Last week we took a more in depth look at the Purchase Order module of our new Ebizio Checkout App and explored why Purchase Ordering on BigCommerce is a valuable feature. The PO Module allows your customers to place a purchase order directly through your website, and does not require payment at checkout.
This week we will take a closer look at the Ship on Account module, and how it can be most effectively leveraged for your business.
What is Shipping on Account?
Shipping on Account means that the customer has an existing account with a shipping provider, such as USPS, UPS, FedEx, etc., and that they want the merchant to ship their order under that existing account. The merchant will use provided credentials for the shipper account to get a quote from the shipper and fulfill the order with the customer’s preferred shipper.
Why Ship with an Existing Account?
In many cases, it will be better for customers to ship their orders under an existing account with a shipping provider. Shippers will often provide reduced rates to businesses with which they have an existing relationship, lowering the overall cost of ordering online for the buyer. In addition to reduced rates, the customer may receive other benefits from working with a specific provider. The customer also will have chosen their provider because they are reliable for their area or region of service, and want to maintain consistency across their business.
From the merchant’s perspective, it is beneficial to allow the customer to choose their exact shipping provider and ship on their account, too. Keeping costs low and providing for a lot of flexibility will help to retain customers, and is a good feature for attracting new business.
Offering Ship on Account with BigCommerce
Most online merchants have a difficult time offering this type of feature on their websites, for two reasons:
Determining the True Shipping Cost
First, most websites will automatically calculate shipping based on the customer’s entered address, weight and dimensions of the order, shipping method chosen, etc. This is ideal for most retail businesses, because it takes a lot of the guesswork out of fulfilling online orders – the shipping options have already been selected and the total price calculated for the customer.
However, this is not particularly ideal for B2B businesses. Sometimes it is not possible to quote an accurate shipping cost before the details of the order are verified by the merchant’s fulfillment team. Components of the order may need to be shipped separately, at different times, or to different locations. In some cases, the order might be fulfilled from multiple warehouses. In other cases, the merchant needs to get a separate quote from a freight shipping company.
For all of these reasons and more, it is often best to calculate the shipping cost separately from the checkout process. For existing customers that want the best pricing available, and the security of working with a known commodity, this is more important than knowing the cost of the shipping at checkout.
Collecting Account Information
Second, it is not possible to collect the customer’s account information for the shipping provider as part of the default checkout process. BigCommerce is very flexible with their baked-in shipping settings, and they integrate with a number of high-powered apps to provide more detailed shipping features, but the Ebizio Checkout App is the only way to collect additional customer information as part of the on-site checkout process.
It’s also important to consider that your customer may want to choose a different shipping account per order. When shipping to different parts of the world, customers will often want to use a provider that they are most comfortable with in that region. It is possible that a merchant has a ‘saved’ shipping account for their customer, but giving your customer more control over the order details is always a good practice.
The Ebizio Checkout Solution
The Ship on Account module allows a merchant to ship a BigCommerce order on the customer’s own existing account with a shipping provider by collecting the customer’s specifications for the shipment and account directly in the checkout.
This module enables the store owner to create custom fields directly in the Shipping Method section of the BigCommerce Optimized One-Page Checkout. Custom fields can be either open text fields or multiple-choice dropdown menus. This is ideal for the type of information that the merchant will want to collect in order to fully process the order.
Configuring the Ebizio Checkout
The most common configuration of Ship on Account will include custom fields for ‘Shipping Provider’ and ‘Account Number.’ The merchant will be able to offer a dropdown list of Shipping Providers with which they are willing to work to quote and ship the customer’s order. This list can include ANY shipping provider that the merchant would like to offer, including USPS, UPS, FedEx, DHL, etc.
The second field, Account Number, will most often be an open text field. This will allow the customer to enter the Account Number associated with the Shipping Provider that they have already selected.
In addition to these common fields, the merchant can configure to collect any other required information. Some other common fields could include a Delivery Date or ‘In-Hand’ Date, Shipping Account Manager, and shipping-specific order notes.
The custom fields can also include additional validation, such as marking a specific text field as ‘required’ or imposing strict formatting guidelines for fields such as Account Number. IntuitSolutions has engineered the Ship on Account module to be flexible, and provide a customizable solution for BigCommerce merchants.
Now, the merchant has all of the information that they require to accept the order, quote shipping costs at the customer’s specific rate with their own shipping provider, and fulfill the order. Typically the merchant will not even need to have an existing relationship with the provider – just provide the shipper with the account information and they will bill the customer directly.
As mentioned above, bringing this level of customer service to your customers will be invaluable, helping to both retain existing customers and attracting new ones.
Begin Shipping on Account Today
The Ebizio Checkout is FREE to download directly from the BigCommerce App Store. Each Module has its own monthly subscription, empowering the merchant to choose a configuration that fits their budget and business model.