The success of any online store depends on its ability to deliver its products successfully. Every customer wants his/her shipment to reach them on time and in a safe condition. But the smooth delivery of any product depends upon the correct shipping details. Without a valid shipping address, the parcel won’t reach the customer.
For smooth order fulfillment, you must know how to collect your customers’ shipping addresses properly. We have made a list of a few things you must take care of while shipping your items to the US/UK. Check out how you can ensure smooth deliveries using correct shipping details and carriers.
Table of Contents
- How to Format Your Shipping Address and Why It’s Important
- Shipping Address vs. Billing Address
- What Shipping Carriers Are There?
- Examples of Good UI Designs For Handing Billing & Shipping Addresses
- How to Handle Credit Card Issues When Shipping and Billing Addresses Are Different
- What to do if a Customer Provides the Wrong Shipping Address
- How to Overcome Common Shipping Issues
How to Format Your Shipping Address and Why It’s Important
The shipping address is the physical location of parcel delivery. A correct shipping address is essential to deliver the items to the right place and on time. Without a valid shipping address, the package might not reach the destination. For the smooth working of an eCommerce store, it is necessary to provide accurate shipping details.
Here is a full shipping address example:
- Contact Person’s Name,
- Street No./Name,
- Apartment Number or Suite Number (if applicable)
- City & State
- Zip Code
- Contact Person’s Mobile Number
Without a correct and valid shipping address, a store cannot fulfill orders. Also, the shipping charges and shipping carrier depend upon the shipping details. If you don’t provide the correct shipping details, an online store won’t calculate the proper shipping amount.
Shipping amount relies on the size of the package, its delivery location, zip code, etc. Not one type of shipping works for all places. Thus correct shipping details are necessary to assign the shipment to the best courier company.
Shipping Address vs. Billing Address
The shipping address can be the same or different from the billing address. The billing address is the address on file for the payment method you use to place the order. The billing address must exactly match your payment method or card details to ensure that the sale is genuine. In case of mismatched billing details, the card/bank will deny the transaction.
In most cases, the shipping and billing address will be the same. But in some cases, the shipping and billing address can differ. Common examples include:
- In the case of gifting. When you order something for someone else, then the billing address can be yours, and the shipping address will be for the recipient.
- When you order something from your company’s card for your home or another location.
For online ordering, you have no other option but to provide both billing and shipping addresses.
What Shipping Carriers Are There?
Trackable shipping carriers are the most reliable as they allow you to track your shipment from its origin to its destination. Some famous national shipping carriers with trackable shipping in the US are:
- United States Postal Service (USPS)
Let’s take a closer look at the services offered by these carriers.
USPS is one of the leading and most used shipping carriers in the US due to its affordable pricing. It is an independent federal agency that offers various shipping options. USPS deals in both domestic and international shipments. It is a top shipping option for those who want to ship small and lightweight parcels at cheap rates. Here is a quick brief of some of its prominent shipping options:
USPS domestic shipping options
- USPS Retail Ground: Delivers within 2-8 business days
- First Class Mail: Delivers within 1-3 business days
- Media Mail: Delivers within 2-8 business days
- Priority Mail: Delivers within 1-3 business days
- Priority Mail Express: Delivers from overnight to 2 days
USPS International shipping options
Apart from domestic shipping, USPS also offers International Shipping options. Here are some of its international shipping options:
- Global Express Guaranteed: take 1-3 working days
- Priority Mail: take 6-10 working days
- Priority Mail Express: take 3-5 working days
- First-Class Package, First-Class Mail, Airmail M Bags: Delivery time depends on the destination
USPS other services
USPS is not only known for its domestic and international shipping options. It also provides many other services like:
- Free Shipping Insurance- Up to $100 on Priority Mail Express and $50 on priority mail.
- Free Shipment Pickups
- Ship to Military option via APO, FPO, DPO
- Tracking Service
- Custom Stamps, Mails, and Envelopes
- Return Receipts
- Purchase Money Orders
USPS Shipping Rates
USPS shipping rates depend on package size, dimension, and shipping location. There are two kinds of shipping rates available in the USPS: “retail rates” and “discounted” rates.
The typical retail rates remain the same for all users and vary according to package size and destination. While the discounted rates are less than retail rates. To access discounted rates, you can buy postage online through stamps.com or ShippingEasy.
By accessing discounted rates, you can save up to 46% on retail rates. To check the shipping rates of various USPS shipping methods, you can refer to their official website. USPS offers much lower prices for packages under 13 ounces. So if you want to ship packages under 13 ounces, you should send them with USPS.
You can also take advantage of USPS’s flat-rate option via priority mail. Under the Flat Rate option, you can ship any parcel of any weight at any location at one flat rate. For that, the package must fit into flat-rate boxes only.
Like many other shipping carriers, USPS also has its pros and cons, which you must keep in mind before opting.
Pros of USPS:
- Offers low and economical prices for small packages
- Delivers package along with the customers’ daily mail. Also, it delivers to mailboxes and PO Boxes.
- USPS has improved its tracking and shipping services over time.
Cons of USPS:
- Although USPS’s tracking services have improved over time, it is still not as transparent as other carriers.
- Customer support is not that great in case of missing packages.
There are many locations where you cannot ship the parcel via UPS or USPS. At such places, FedEx is the most convenient shipping carrier to choose from. FedEx is almost the same as UPS in terms of quality and reliability. But unlike UPS, FedEx offers Saturday delivery. Like other shipping carriers, FedEx also offers both domestic and international shipping. Here is a quick brief of its primary shipping methods:
FedEx Domestic Shipping Options
- FedEx Ground: Takes within 1-7 business days
- FedEx Express Saver: Takes 3 business days
- FedEx 2 Day: Takes 2 business days
- FedEx Standard Overnight: Delivers next business day
- FedEx Priority Overnight: Delivers mid-morning next business day
- FedEx First Overnight: Delivers morning next business day
FedEx International Shipping Options
- FedEx International Ground: Takes 2-7 business days
- FedEx International Economy: Takes 2-5 business days
- FedEx International Priority: Takes 1-3 business days
- FedEx International First: Delivers early morning in 1-3 days
- FedEx Next Flight: Delivers ASAP- next flight
FedEx other services:
Apart from domestic and international shipping, FedEx also offers the following value-added services:
- Saturday Delivery (free for some)
- Scheduled Shipment Pickup
- Shipping Insurance
- Packing Services
- Free Express Packaging
- Signature Required Delivery
FedEx Shipping Rates
FedEx seems a little expensive for some parcels. But if you are looking for quality services, you can sign up for FedEx Personal or business account. By signing up, you can access reward programs and discounted rates on bulk shipments. FedEx ground service starts at $8.23. The shipping rate varies depending upon package size and shipping location. You can calculate the exact shipping rate and method using its rate calculator. The rate calculator is available on FedEx’s official website. To access more discounted rates and premium services, sign up for a business account.
Pros of FedEx:
- Speedy delivery
- Reliable tracking
- Discount and rewards on various services
- Saturday delivery available
- Ships to almost every location
Cons of FedEx:
- Prices are a little expensive for small packages
- No free package pickup
UPS (United Postal Service)
UPS is a significant and reliable shipping carrier in the US you can use for shipping parcels. UPS is known for its on-time shipping and comprehensive tracking system. Although, when compared to USPS, UPS is a little costly and only affordable for bulk shipments. UPS offers both domestic and international shipping. It includes:
- Ground Delivery
- Freight Transportation
- Air Shipments
- Express Shipments, etc.
Based on your requirements, shipping address, and delivery time, you can choose the shipping type. UPS offers various packages under its domestic, international, and express shipments. Here is the brief of some of its major plans:
UPS Domestic Shipping Options
- UPS Standard: takes 3+ days
- UPS Ground: takes 1-5 days. The service cost starts at $8.23 and depends upon the package size, weight, and shipping zone.
- UPS HundredWeight Service: takes 1-5 days
- UPS 3-Day Select: takes three days. The service cost starts at $11.67 and depends upon the package size, weight, and shipping zone.
- UPS 2nd Day Air: takes two days. The service cost starts at $19.19 and depends upon the package size, weight, and shipping zone.
- UPS Next-day Air: Deliver next day. The service cost starts at $25.60 and depends upon the package size, weight, and shipping zone.
- UPS Express Critical: delivers same day
UPS International Shipping Options
- UPS Express Critical: delivers same day
- UPS Worldwide Express: delivers within 1-3 days
- UPS Worldwide Expedited: delivers within 2-3 days
Other Value Added Services Provided by UPS:
UPS also provides many value-added services for your convenience at an extra cost. You can opt for the following benefits by paying some extra bucks:
- Delivery Change Request
- Collect on delivery
- Hold for Pickup
- Delivery Confirmation
- Delivery on Saturday
- Custom Brokerage
- Shipper release
- UPS Returns
- Daily Pickup
- Notification Services
- Delivery Intercept
Shipping Rates of UPS:
Like USPS, UPS also has two types of shipping rates: Daily Rate and Retail Rate. Retail Rate is the standard shipping rate offered for all kinds of customers coming into a UPS store. While the daily rate is the discounted shipping rate varies for users.
The daily rate is available only for selected users, and to access it, you need a UPS agreement along with scheduled UPS pickup. The shipping rate table of both retail rate and the daily rate is available on the UPS website.
Pros of UPS:
Many online sellers and eCommerce stores choose UPS because of its remarkable advantages. Here are some of the pros of UPS:
- Offers Guaranteed Express Shipping
- Excellent tracking system
- Affordable for heavy shipments
Cons of UPS:
- No free package pickup service
- No free Saturday delivery
- Little more expensive for small packages
In short, choose the following shipping carrier if you are looking for:
- USPS: Small shipments, ship to PO boxes, free pickup:
- UPS: Heavy shipments, guaranteed shipping, package tracking
- FedEx: Fast delivery, Saturday home delivery, package tracking
Examples of Good UI Designs For Handing Billing & Shipping Addresses
Checkout is the most essential step in eCommerce as it directly impacts if you can convert visitors into customers. It is critical to optimize the checkout process to enhance the user experience. Most users will abandon their carts due to lengthy or complex checkout processes. So always try to keep your checkout process quick and straightforward. A lousy UI design for checkout can result in losing a potential customer. By optimizing the checkout UI design, you can save users time with a smooth process. Checkout is one such stage, which can boost your store sales if optimized correctly.
It is crucial to collect all the necessary details at the time of checkout for accurate delivery. A good UI checkout design saves the user’s time and enhances their experience. Follow these steps to make a good UX for collecting address info:
Unwanted distractions like banners, unnecessary links, header, or footer navigation ruin the user experience. For the guided checkout flow, try to remove these distractions. Always choose to “enclose” the checkout to increase the screen space.
An enclosed checkout means that there will be no unwanted banners or links on the checkout page. Only the essential fields will be there to fill by the user for the necessary details. You can remove distractions during the checkout in the following way:
- Remove unwanted banners or ads from the checkout page.
- You can add live chat or customer care details in the header section for help.
- Instead of a banner, link your logo to your home page.
- There should be fewer fields containing important information only. Like Customer Information (email, address, etc.), shipping method, payment, and review order.
- Avoid double-column layouts as they look complex and slow down the process. Instead, use a single column neat & simple design.
Remove surprise shipping costs
The primary and most common cause of abandoned carts is Surprise Shipping Cost. If the rate of the average abandoned cart in eCommerce is 70%, then 50% of it is because of surprise shipping cost. Many stores add surprise shipping costs at the checkout page, which irritates the user and tends to leave the process.
Customers feel that shipping or handling charges must be shown in the beginning to let them know the exact cost during checkout. Checkout should be transparent and straightforward for the user. Never hide the actual product cost from the customer. Always display the dynamic shipping rates at the beginning of checkout.
You can use a real-time shipping tool for the same. Otherwise, you can add a free shipping option to enhance user experience and trust. Free shipping always boosts your sales and attracts more customers. You can adjust the shipping cost in the product’s total price and give the customer a free shipping option. It will be a win-win situation for both of you, and the customer will remain aware of the actual charges.
Allow customers to save information
Give users the option to sign up as a guest or create an account at the beginning of the checkout process. By signing up, they can save their shipping and billing details once for all. This way, they don’t have to enter their details every time they buy something. Don’t make the signup or account creation process complex.
Allow users to sign up or login using their Gmail or social media accounts to save time. You can also use the “auto-fill” option for shipping and billing address details to save users time and effort. This will speed up the checkout process with ease.
Automatically set billing and shipping as the same
Most of the time, the customer has the same shipping and billing address. In some cases, it can be different, but mostly it is the same. That is why customers don’t want to enter the exact address in different fields most of the time.
To solve this problem, you can give them an option to autofill the same shipping address in the billing address field. The customer can mark the checkbox to show that the billing address is the same as the shipping address. This will automatically set billing and shipping addresses the same to save time.
In the case of different shipping and billing addresses, the customer can enter two separate addresses without marking the checkbox.
How to Handle Credit Card Issues When Shipping and Billing Addresses Are Different
Both shipping address and billing address play a vital role in online ordering. The shipping address is the physical address needed to deliver the parcel. While the billing address is the address registered with your credit card or bank details. When someone places an online order with credit card details, the store asks for billing details. Billing addresses act as a verification for the authorized use of the card. That is why it is necessary to enter both shipping and billing addresses accurately.
Monitoring differences between shipping and billing addresses are an essential part of fraud prevention. As a merchant, you are ultimately responsible for guarding against fraud. The credit car company cannot see the shipping address when processing a payment so they won’t even know there’s a difference between the two.
If someone uses a stolen card, the card’s actual owner will eventually request a chargeback. Too many chargebacks and the payment processor will shut down your account.
Different addresses may not necessarily indicate fraud, but it is something to note. As somebody using a stolen payment method is not going to have the products delivered to the victim’s house.
As a merchant, it’s about finding a balance to prevent fraud but not block legit orders. Along with different billing/shipping, there are other factors you can weigh when deciding if a purchase is legit including:
- AVS (address verification for billing)
- Really high-value orders
- User IP address from an area far away from the delivery address.
Ecom platforms like Shopify have fraud analysis built into the platform, which gives a score of how likely it is that the sale is fraudulent.
The billing address of a user is the only way to verify authorization for the payment method. When a customer enters the incorrect address details, you can face an issue because the payment processor might decline the transaction. In case of such scenarios, you can take the following measures:
- Call the Cardholder: If the billing address mismatches or incorrect due to some typing error, you can verify the details over the call. You can confirm its authorization and ask them to update their details.
- Contact Credit Card Company: You can contact the credit card company or payment processor to resolve the address issue.
What to Do If a Customer Provides the Wrong Shipping Address
Wrong shipping addresses are a common problem in eCommerce. Many times, the customer ends up entering an incorrect/invalid shipping address due to the following reasons:
- Typing the wrong spelling or zip code of the location.
- The customer has moved to a new place and accidentally chose their old address for shipping.
Whatever the scenario, in the case of the wrong shipping address, follow these steps:
Confirmation message/mail: Always send an order confirmation message or mail to the customer after every checkout. A confirmation mail can help the customer to identify the mistake. Once the customer identifies, they can contact you for support.
Automate address updating: You can opt for online tools such as Razorpay Third watch. Using this tool, customers can update their shipping addresses to prevent wrong delivery.
Contact the customer: Confirm the shipping address to the customer via mail or call. In case of the wrong shipping address, either send the parcel to the updated address. Or ask the customer to cancel the order and place again using the updated address for delivery.
The steps mentioned above are helpful if the package is not shipped from the warehouse. If you identify the wrong shipping address after the parcel is shipped from the warehouse, you can deliver it to the correct address using USPS “Package Intercept” or UPS “Change my address” service.
USPS Package Intercept service allows the sender or receiver to redirect the parcel to the correct address if it is not out for delivery or already delivered. You can request Package Intercept service online.
You can ask the destination post office to hold the parcel to redirect it to the correct address or send it back to the sender. The service is applicable for most domestic shipments having tracking or extra service barcode on the parcel. In case of a successful intercept, you have to pay an extra intercept fee.
Or, you can use UPS “Change My Address” service by requesting address modification under the tracking tab here. You can update your correct “new delivery address,” to get the parcel at that address. But you can only change certain parts of the address like Zip Code, Flat number, etc.
In case of changed Street name/number, contact the shipper.
How to Overcome Common Shipping Issues
Handling domestic and International shipping in eCommerce is not an easy task. Being an online store owner, you can face many shipping issues, like:
- Delayed delivery
- Damaged/wrong item delivered
- Package gets misplaced
- Wrong tracking details
- High shipping charges
- The customer refuses to accept the parcel
To solve such shipping problems, first, you have to be calm and composed. Instead of handling shipping using a local courier, always tie up with a reliable shipping provider. If you are shipping in the US/UK, you can tie up with USPS, FedEx, or UPS for a smooth shipping process.
The collaboration helps you to get better deals and low prices on regular/bulk shipments. When you partner with a reliable shipping carrier, you can easily track the package and know the shipping time.
A reliable shipping carrier always tries to deliver items on time without misplacing them. If they delay the delivery or lose the package, you can claim your loss from the company.
You can offer the customer a refund or some discount coupon for other shipping problems like damaged or wrong items delivered. You can mention the refund policy on your site in case of a faulty/broken item delivered. In some cases, the customer refuses to accept the parcel because of some other reason. In such cases, to save yourself from loss, you can create the least COD eligible order limit to charge from the customer.
Shipping to PO Box
PO box is the abbreviation commonly used for Post Office Box. Many people prefer PO box as their shipping address due to the following reasons:
- People live in remote locations or non-deliverable areas. Thus, choose PO box as the shipping address.
- Due to their location, delivery to PO Box is quick and reliable for some people.
- Since a PO box is inside the post office, it is a secure way to keep your parcel safe.
Not all shipping carriers deliver to PO box. Before giving this option to your customers, you must confirm it with your shipping partner.
For instance, Only USPS and FedEx delivered to PO boxes in certain conditions and locations. While UPS doesn’t deliver to PO boxes.
If you are offering PO Box shipping to customers, you will need their address in the following format:
- First and Last Name of Recipient
- Company Name
- PO Box Address
- City, Country
International Shipping is crucial to increase online sales. In the case of international shipping, take care of the following things for seamless shipping:
- Taxes & fees: All countries have different taxes and duties to pay. If you are shipping any non-paper item, you have to pay some duty. Based on the country you are shipping, taxes vary. So take care of taxes before you opt for international shipping.
- Package weight: International shipping is not cheap. To ship economically, you have to take care of the package weight. Always use the weighing scale for an accurate weight. If you enter the wrong weight, you will end up paying extra.
- Transit time: International shipping takes a long transit time and can cause delays due to many reasons. Always check delivery time first before shipping.
- Compare shipping prices: Every shipping carrier has different shipping fees for overseas. Always look for a cheap option to save money.
- Identify restricted and prohibited items: Before shipping, check the list of restricted items. Restricted items can cause the problem in custom while shipping.
- Insurance: Despite taking all precautions, damage can still happen. It is advisable to take insurance to ship international items.
Using Pickup Locations
Shipping carriers in the US like UPS or FedEx also offer alternative access/pickup point deliveries. Those who don’t want to get their parcel shipped at home can opt for these services.
UPS Access-Points: UPS has signed with 10,000 locations across the USA as their access points. These locations act as secure places to store parcels. UPS access point delivery is for both local stores and large corporate stores. UPS also redirects undelivered shipments to UPS access points. You can check the charges of UPS access point on its official website.
FedEx On-Site Access Points: FedEx has partnered with Walgreens and Office Depot for access points. These access points are located all over the US. You can choose any of the near access points to get your parcel delivered. Like UPS, FedEx also redirects undelivered shipments to these access points. You can check the shipping charges and criteria of these access points on its official website.
Accurate and economical shipping is the key to eCommerce success. Always do your research before partnering with any shipping carrier. Go for the cheapest and reliable shipping partner. Try to automate the checkout and shipping process to save time and prevent errors.
Use appropriate fields to get accurate shipping and billing addresses from the customer. You can compare the shipping charges of various companies using their rate calculator. Always work on package size to avoid extra shipping charges. If you have any other queries related to the shipping or checkout process, share them with us in the comments.