarantee that they will notice if you do not.

If you want ecommerce success, learn how to ship things.

Shipping On Time

When a customer places an order in your online store, do not wait! Package your product immediately, the same day if possible. Customers will be irate if it takes you a week to even ship their order, and then they have to wait even longer for delivery. Figuring out a system for how to ship things quickly and efficiently will keep your customers happy.

And a happy customer is a repeat customer.

Free Shipping

There are numerous ways to provide customers with incentives to shop in your online store. One way is coupon codes. Another way is offering free shipping.

Though upon initial inspection, offering free shipping may seem like it will hurt your profits, you may find in the long run that customers are willing to spend more money if you eliminate shipping costs. Thus, in all likelihood your shipping costs will cover themselves, and you may even increase your profits.

Whatever you do, don’t try to turn your shipping policy into a profit center.

If you try to make money off shipping, customers will notice, and they will not be happy. And selling online is all about keeping customers happy.

Calculating Shipping Costs

If you don’t do your research, you could end up losing money on shipping.

Don’t wait until you have an order to research your shipping methods. Figure out how to ship products ahead of time. Know the exact details of how you are going to ship and what it is going to cost you.

Packaging for your product is essential. If your product is moving around in a box way too big for it, something isn’t right. Consider what is best for your product. This includes box sizes, packaging materials, and package guidelines.

If your online store is shipping products regularly, it is worth researching whether you are eligible for lower shipping rates with your shipping service. If you are using them often for your ecommerce shipping, they just might give you a discount.

There are numerous free online tools that will help you calculate costs. Whether you choose to ship with the USPS, UPS, or FedEx, they all have online calculators that will help you figure your costs.

If you’re shipping internationally, consider popular shipping services in that area. Here are some online shipping calculators for Canada, Australia, and the UK.

Canada Shipping Calculators

Con-Way Freight






Royal Mail

Be Clear

Clarity on your shipping policy is essential. Be upfront and straightforward with customers about how you ship things. Don’t make them go through a maze of pages, or register on your site just to see your shipping policy. This will not increase the likelihood of a sale. It will only leave them annoyed, and will potentially cost you a customer.

Think about follow up communication. For example, consider sending out shipping notifications, tracking information, and so on. The more info your buyer knows, the less conflict.

Shipping Insurance

When it comes to how to ship things, insurance is a good idea. Selling online always involves risk, but it’s best to minimize the risks where you can.

Obviously, it is a judgment call as to when and where it is applicable. But if a package is lost or damaged in transit, you don’t want to have to come out of your own pocket to cover the loss.

You can either choose to insure every package you send, or only expensive products. If you’re worried about cost, you can pass the cost of insurance on to the customer. But if you do this, be sure to say so when explaining how you ship things.

International Shipping

International shipping can be a bit trickier than domestic shipping. When deciding how to ship things internationally, be sure to consider the potential problems. It is much more expensive, you are at greater risk for fraud, and there is a great deal more uncertainty overall.

On the other hand, offering international shipping opens your business to the world at large, exposing you to a greater market and thus potentially higher profits in your online store.


Deciding how to ship things in ecommerce is all about answering questions. So as you get started in developing a shipping policy, ask yourself the following basic questions:

-How much will shipping cost me?

-Do I want to offer free shipping to my customers?

-How will I insure my packages?

-Is international shipping worth the risks?


Trin Salaloy is the co founder and creator of MadeFreshly – a simple to use online store creator. He is a designer, entrepreneur and online marketing guru. He’s committed to making it easy for entrepreneurs to make beautiful websites.