What are shipping rules and why do you need them?

2020-07-03

Written by Starshipit

Fulfilment automation is made up of a lot of different components, but a key one is the use of rules. Rules are a set of functions that empower businesses to use logic or business ‘smarts’ to automate and streamline their manual processes.

A rule contains both a condition (or multiple conditions) and a subsequent action. When certain criteria meet these conditions, it carries out the action with no manual input. For example, a customer might select express shipping at checkout and you might have a rule that automatically allocates all express shipping orders to a certain courier.

Why do we use rules in fulfilment?

Rules streamline the fulfilment process so you can virtually set and forget, removing a lot of additional clicks and manual decision making.

As an order comes through your eCommerce store and is imported into Starshipit, if it meets the conditions set by our powerful rules engine, the actions are triggered and applied automatically to the orders.

Why rules are so effective

The primary benefit of rules is how much time they save a retailer. The smarter your rules are, the less your staff need to manage order allocation and printing, giving them more time to focus on other, more manual, parts of the business.

Reducing human error in your warehouse is a big one too. The fewer touchpoints, the fewer errors that will occur. The fewer errors, the less likely you’ll have to redo orders which will ultimately cost your business in time and/or money.

What rules can I make?

Starshipit’s powerful rules engine enables online and omnichannel retailers to automate many key functions, so they barely have to lift a finger.

Common rules include:

Assigning orders to different courier services based on shipping method selected by a customer at checkout

  • E.g. At checkout, customer might be able to choose between standard and express shipping. You might work with two couriers, only one of which offers express shipping. Therefore, you might create a rule that automatically assigns any order that has been selected as express shipping to that courier.

Assigning orders to different courier services based on the receiver’s destination address using parameters like street, country, postcode and state

  • E.g. You might set up a rule to automatically assign all domestic orders to Australia Post and international orders to DHL Express.

Setting delivery options for particular criteria, like authority to leave or signature required

  • E.g. You might set up a rule that every order that has a value of more than $100 must be signature required.

Assigning orders to a certain child account

  • E.g. Your online store might have one warehouse in every state in Australia. Within your Starshipit account, you can create a child account for every warehouse you operate out of, then link them all to your parent (overall) account. From here, you could create a rule that automatically assigns any order that’s being sent to WA to be automatically assigned to your warehouse in WA. Then, your WA warehouse would manage these orders themselves. Creating a rule that assigns orders to the destination’s nearest warehouse means that you can offer cheaper shipping with local couriers.

Managing dangerous goods

  • E.g. If you deliver dangerous goods, you might set up a rule based on SKU that automatically assigns DG products to the appropriate courier.
Learn more about rules

When good rules go bad

The beauty of rules is that you can create a rule for just about every possible fulfilment scenario. Because of this, you need to be careful that you don’t set rules that effectively cancel each other out.

In Starshipit, our rules engine prioritises rules from top to bottom. This means that as an order comes in from your eCommerce store, every rule from the list will be applied from the top down. If you have rules that try to set conflicting actions further down the list, the uppermost rule will be applied.

The key is to keep it simple. Make your rules logical and intuitive. You can make as many as you like – but that doesn’t mean that lots are necessary. When you start with Starshipit, we suggest setting up a few simple rules.

Then, as you come up with more scenarios or realise there’s a common pattern happening in your warehouse that could be easily automated, add more (keeping the existing ones in mind).

Start automating your fulfilment now

Fulfilment automation makes it easier and faster to get orders out your doors and into your customers’ hands. To start automating your fulfilment today, sign up for a free 30-day trial with Starshipit.

Starshipit

Starshipit

Starshipit is the best practice shipping and fulfilment platform that helps retailers save time and deliver great shipping experiences.

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