One of the most effective ways to streamline shipping and reduce hours of work into literally minutes is to implement shipping presets and rules. In this article, we’ll explain what these terms mean, both in definition and business outcomes. You’ll find some examples we recommend, and some instances of how using shipping presets and rules have helped real e-commerce businesses just like yours.
What are Shipping Presets and Rules?
Shipping rules, or shipping automation, are based on programmable statements that tell a platform what to do when certain things are true or false. This can be based on order details, product information, customer data, or shipping carrier selections.
Shipping presets, on the other hand, are a collection of carrier, service, and packaging selections that act as a shortcut to selections you use often. These can also be paired with your shipping rules to automate selections as orders come in from your stores and marketplaces.
Why Should You Use Shipping Presets and Rules?
Incorporating shipping presets and rules provide a ton of benefits to your shipping processes and business practices. They can streamline many aspects of an e-commerce business and generate cost-savings in areas you may not even realize you’re overpaying.
“Every order shouldn’t have to be a decision,” says Evan Marshall, owner of Plain Jane, a CBD products company. As each order comes in, Evan doesn’t have to worry about making a specific decision on how to ship each one. Based on rules he sets in ShippingEasy, the platform assigns a carrier and service, which then generates a rate quote, and Evan is able to batch print labels quickly and efficiently.
Human error in order processing and shipping can have ripple-effects throughout the business. They lead to customer service issues, sending an incorrect item to a customer, for example. The results from that can be longer-lasting than many think. Not only can this lose your business a customer, but there are associated costs with replacing an item. Then there’s the possibility of a poor review after the experience, which could incur costs in potential customers’ trust, as they may look elsewhere after reading about a poor experience.
Mistakes can also be extremely costly internally, from losing or duplicating orders to inefficiently choosing carriers and services that end up costing thousands more than they should. Let’s look at the below example.
Sure, it’s probably easier to simply choose Priority Mail Flat Rate if the box fits your items. It can be a default for many shippers to be able to anticipate the shipping cost. That being said, in many instances Priority Mail Regional Rate (which is based on how far a package is traveling as opposed to its weight up to 15 or 20 lbs) can come in significantly cheaper than Flat Rate in certain instances. This is something that can be easily programmed into a shipping platform using shipping rules that follow the below logic.
- IF your package weight is greater than 1 lb. and less than 10 lbs. AND going to Zones 1-4, THEN apply Regional Rate Box B (you may also be able to choose Box A, depending on product size).
Saving $3-4 per package is significant, but if you have to think about whether to use Regional or Flat Rate on every order, you are wasting valuable time that could easily be regained using shipping rules and presets.
Particularly if you sell on Amazon via Seller Fulfilled Prime, how quickly you can process orders is of the utmost importance. Shipping rules allow you to more quickly identify orders that take priority over others by tagging them with a color or an indicator, which you can then sort your orders by to prioritize.
For non-Amazon orders, it’s even possible to have orders with rate quotes print automatically, hands-free using automation! That’s the impetus behind ShippingEasy’s InstantLabel feature. Labels, and even packing slips, can print on demand while you’re managing other parts of the business.
What Are Some Examples and Applications?
We mentioned Evan Marshall above. Let’s look at an example of a shipping rule he has put in place for his products.
Since Evan also has a separate rule for 8-pack items (of which the SKUs contain an 8 as an indicator), he is able to use this rule to include packs of 1-4 items while also excluding 8-pack items. Plain Jane’s products are mostly smaller items, so he defaults to a Flat Envelope because it offers a great cost and properly sized packaging.
Let’s look at another example. Jamie Goldach of Closeout Inventories, an automotive parts reseller, knows that USPS First Class Package service is the most cost-effective way to ship any items under 1 lb (even with the most recent changes to how rates are calculated). She wants to take into account how a customer requests an item be shipped, as well as use a Shipping Preset box of 7x7x7. This can all be done in a single rule, once she’s created her preset box (video instructions at the end of this article!). Here’s how it plays out:
With that, every domestic order under 1 lb for which a customer has chosen the standard shipping option at checkout will ship First Class Package Service in a 7x7x7 box. Jamie doesn’t have to think about this every time an order comes in. Shipping presets and rules make it happen automatically so she can focus on building her business, as we break down in this case study.
If you prefer more of a show, rather than tell approach, check out the video tutorial below on how to set up shipping presets and rules. Our Product Education Specialist Michael gives you step-by-step instructions to shipping automation success.
The best part about working with ShippingEasy is that we don’t leave you to your own devices when figuring out all these time-saving rules. Our team of shipping experts will give you a personal consultation to set up shipping presets and rules that make sense for your product and store types so you’re set up for success.
Get started with your 30-day free trial and schedule an onboarding call with a specialist to see how much time you could be saving each day!