Online stores that sell and ship high-value items must give special consideration to order fulfillment. You have a lot to lose from shoddy logistics if you sell high-ticket products. Damage in transit and warehouse shrinkage can be significant expenses. And, when customers pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars to purchase a product, they expect a fabulous unboxing experience.
Here are tips on the best way to ship high-value items.
Shipping high-value items
High-value items require a higher level of care during transport because any damage or loss comes with a much higher cost. Goods that often require special handling include:
- Electronics: Not just computers, phones, and tablets, but the many intelligent devices we now have in our homes, including smart assistants, appliances, and security systems, need special care for shipping high-value items.
- Artwork: Paintings, prints, sculptures, and other works of art can be valued in the thousands or millions of dollars and may also be fragile.
- Precious metals and stones: Jewelry items may be small and easy to pack and ship, but shipping valuable items that contain gemstones and precious metals requires skill, knowledge, and careful tracking to ensure the shipment arrives safely at its destination.
- Oversized products: You can sell almost anything online, and that means shipping products that are big in every dimension. Mattresses, furniture, bikes, and major appliances can all ship from the fulfillment warehouse directly to the consumer, but these big-ticket purchases need extra protection during order handling.
- Luxury items: Premium products in any market sector need premium fulfillment. When shipping expensive perfume, you need more care (and shipping insurance) than you would when shipping a mass-market product.
If your product line includes high-value items, choosing your 3PL partner with care is critical. The right partner can save you money on shipping and improve customer satisfaction, but a poor fulfillment match can create a significant drag on your profits and your business growth.
Characteristics of the ideal 3PL to ship high-value items
There are several processes that 3PL service providers can implement to support shipping high-value items. Here are some ways an ideal 3PL for shipping high-value items operates.
Meticulous receiving processes
The first point of risk for products with high monetary value is in transit from the manufacturer to the eCommerce fulfillment warehouse. Particularly with larger items, they may be shipped in floor-loaded containers rather than being palletized. Floor loading is a crucial shipping option, but it’s harder to unload and does less to insure against damage. In addition, shipments may have many touchpoints, such as transfer from a floor-loaded container to pallets and then loaded onto a truck for domestic freight shipping.
Your 3PL’s receiving process can come to your aid and save you money by identifying the source of damage before goods get put away in the warehouse. For example, the Red Stag Fulfillment receiving process involves careful examination of each incoming shipment to make sure it contains the correct quantities of each SKU to document any damage that occurred during shipping.
Damage documentation at receiving will help you take a claim to your freight forwarder and receive a shipping insurance payout. In addition, finding the error early rather than making a stock correction after orders have come in helps keep your customers happy. You have more time to reorder the missing stock to ensure that you have goods on hand to meet demand. And you maintain consumer trust because you avoid the customer experience of paying a hefty sum for an expensive product only to find out it’s backordered or must be refunded because the item is out of stock.
Low shrinkage rates
Shrinkage is a problem for any eCommerce company, but it’s a particularly fraught issue for companies that ship high-value items. Let’s look at two examples to see the disparate impact.
The first product is a simple glass vase that retails for $50. The shrinkage rate is 1%, so one out of every 100 vases goes missing.
The second product is a crystal vase that retails for $300 with the same 1% shrinkage rate.
In each case, you’ll need to sell 10 vases for each one that breaks to make up for the loss from the missing inventory. That’s an extra $500 worth of stock for the glass vase and an additional $3,000 for the crystal vase.
If your company sells products of high monetary value, shrinkage is a cost you can’t afford. You need a 3PL with 24/7 security, well-trained warehouse staffers, and processes for putaway and pick and pack fulfillment that protect high-value merchandise. The result: Red Stag Fulfillment had a 99.991% inventory accuracy rate in 2021. Online retailers that ship high-value items need nothing less.
Packing options to safeguard your products
The next place where damage can occur is during shipping to the end customer. While the carrier takes responsibility for handling during this step in the supply chain, your 3PL can reduce the chances of damage during delivery.
For instance, Red Stag Fulfillment offers packaging and infill options to protect heavy and high-value goods. We work with each client during onboarding to find the best way to pack and ship their merchandise. In some cases, clients run a packing test in our warehouse. Plus, we can ship test orders to see how the items arrive before sending them to customers.
Excellent brand presentation
Online shoppers who buy premium goods expect a brand presentation to match. Many fulfillment centers offer packing and shipping services. However, only superior providers have extra services, such as kitting, to take your presentation up a notch. Your customers expect and deserve a delightful unboxing experience, and you can give it to them with custom tape, custom inserts, and special handling during the packing process.
Red Stag Fulfillment has a kitting and special projects department that focuses on making your shipments memorable for your customers and delivering the premium experience they expect.
Above-average operational performance
Another expectation when customers purchase high-value goods is above-average fulfillment. When customers spend hundreds of dollars on a product, they don’t want long waits to receive their orders, and they don’t want to get the wrong item and have to ship it back.
Red Stag Fulfillment offers same-day fulfillment services. When customers see the shipping notice the same day that they placed the order, it gives them confidence in your brand. In 2021, we shipped 99.965% of orders on time with a 99.976% order accuracy rate.
Best shipping carrier for high-value items
The best shipping carrier will have insurance options to cover your most expensive SKU without exceeding its maximum value for coverage. You might need to purchase shipping insurance separately for shipments valued over $50,000.
USPS offers more limited shipping insurance than FedEx and UPS, so it’s not the best carrier choice for expensive goods. Here’s a comparison of FedEx and UPS insurance options.
Maximum declared value
Stating a declared value for a parcel does not mean it’s insured. Both FedEx and UPS automatically insure all packages for up to $100. If you’re shipping a high-value item, you’ll need to pay extra for additional insurance above $100.
If you’re shipping a high-value item, you probably want the carrier to get a signature rather than leaving it outside someone’s home. However, if your customers value signature-free package drop-off, note that FedEx requires a signature on all parcels with a declared value of $500 or more; for UPS, it’s over $1,000.
Shipping insurance limits: FedEx
You can insure a FedEx package for up to $50,000 if you ship via one of the carrier’s overnight, 2-day, or 3-day services. FedEx Ground’s limit is $2,000, with some specific items limited to $1,000.
FedEx has a high-value jewelry program that offers insurance limits of $100,000 for domestic parcels and $25,000 for some international shipments. Only shippers with a FedEx account can use this program, and it only covers jewelry, gemstones, pearls, and precious metals.
Shipping insurance limits: UPS
Insurance limits for UPS depend not on the service but on how you ship. If you have a UPS account or ship from a UPS Store, you can insure a package for up to $50,000. Plus, UPS Capital offers additional insurance options above this amount.
Packages shipped via the internet with a credit card are eligible for shipping insurance of up to $5,000. Shipping via a third party or dropping at a dropbox lowers the maximum value you can insure a package for.
If you ship parcels with values under $1,000, either UPS or FedEx is an excellent high-value carrier. But if your orders sometimes top $1,000, UPS is the best carrier for high-value items.
Handling shipping insurance and claims for high-value merchandise
Getting shipping insurance is only half the battle — if a parcel gets damaged or goes missing, you must pursue a claim to get paid for the loss. Fortunately, Red Stag Fulfillment has a solution for that headache, too. When you ship on our carrier accounts, our client support team follows up on insurance claims, so you don’t have to. Because we have full camera coverage of all areas of our warehouse, we’re in an excellent position to prove that the damage occurred after a package was handed off to the carrier. And we have a solid record of successful shipping insurance claims.
As a bonus, we also negotiate favorable shipping rates and pass those discounts on to our clients.
The best fulfillment company for shipping high-value products
The best fulfillment company to ship high-value items is one that provides premium services, high security, and robust client support. Red Stag Fulfillment offers top-tier logistics to all our clients, no matter the value of your products. But we ship many high-value items and provide exceptional value to companies that ship high-value items by reducing inventory loss and enhancing customer experience. Are you ready to experience the Red Stag Fulfillment difference?
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