Merchant Best Practices for Apparel Shipping

Merchant Best Practices for Apparel Shipping

When it comes to online retail, there is a heavy market demand for various fashion products. In 2023 alone, eCommerce revenues from apparel and accessories sales in the United States amounted to 134.5 billion USD. As a demanding and lucrative market, understanding proper apparel shipping procedures is vital.

Shipping apparel to customers efficiently and effectively is a crucial aspect of running a successful online retail business. From managing inventory to selecting the right shipping methods, merchants need to implement best practices to ensure customer satisfaction and business growth. At ePost Global, we specialize in international and domestic shipping. So, whether you’re shipping apparel locally or across the globe, we know the best shipping procedures and methods to get your items there safely, efficiently, and on time. 

In this blog, we’ll explore key strategies and tips for apparel shipping that can help merchants streamline their operations and enhance the overall shopping experience for their customers.

Understanding Apparel Shipping Needs: Best Practices for Optimal Transportation 

Shipping apparel, whether domestically or internationally, is no easy feat. In fact, the average return rate is 30%, potentially higher during holiday seasons. While businesses can do what they can to optimize their online shopping experience, such as listing accurate sizes, featuring quality pictures, and displaying customer reviews and feedback, it’s up to the people behind the scenes to ensure every item is shipped with the utmost care to prevent returns and ensure the customer receives their items swiftly. 

Check out our seven best practices for clothing shipments: 

1. Consider Package Size and Damage Prevention

Accurate size and weight measurements are essential for calculating shipping costs and selecting the appropriate shipping method. When packaging delicate fabrics and high-end clothing items, merchants must prioritize protective packaging to prevent damage during transit. 

Consider utilizing poly mailers, tissue paper, garment bags, plastic bags, and bubble wrap to help safeguard delicate materials from wrinkles, tears, and other forms of damage and provide extra cushioning. Be sure to select the right-size cardboard box to leave enough room for clothes to fit properly without arriving wrinkled. Branded packaging can also enhance the unboxing experience, reinforcing your brand identity while leaving a lasting impression on the customer. 

2. Implement Efficient Processes for Managing Returns

Returns are arguably the biggest hassle for online merchants. The return and exchange process presents unique challenges, like emailing return shipping labels, arranging pick up and drop off, and ensuring the customer either receives a replacement item or their money back quickly on their credit card without errors. 

As a result, merchants must implement efficient processes and clear policies to ensure a smooth process. Providing hassle-free return options, including prepaid return labels and flexible return windows, can enhance customer satisfaction and encourage repeat purchases. It’s also crucial to clearly communicate shipping policies, including shipping rates, delivery times, and return policies, on your website.

3. Adhere to Country-Specific Laws and Regulations 

If you’re shipping internationally, a host of challenges could arise. For example, clearing customs involves ensuring each package is in accordance with the country you’re trying to enter. While most apparel is fairly easy to transport, it’s still important to familiarize yourself with that country’s regulations and requirements. For example,  leather is prohibited from travel to Bosnia, Belgium, and other locations across the globe. Further, merchants must consider factors like delayed travel times and whether the shipping partner chosen offers international tracking capabilities. Additionally, different countries observe different holidays that may result in post office closures and longer delivery times. 

4. Ensure Timely Delivery and Tracking 

Fast delivery and door-to-door tracking are paramount for customer satisfaction, as shoppers expect visibility into the shipping process and timely updates on their order status. This is especially true for apparel, as customers are often shopping online for a special event or gift. 

Consider Nancy, eagerly anticipating the arrival of her wedding dress she ordered online, only to find it damaged upon delivery. Faced with the stress of needing a replacement item urgently, she now has to put her trust in a company to ensure her dress arrives on time. By implementing robust contingency plans and offering comprehensive tracking services, merchants can effectively address concerns like Nancy’s, ensuring that customers feel supported and reassured, especially during significant life events like weddings.

5. Offer Various Shipping Options

When it comes to apparel shipping, the importance of swift and efficient shipping solutions can never be understated. Fast (but also correct) shipping holds extreme value not only for your business but also for your customers. Today’s online shoppers expect online orders in as little as two days. Fast shipping also keeps your supply chain steady to keep up with the supply and demand of your online orders. 

If you’re operating as an eCommerce apparel merchant, consider offering a range of shipping options. While some customers want their items fast, others may prefer to opt for a more cost-efficient choice to save on their overall total.  

Standard shipping: Typically the most cost-effective option that offers a longer delivery time of anywhere from 6-10 business days for most providers. 

Premium shipping:  Provides faster delivery for customers willing to pay a premium.

Expedited shipping: One of the fastest options with an anticipated delivery time of 1-2 days. May also be known as first class shipping and a very popular option for shipping clothes. 

Additionally, some merchants offer free shipping promotions to incentivize purchases, further enhancing the customer experience. It’s also important to ensure your partner offers international shipping options to explore should your business venture into new global territories. 

6. Factor in Cost 

Cost is a primary consideration, as merchants aim to balance shipping expenses with competitive pricing for customers. However, the cheapest way is not always the best option for business. To save costs, consider flat-rate shipping if your apparel is of the same size and has similar shipping requirements. Flat-rate shipping does not consider the size, weight, or dimensions of a package. The shipping rate is calculated at a set rate. Merchants can also vet multiple providers to see who can offer the best price that works for their budget and timeline. 

7. Choose a Reliable Shipping Partner 

Merchants must consider a partner that will work with them side-by-side during every shipping endeavor, whether their business remains local or expands their offerings globally. Prioritizing carriers known for on-time delivery and minimal shipping errors is an essential first step. Consider reading reviews to better vet different providers. Further, ensure they have established international shipping policies. These will include knowledge of customs clearance, various restricted or prohibited items that pertain to different countries, and how to package and track items traveling thousands of miles away. By evaluating these factors, apparel merchants can select the shipping provider best suited to their business needs and customer expectations.

Shipping With ePost Global

At ePost Global, we prioritize your eCommerce needs to provide an unparalleled apparel shipping experience. With our extensive knowledge of local and international regulations and shipping procedures, you can confidently ship within the U.S. or to destinations like Canada, Mexico, Australia, and beyond. 

Our primary goal is to ensure a seamless and stress-free shipping process, from the moment you engage with us to the safe arrival of your shipments. From hoodies and T-shirts to shoes and higher-end items, our shippers know the precise way to ship your goods with the utmost care, while adhering to proper labeling policies, so we never misplace a package in transit. 

We offer cutting-edge technology solutions that allow customers to track their packages in near real-time, promoting transparency and reliability throughout the shipping journey. While speed is essential, we prioritize quality over quantity, ensuring that each delivery is handled with care and efficiency, unlike traditional providers.

Recognizing the unique shipping requirements of every business, we provide a range of flexible shipping solutions tailored to your needs. Whether you require Expedited Parcel, Priority Parcel with Delivery Confirmation, ePacket, or USPS Priority Mail, we offer transparent costs, adaptable delivery schedules, competitive rates, and expertise in international customs forms.

When striving to meet the high expectations for your retail company, rest assured that your shipments will arrive on time, supported by a team of experts ready to address any challenges that may arise along the way.

Apparel Shipping Done Right 

Implementing best practices for apparel shipping is essential for online merchants to ensure smooth order fulfillment and customer satisfaction. By focusing on quality packaging, damage prevention, and transparent shipping policies, merchants can optimize their shipping operations and create a positive shopping experience for their customers. 

If you’re looking for the best way to ship clothes, contact us! Our shipping services provide apparel shipping strategies and FAQs, the best ways to package clothes, and will ensure your items arrive safely and on time. 

Ship packages with ePost Global today! 

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