Shipping often takes a backseat when small business owners have to prioritize. While no one can be blamed for keeping a razor-sharp focus on growing sales, it pays to pay attention to how products get from Point A to Point B.
A business that masters the art of shipping will delight customers and probably discover there’s money to be saved along the way.
For starters, eliminate these common shipping mistakes from your repertoire:
Limited Shipping Menu
Many customers want free shipping. Some choose speed over cost. Others really like the idea of picking their own delivery date. Regardless, they all value choice. When it comes to shipping options, pretend you’re putting together a buffet. You would hardly offer your dinner guests a lone course. It doesn’t hurt to be generous. Your customers will reward your generosity with return purchases. So if you want to set a dollar threshold to qualify for free shipping or if customers don’t mind paying a few extra bucks for overnight delivery, give them the opportunity to choose for themselves.
Although you may be a whiz at numbers and math, when it comes to shipping costs don't rely on your best guess. Ask the owner of a wedding-cake-topper company in California who recorded an $800 loss after a guesstimate that came up awfully short. Guessing the cost of a shipment or even using yesterday’s metrics is a recipe for failure. Do the research or use a cloud-based shipping platform (hint: eShipper is a good choice) that gives you immediate access to the best current rates.
The prospect of increasing your customer base by shipping internationally is tempting and very doable as long as you don’t let taxes and tariffs take you by surprise. That’s what happened to a motorcycle parts and accessories retailer in Canada that happily shipped its first international order of $99 only to have the customer turn the product down upon arrival. Why? The delivery truck driver demanded $100 in unpaid Canadian taxes and tariffs.
Once upon a time, retailers tried to deter customers from returning products by making it as hard as possible. If you still hang onto that belief, it’s time to let go. Studies show the ease of returns actually builds customer loyalty. Proudly display your return policy in a place where shoppers can see it. Make it easy to read and even easier to follow.
Are you a creature of habit when it comes to shipping? As much as you may have grown used to your routine, shipping rates change constantly and choosing one method or carrier over another could help you cut costs. Although researching each potential carrier is an option, it’s also a time-consuming one. This is where eShipper can make a big difference. eShipper has negotiated rates with the best carriers and serves up the options in an easy-to-read format on your computer. Take your pick, print the label, and send. You’d be surprised how much money you can save by making small changes.