If you are an ecommerce brand with high-value goods, finding a premium shipping service is very important.
High-value goods may require more attention for a few reasons:
- Customers expect premium packaging, service, and unboxing experience—you want services that match the premium price of your product
- High-value goods are high-cost and purchased infrequently, so there is less margin for error to make a good impression on customers
- Products might need specialty packaging, either because they are fragile, sensitive, or odd shaped
Brands with premium products need to seek out partners with experience managing high-value goods. The service that your supply chain partners provide needs to match the value of your products and tone of your branding.
Here are some things to consider when shipping high-value items.
What are Premium Fulfillment Services?
Before you even choose a shipping service, you’ll need a premium fulfillment service. These are the people who will be packaging your products up.
Every brand who outsources fulfillment knows that not all fulfillment providers are created equal—while some are great at consumer-packaged goods, others have the infrastructure to support luxury items and high-value electronics.
There are specific things to look for when vetting a prospective fulfillment partner (also known as a 3PL or third-party logistics provider). Here are the top services a fulfillment provider should have to support high-value goods.
How your products are treated from the moment they arrive at a warehouse is very important when they are of high value. Every ecommerce brand knows about shrinkage, but a brand with expensive products is more attuned to the ways shrinkage can affect their bottom line. If your 3PL’s receiving department is losing products, or damaging them, that’s going to be a big problem for your inventory levels.
A fulfillment provider’s warehouse should be optimized for maximum efficiency. This means using the most updated technology to track and manage inventory. When you tour a prospective warehouse, make sure it looks clean and organized. A warehouse that is too full, or not organized, might lead to lost or damaged goods, which you’ll be paying for ultimately.
Some 3PLs adhere to operational industry standards. ISO certification, for example, is an internationally recognized standard that many manufacturers and warehouses achieve.
Whether you need specialty packaging for maximum security and protection, or just for branded flair, be sure to work with a 3PL who can support this. Not all fulfillment providers are willing to customize your packages to meet your needs.
Premium Brand Presentation
There are many value-added services that a 3PL can provide. For example, custom gift messages, or adding inserts to packages. Premium products need to be met with premium branding and presentation. If your customers are paying a lot, they’ll be expecting a lot. Be sure your fulfillment provider’s systems (whether automated or not) work with your branded materials and present your product exactly as you want it.
White-Glove Service in all Departments
If you hire a 3PL to manage your high-value goods, you should expect that you’ll also get high-value service. Your 3PL should be giving your white-glove service across all departments—this includes their responsiveness to you, speed with resolving issues, any customer-facing communication or service they provide (return tracking, as an example).
If your fulfillment provider is interacting with your other supply chain partners, they should also be representing your brand in a positive light. Be sure the way they communicate is in service of your premium branding.
How to Choose a Shipping Service for High-Value Products
Once you figure out how your products are being packaged, you’ll need to choose a carrier to transport your goods to your customers. The carrier you hire, and the shipping services you choose are very important. Not just any carrier will do when you have high-value products. Here are the top things to consider when selecting your carrier and shipping service.
Many high-priced items are also fragile. If your packages need additional handling, take into consideration that you’ll need a carrier who offers this specialty service. Additional handling comes with a higher cost and can be subjected to more surcharges.
If your goods are highly coveted and in branded boxes, there’s a high likelihood that they’re susceptible to being stolen. Using a signature required service ensures they’ll get to the end customer. This service also comes at a higher cost and can be subjected to more surcharges.
If you are worried about damage to your products in transit, consider getting shipping insurance. This is provided by the carrier and will help offset any shrinkage you see during shipping. Be sure to check your carrier’s claims ratio— If it is above 1%, that’s a red flag and you should look elsewhere for shipping service.
Watch for Increased Surcharges
Specialty shipping services do come with a higher cost. While they may be necessary, watch for surcharges that are added to your services. Read the fine print when you sign on to a service, there may be additional surcharges that you didn’t anticipate.
How the Right Packaging Can Save Overall Costs
If you ship high-value goods, chances are you pay premium prices for shipping services (like additional handling or signature required, as mentioned above). The way your products are packaged has a lot to do with the final shipping cost you’ll incur. Here are two of the biggest ways you can change your packaging to lower overall costs.
- Right size your boxes. Any additional space in your packaging will increase the DIM of your packages. Shipping costs aren’t just calculated by weight, most carriers use a volumetric measurement called DIM (or dimensional weight). Any extra
- Eliminate overpack. If you have very fragile products, you know how important overpack is—it’s the filler material that protects your products from damage in transit. There are many types of overpack. Anything too heavy will increase your shipping costs, so finding the lightest, leanest materials that will be the best for both your products and your budget.
If you work with a good 3PL, ask them if they’ll help you re-kit your products. This means they will help you optimize how your products are packaged specifically to lower your overall shipping costs.
At DCL Logistics we offer customized fulfillment solutions for high-growth brands. Value added services is something we’re great at, including kitting, assembly, and postponement work. If you’re looking for a modern 3PL to help improve your fulfillment strategy, to include any of our services, reach out and send us a note. We’d love to hear from you.