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Here it is, the thrilling conclusion to my series on e-commerce. We’ve covered a lot of ground already. Everything from the process of buying something online, to what’s happening under the surface, SECURITY, then taxes and payment processing. With the addition of today’s topic, shipping and inventory management, we’ll have a full overview of what you need to know to sell online.

Solutions to Common Concerns: Shipping and Inventory Management

Once someone successfully purchases a product from your website you need to get it to them. If you are selling physical products you’ll want to have a clear plan for shipping in place when you launch your online store. A good shipping setup can make the difference between turning a profit or not. It can also help keep your customers happy, which might be even more important.

Those boxes are for shipping


  • Do you like who you use now?
    • For example, have you been using USPS? Does it work well for you? Stick with them.
    • Build your website to suit your shipping, not the other way around
  • Or compare rates
    • Need a new shipping service? See who works best for you.
      • USPS, UPS and FedEx are the big 3 in the USA
        • You can compare rates on their websites
      • Try shipping a few actual products with them first
        • This will give you a feel for their customer service and provide some real dollar amounts
    • Make sure your platform syncs with the shipper
  • Form a relationship with your shipper
    • Having a personal contact at a shipping company can open a lot of doors (and discounts)
  • Leverage what your platform offers
    • Discounted rates
    • Streamlined setup procedures
    • Who can your website make it easier for you to ship to?

Inventory Management (don’t oversell!)

  • Basic
    • Out of the box, built in to platform
      • Most applications can keep count if you enter a starting number
      • Your website should only allow as many products to be sold as you have told it to
    • Expanding plugin
      • Maybe your products can be sold in parts OR all together?
      • Be sure you always have enough parts if someone orders a whole
  • Advanced
    • Addon to integrate with common systems
      • Is a 3rd party going to fulfill your shipping?
      • Do you need to sync with a warehouse? Are you selling the same products in person as well?
        • Square is a fairly simple system for syncing online and in person sales
    • API to connect with custom system
      • Maybe you are selling your products through multiple online stores at the same time
      • Or you are still using an Excel spreadsheet to track your inventory for some reason
      • You might need something custom to make your life easier

Ok, that’s it, we’ve covered every single thing you might want to know about e-commerce ever. NOT! I do think we’ve covered the most important parts though. What do you think? Is there something we forgot? Please let me know. Or just say “Hi!”. I hope you have a great Summer, or at least get to enjoy some fresh corn on the cob in the sun.