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.
There is a long list of conversion no-nos, but long or confusing checkout processes are one of the leading ones. With more than 84% of online shoppers abandoning their shopping carts, this wave of lost traffic should be on the forefront of every
eCommerce leader’s mind. No shopper journey is complete in a merchant’s eyes until they’ve passed through the gates of payment. No matter your retail vertical or business clout, with a sticky payment process you’re going to end up missing out on a lot of potential revenue.
You can arrive at the cart abandonment rate and revenue loss for your online store using the following formula:
● CAR stands for – Cart Abandonment Rate,
● CT stands for – Number of Completed Transactions
● CC stands for – Number of Carts Created Revenue loss for your business = Number of Abandoned Carts
Shopping journeys in online stores can be quite complex and nonlinear, making it more difficult for marketers to consistently provide shoppers the right cues to urge them to complete their purchase. Further complicating the matter is that the reasons for cart abandonment can be countless and hard to pinpoint; however, studies have deduced the most common ones are largely the same for most online retailers. Here’s a look at some of the most prevalent reasons for shopping cart abandonment in the eCommerce industry:
1. Long or Confusing Checkout Process
A leading reason that shoppers fail to make it through the checkout process is because it seems unnecessarily long or confusing. After having spent enough time browsing the online store, narrowing their consideration to a few items, and finally deciding to add them to the cart, shoppers seldom have the patience to fill out lengthy, ambiguous, and sometimes complicated forms. For instance, checkout involving forms spread over multiple pages, no checkbox to select the same billing and shipping address, or unclear form fields without descriptions all contribute to a complicated checkout flow. Not only does this make for a poor shopping experience, as it annoys prospective buyers to the point that it causes them to walk away, but it creates a poor experience of your brand.
2. Hidden, Unexpected High Costs
The basic law of supply and demand states that all else remaining equal, charging a higher price will necessarily mean that fewer customers will be willing to purchase. What that means to your store: all the effort you put into getting shoppers to your online store to browse your catalog, visit product pages, and finally add their favorite items to the cart is often nullified when shoppers come across unpleasant surprise fees in the checkout process.
Unexpectedly high taxes, shipping charges, or unreasonable minimum order value for free delivery, are sure ways to confound users. According to the 2019 study ‘Reasons For Abandonment’ by the Baymard Institute, more than 50% of respondents cited high extra costs as their primary reason for cart abandonment over the previous three months. Shoppers see this as a deliberate attempt by the store to withhold critical information until the final step. As a result, your eCommerce store loses credibility and trust in addition to the last conversion.
A business should utilize a must-have shipping partner like eShipper in order to decide the right shipping strategy. They can either opt for flat-rate, free or opt to show live rates for transparency to avoid hidden or unexpected costs at checkout
3. Payment Security Concerns
Sharing personal or sensitive information such as credit card details with lesser-known or relatively smaller or newer stores is not something shoppers take lightly. When it comes to shoppers’ critical information, even the slightest bit of doubt regarding your site’s trust factors, a sense that your online store has no payment security measures or even the lack of trustworthy payment services, is enough for them to walk away. Lack of trust badges, SSL seals, and other similar stamps that provide visual reinforcement of trust are common triggers for buyers to be skeptical of a store’s information security.
4. Mandatory Account Creation for Checkout
Imagine your prospective customer scrolling through Instagram over their lunch break and coming across your ad which features an item they want to purchase. They click on your advertisement, land on your product page, add the item to their cart, and then proceed to checkout, only to get a prompt requiring them to “Create an Account”. Given this context, it’s no wonder shoppers lack the patience to go through the account creation process, and end up abandoning their online shopping cart.
5. Price Shopping
Buyers want the best deal possible. Often, they are not willing to settle for the first price they find, especially when it comes to digital shopping, where price comparisons are just a click away. Shoppers may search for a certain item, save it by adding the item to their cart, and then go hunting for a better price for the same item at your competitor’s stores.
6. Site Performance
Nothing will ruin a good customer experience faster than a poorly loaded website. That’s why site performance is commonly cited as another leading cause of cart abandonment and contributes to billions of dollars in lost sales each year. Shoppers find it extremely difficult to navigate through the checkout process when sites or applications operate slowly or even crash. As a result, shoppers tend to abandon their carts. This problem is heightened by the ever-shrinking attention spans of frequently distracted, always-on-the-go digital shoppers, so it’s almost unthinkable to expect that they’ll battle through a slow-loading checkout page in order to complete their purchase.
7. “Window Shopping”
Ecommerce stores are always open, and don’t require shoppers to do anything more than access a web browser, so “window shopping” is another reason visitors commonly abandon their carts. There are times people browse your online store out of boredom or with no particular agenda and end up casually adding their favorite items to the cart, but ultimately abandoning the cart due to lack of a substantial purchase intention.
8. Missing Desirable Payment Options
Buyers today expect multiple payment options and services to be available, and they want to be able to select the brand they trust most. Therefore, it’s common for shoppers to drop off and abandon their carts when they don’t see their preferred or trusted payment option among the ones provided.
9. Ambiguous or Unsatisfactory Return or Refund Policy
Shoppers want to know your store’s return policy right away, especially if you sell commonly returned items, like clothing. Some online retailers only highlight their return and refund policy at the payment page or worse, obscure their policy with unclear, ambiguous manner policy statements hidden in the site FAQs. For a prospective buyer, digging for return policy information applicable to their order might lead to doubt, confusion, and uncertainty regarding the purchase they were sure about just moments ago. Similarly, if the return policy imposes unsatisfactory conditions, such as ‘exchange your item within seven days for a partial refund (up to 50% of the item value)’ is almost sure to cause your shoppers to abandon their carts at a higher rate.
10. Unsuitable Delivery Timelines
In a post-Amazon world, fast shipping can be a major sticking point for gotta-have-it-now shoppers. More often than not, store delivery times are calculated based on the buyer’s shipping address. If you’re only gathering your shopper’s address at checkout, a longer than expected delivery time is sure to be off-putting to the would-be buyer. With the final step, businesses should have a shipping partner like eShipper who is nimble and can adapt to their business & customer needs seamlessly when it comes to delivery timelines.
Paul Paradis , President and Co-founder of Sezzle.