The Shipping Process for Online Stores: What you need to know

by Carolina Engl – 7 Min. read time
last updated 08/11/2023

An online shop with selected products and a secure payment system is no longer enough to be successful in e-commerce. Competition is on the rise and with it, the demands of buyers. Above all, efficient and seamless shipping plays a central role in online shops. In this article, you will find out what needs to be considered in the last mile.

We will show you why an efficient shipping process is essential and what tips you can use to make it a success. 

Verschiedene Pakete für die Versandabwicklung eines Onlineshops

What e-commerce customers want

Online retail is booming, and shoppers have become more demanding in recent years. To survive in the growing e-commerce market, online shops need to offer not only the right products, but prevent shopping cart abandonments. Data also shows the importance of the latter: Almost 70 percent of shoppers abandon a purchase on average. By preventing shopping cart abandonments, shops can secure important revenue. This only works by knowing the reasons for shopping cart abandonments. And that’s where a comprehensive shipping service comes into play.

Among the most common reasons for a cart abandonments are:

  • High shipping costs
  • Long delivery times
  • Return shipping costs
  • Time-consuming returns process

The shipping options offered therefore have a major impact on whether shoppers give a webshop a chance.

What e-commerce customers want

First impressions count – and the same goes for the shipping process of online shops. To achieve long-term success as an e-commerce business, it is important to convince customers from the very first purchase and thus increase the likelihood of repeat purchases. After all, a positive shopping experience usually leads to repeat purchases.

Shoppers value fast, cost-effective delivery and the ability to return shipments free of charge. Tracking capabilities is also ranked among the most important criteria.

The following chart shows what customers value most, according to the Global Consumer Survey conducted in the UK in 2021:

Grafik, auf der man die Anforderungen an die Paketdienstleister sieht - das erwarten die Kund:innen

This is what customers expect from an online store’s shipping process.

The following goals are therefore at the forefront of a successful shipping process:

  • Cost efficiency
  • A positive customer experience
  • Eco-friendliness

Successfully managing the shipping process: Here's how it works

Now that you know what’s important for an online store’s shipping process, the next step is to implement it. Here are some tips to help you streamline your shipping process and deliver an exceptional

Customized packaging

E-commerce competition never sleeps. This makes it increasingly important to stand out from the crowd. To make a lasting impression on shoppers, it pays to customize your packaging. Instead of brown boxes, the packaging can be personalized with your logo, for example. This can also reinforce your brand identity. 

When designing packaging, it is also important to keep the customer experience in mind. Packaging should be of high quality and easy to open. Many customers also value sustainable packaging materials. If you keep these points in mind, you can score points with a unique unboxing experience.

Multi-carrier shipping

Customers want the fastest, most reliable shipping possible. This is where multi-carrier solutions come in. Shipping with different parcel services offers maximum flexibility and reduces the risk of delivery bottlenecks. For example, if one carrier experiences technical problems or other outages, you can switch to an alternative. Plus, you increase customer satisfaction by letting them choose their preferred shipping provider.

Detailed tracking

After placing an order, shoppers want to know the status of their shipment. A variety of Track and Trace options allow you to track a shipment at any time. Not only does this contribute to a positive customer experience, but it also reduces the number of package status inquiries, freeing up customer service resources. 

Smartphone, das das Tracking eines Pakets zeigt

Customers want to be able to check the status of their package at any time. This is where Track and Trace solutions come in.

Customized tracking pages and emails not only improve the Post-Purchase Experience, but also offer the added benefit of being able to leverage additional offers to increase the repurchase rate.

Smooth returns

Returns management also plays an important role in the mail order process. On the one hand, an uncomplicated returns process is an important decision-making aid for customers and increases their willingness to buy. On the other hand, smooth returns and fast refunds/exchanges ensure a positive shopping experience and increase the likelihood of repeat purchases.

Proactive communication

Proactively communicate with shoppers and keep them informed of status changes. Whether it’s verifying correct addresses, sending tracking emails, or notifying them of shipping issues, automated processes help you stay in touch with your customers. This contributes to long-term customer loyalty and successful branding.

Find the right shipping method for your business

A successful shipping process requires resources. Not every business has the time or staff to consider the tips above. For this reason, it is important to determine the right shipping process for your online store in advance. The most common methods of handling shipping in shipping methods include:

  • Handling shipping inhouse: Online stores handle shipping themselves, taking care of warehousing, packing, shipping, and returns management.
  • Cooperation with shipping partners: Shipping is outsourced to a carrier. The retailer continues to store, pick, and pack the items. 
  • Fulfillment: The entire logistics process is outsourced to an external service provider who ensures the efficient handling of all steps.
  • Dropshipping: Again, the entire logistics process is outsourced. The big difference is that the goods do not belong to the online shop, but to the partner company. 

Tip: Learn more about the different shipping methods in our guide to e-commerce logistics.

Which solution is right for you depends on a number of factors, such as the size of your business, the cost of investment, and the potential impact on your logistics process. Established online stores with high order volumes in particular benefit from the advantages of e-fulfillment.

Parcels on a conveyor belt

Which fulfillment solution is right for your business depends on several factors.

Modern fulfillment providers like Alaiko not only take care of the entire order processing, but also support you in optimizing your shipping processes. Alaiko offers individual service packages that are tailored to your needs. In addition to fast shipping and smooth returns, you can provide a personalized customer experience and score points with special service offerings such as individual shipping options or integrated shipment tracking.

Find out more about Alaiko as a fulfillment service provider!

Shipping made easy for online stores

Smooth shipping is essential to customer retention. Integrated tracking, proactive communication, and hassle-free returns should be an integral part of your shipping process. Only by understanding and addressing your customers’ needs can you create a superior last mile shopping experience.


How does shipping in e-commerce work?

After an order is received in the online store, the appropriate items are assembled and packed in the warehouse. The package is then handed over to the carrier of your choice and makes its way to the recipient.

What should online stores be aware of when handling shipping?

To handle shipping successfully and provide shoppers with a memorable experience, custom packaging design, multi-carrier shipping, tracking solutions, and proactive communication should be integrated into the process. 

Which shipping service providers are there?

There are several shipping service providers that offer different services. Notable ones include DHL, FedEx, Royal Mail.

The cover image is from insta_photos on, the other images are from DenPhoto and alphaspirit (also

Carolina Engl
Content Marketing Manager

Alaiko Posts