Magento is a leading e-commerce platform that helps retailers across all industries to innovate and grow their businesses. Magento offers solutions in diverse categories ranging from marketing, customer service, accounting, finance to shipping and fulfillment. Having the right shipping methods and providers is one of the most important things that can make your business run smoother. Some features on Magento are free of charge and some are developed by 3rd parties as paid plugins, many of them are available on Magento Marketplace.
Navigating around Magento Marketplace is fairly easy if you know what your e-commerce needs. Magento offers a wide range of shipping features, offering different functionalities, varying in price, version, and edition. We have created the list of the top 3 most must-have features every e-commerce that ships physical products should own in 2021. Here is the list:
Smart Packaging is one of the newest shipping trends becoming more and more popular in 2021. Smart Packaging picks the most optimal packaging for each order based on product dimensions. The algorithm automatically and optimally pre-packs an order getting real-time shipping rates from the major carriers (UPS, USPS, FedEx, and more), using the dimensions of the selected packages.
The main objective of the smart packaging feature is to help increase the accuracy of shipping rates displayed at the checkout and therefore make shipping cost-effective, for both retailer and customer.
Advantages of Smart Packaging Feature
1. Decrease Shipping Cost
Smart packaging helps reduce shipping costs charged by carriers a lot. Small products shipped in a bigger box than necessary, cost more because the parameters of the box are larger and the package takes up too much space in the vehicle. Thus, the carrier can not take on more products in the same vehicle and divide the costs more efficiently. It makes sense that the carriers are forced to charge more for the larger packages.
2. Environmental Impact
Using smart packaging algorithms will save space and reduce the waste coming from all the packaging materials. Likewise, smart packaging will help you save money on transportation by avoiding shipping of inefficiently packaged orders. Smart Packaging makes shipping eco-friendly, cost-effective, and reduces the harmful impact on the environment.
3. Real-Time Shipping Rates
The accuracy of the shipping rates increases with all the additional information we can provide about the package. The more accurate shipping rates we can provide the carrier with the more cost-effective the shipping will be. By doing so, we avoid shipping empty air in the unnecessary oversized package. Let’s deep dive into the accuracy of real-time shipping rates a little bit more.
Shipping a package based only on weight parameters itself is very inefficient and costly. In this case, the accuracy of shipping rates is very low. Shipping rate accuracy increases with the calculated dimensional weight. However, this is still not 100 percent accurate. The highest accuracy of shipping rates is only achieved if you provide the carrier with the actual package dimensions (length x width x height) and its weight. Only this way, you can obtain the highest accuracy of your shipping rates.
landed cost is the sum of all costs it takes the retailer to send a shipment from the manufacturer to its final destination, to the end customer. Landed cost is generally associated with international shipping, also because of all the costs which are associated with getting a package across the borders. Landed cost encompasses shipment costs, insurance fees, taxes, and customs duties. Accounting for every cost directly influences your profit margins. If you miscalculate how much it will cost you to ship merchandise internationally, you can lose lots of money.
Advantages of Landed Cost feature
1. Customer Experience
No customer wants to be surprised with unexpected extra costs upon receiving an order from abroad. Failure to display landed costs at the checkout can result in a bad customer experience and poor feedback when the order is fulfilled. As a retailer, you need to make sure to display all the necessary information. Take advantage of the shipping solution on Magento and show or hide applicable taxes and duties at checkout for your customers.
2. Cost per Item
Landed cost accounts for profit made per each shipped item. Knowing how much cost is needed for manufacturing, packaging, and shipping of a single item gives the retailer an accurate idea of how to set up margins for each product. Moreover, it also accounts for where savings can be made to optimize the whole shipping process.
3. Custom Attributes Support
With some shipping software that supports the landed cost feature like Calcurates, you can assign custom product attributes like tariff codes, country of origin, and product descriptions for more flexibility when shipping abroad.
Rate shopping is a comparison of shipping rates between shipping carriers or their services only. Rate shopping can for example deal only with the comparison of carrier services like FedEx ground vs UPS ground shipping. Comparing rates from different carriers can save you lots of money on shipping. However rate shopping is very time-consuming, thus it is recommended to use a shipping calculator that obtains real-time rates from the major carriers automatically for you.
Advantages of Rate Shopping feature
1. Decrease of Abandonment Rate
Higher shipping costs discourage customers from finalizing their online orders which oftentimes leads to high cart abandonment. A higher abandonment rate directly correlates with lower sales and a higher bounce rate. This is something that any retailer should avoid at any cost. Rate shopping allows the retailer to display only the most cost-effective and convenient shipping rates. Resulting in a very user-friendly checkout experience and decreased abandonment rate.
2. High Conversion Rate
As mentioned in the section above, these two metric correlates with each other significantly. If the abandonment rate is decreased by offering a more convenient shipping option, the conversion rate increases. This is natural as more people will proceed with their online orders if they don’t have to pay high shipping costs.
3. Removes unnecessary shipping options
The last advantage of rate shopping is that the feature supports a diverse product portfolio. This is great for retailers who have products of different sizes and weights, shipped across the whole world. Rate shopping enables retailers to remove those shipping options that are unnecessary and display only those suitable like domestic shipping rates, international shipping rates, or certain shipping services only. Rate shopping saves lots of time by obtaining real-time rates from carriers automatically.
There are very few shipping extensions and solutions available for Magento store owners that offer important and trending features like Smart Packaging, Landed Cost, and Rate Shopping. Naturally, there are other important features that can help you with the whole shipping process. Additional features such as Shipping Rules and Restrictions, Dimensional Weight, In-Store Pickup, Shipping Zones, Table Rates, and more are equally very useful and simplify the whole shipping process a lot. However, in the case of extensions, it is important for the retailer to realize that having an all-in-one shipping solution offering these features together is more cost-effective and optimal than buying all the features separately. Features bought separately can have compatibility issues, and are subject to constant Magento updates. Calcurates ultimate shipping solution offers all of the above-mentioned features within a solid interface and seamlessly integrates with Magento.