As an eCommerce business, the biggest challenge that you face is to constantly reduce your costs, while never compromising on quality. Your customers love you for the services you offer, the brand you’ve built and for the quality you promise. They also don’t want to wait for their products. A digital world means that customers see the products online, make instant payments and expect delivery within a day or two. This means faster shipping times, no acceptable delays and often, the choice of free shipping. In fact, 79% of customers feel that free shipping would make them more likely to shop online.
While there are many contributors to business expenses, shipping costs are one of the biggest additions. This is especially true if you’re not only shipping domestically but also shipping internationally, such as to the US. So, what factors affect shipping costs and how do you reduce them? Let’s find out!
1. Great packaging reduces shipping costs
It’s obvious to note that heavier packages would cost more for shipping. Same is the case for packages that are bigger in size. Optimizing your packages can help you reduce your shipping costs significantly. Having a one-size box that fits all your product isn’t necessarily the right strategy.
You can even experiment with different materials for packaging that may be lighter in weight, occupy less space and yield the same result in terms of packaging. Your package should be large enough to not squeeze the products inside, but at the same time close-fitting enough to not leave extra space.
2. Get discounted shipping rates
It’s a game of negotiation. When you promise your loyalty to one shipping company, chances are they will be willing to give you discounted shipping rates. You don’t have to be shipping thousands of dollars worth of products every month.
Of course, there is a higher chance of you getting a good discount if the volume of shipments is high. There is also a possibility that your association has a partnership with a shipping company that could result in discounted rates. You’ll never know if you don’t ask! Get a free quote from eShipper today.
“Wonderful service, unbeatable prices, so convenient!”
- Wild Knots Macramé
3. Look for discounted supplies
A lot of shipping companies such as UPS, DHL, and USPS etc. provide free or discounted shipping supplies to their customers. This is especially true in the case of small businesses where companies are willing to provide certain materials, small boxes and packaging supplies, at discounted rates. You might have to buy them in bulk at the start, but it’ll definitely help averaging out your shipping costs, thereby impacting your bottom line.
4. Check your shipping distance
With an eCommerce business, you would intend to reach as many geographies as possible. As a Canadian company, shipping to the US would be a major focus area for you. However, this comes with the additional cost of international shipping. By partnering with a shipping company that offers fulfilment services in various zones and geographies, you can reduce your shipping costs even as you expand to other areas through international shipping.
The farther your fulfilment centre is, the more it would cost you to ship the products. That’s why, reducing the shipping distance is extremely important in reducing shipping costs. This can even reduce the time spent in delivery and help you guarantee faster fulfilment services. Talk about double benefits!
5. Prepaid shipping services can help
In order to cut down the shipping costs, you can even consider investing in prepaid shipping services. This will help you reduce your costs by as much as 20%! This works when you buy a fixed number of labels upfront and affix them on the packages as and when you ship them. However, it is important to note that this option works best when you have to ship the same dimension of packages over and over again.
“I've been using eShipper for a few months and it has helped me expand my service-based business from just my local area to being able to retail to clients all over the world. I agree with other reviews here that eShipper's prices are competitive compared to similar services.”
- Virginia Lew from LashyLew
6. Customs and duties can impact shipping costs
International shipping attracts customs and duties, which differ from one country to another. It can be very confusing and expensive, for both you and your customers. In most cases, your customers bear these extra fees, when applicable and it’s important to communicate the same to them. You can do so through an FAQ page on your website, or through notifying them on the order placement page. Letting the customer know such information in advance can help you avoid altercations later and even reduce your shipping costs.
Ask your business the right questions to help save money on shipping:
Every business is different and has to adapt itself to its own set of challenges. While these guidelines are great, what you need to do is ask your business the following questions to determine what you can do to cut or recover shipping costs.
1. How should I charge for shipping - Should I include the shipping fee in the product cost and call it free shipping or should I charge separately?
2. Am I using the right shipping package - Are there any materials that can help me reduce my package weight and dimensions?
3. Which shipping company should I use - Should I use a shipping company which offers access to multiple carriers or should I stick with one shipping carrier?
4. Should I use a shipping & fulfillment service - Would it lead to decreased shipping distance and time and help me eliminate costs?
Answering such questions would help you analyse your business and find the best possible solution for it. Knowing how and when you can decrease your shipping costs can go a long way in improving your business profitability. In fact, you can even get a free quote from eShipper and get started on this path.
Michelle is a Business Development Manager with a history of sales. I work with businesses that vary in different sizes and industries. Offering solutions to save companies time and money with providing knowledgeable information in logistics.