6 Ways to Reduce Small Business Shipping Costs

Aug 21, 2023 • read

In today's fast-paced digital landscape, eCommerce has experienced an unprecedented boom, connecting businesses with consumers across the globe. 

However, despite this remarkable growth, one persistent challenge continues to plague small business owners and eCommerce store proprietors: high shipping costs.

Balancing the demands of cost and efficiency can be tricky. That’s why in this article, we're diving into six strategies that can help you significantly reduce your small business shipping costs, while keeping your customers satisfied and your bottom line healthy.

Know the Basics: Understanding the Shipping Landscape

Before jumping into these cost-effective shipping strategies, it's crucial to understand the fundamentals of the shipping process. 

Shipping costs are multifaceted and subject to factors like package weight, size, distance, shipping method, and additional services. 


Beyond business owner costs, these factors also have considerable influence over buyer behavior. In fact, a recent statistic reveals that a staggering 48% of online shoppers abandon their carts due to unexpected shipping costs. That is a HUGE number and is one that can be lowered significantly by implementing the following strategies.

How to Reduce Small Business Shipping Costs 

Let's explore some straightforward strategies to lower shipping expenses for your store:

1. Reduce the Weight of Packages

A tried-and-true method for slashing shipping expenses is to trim down the weight of your packages. Every ounce counts, and making wise choices in packaging can make a significant difference in budget-friendly shipping. Consider these tactics:

  • Use Right-Sized Packaging : Select packaging that snugly accommodates your products. Extra space leads to increased dimensional weight and, consequently, higher shipping costs. 

  • Opt for Corrugated Boxes : Corrugated boxes are not only durable, but they're also lightweight. Their structure provides protection for your goods without adding unnecessary numbers to the scale.

  • Find Lightweight Packing Material : When cushioning your products, opt for lightweight materials like bubble wrap or air pillows. These provide adequate protection and are super lightweight. 

  • Design a Custom Shipping Package : Consider working with a packaging expert to design a custom shipping package that fits your products like a glove. This tailored approach may cost you more upfront, but has the potential to save you considerable costs down the line! 

2. Leverage Discounted (or Free) Supplies

Buying in bulk isn't just a savvy strategy for your business operations; it can also be a powerful way to reduce high shipping costs. Many shipping companies recognize the value of partnering with businesses that require a steady stream of shipping materials. 


As a result, they often extend discounted or even free packing supplies when you order in large quantities. Look into this with UPS and FedEx to explore your available options. And if you ship with eShipper, you can also order free packaging supplies directly from the eShipper platform.

3. Embrace Flat Rate Shipping

  • Straightforward Savings: Flat-rate shipping is a straightforward approach that can bring substantial business savings to your shipping expenses. This means that the shipping costs are always a single rate, regardless of the product's shape, size, and weight. 
  • Predictable Purchases: Predictable shipping costs are a significant factor in purchasing decisions, and by offering flat-rate options to your customers, you're not only simplifying your shipping calculations but also tapping into a cost-effective shipping strategy that resonates with your audience's preferences.
  • Mutual Benefits: This pricing model benefits both you and your customers. For your business, flat-rate shipping eliminates the need for complex shipping rate calculations based on varying package dimensions and delivery locations. This simplicity not only saves you time but also reduces the chances of errors in shipping cost estimations.
  • Customer Confidence: On the customer's side, the predictability of flat-rate pricing is a breath of fresh air in an era where unexpected shipping costs often lead to abandoned carts. When customers know exactly how much they'll be paying for shipping, they're more likely to proceed with their purchase, resulting in increased conversion rates and revenue for your business.

4. Choose Ground Shipping

While expedited shipping options might seem appealing, they often have a hefty price tag. By offering ground shipping as a default option during checkout, you give your customers the opportunity to save money on shipping if they're not in a hurry to receive their items. 

This strategy benefits both parties, as you reduce shipping costs and your customers enjoy more budget-friendly options.

5. Tap into 3PL Services

Partnering with a third-party logistics (3PL) provider can be a game-changer for small business owners seeking to reduce shipping costs. 

Here at eShipper we can simplify the shipping process with courier services for smaller packages and freight solutions for larger shipments. 

Even more importantly, we give you access to up to 70% savings on shipping costs with all major carriers, so you and your customers can enjoy reduced shipping rates. Reach out to us to learn more

6. Offer Local Delivery or Pickup

Exploring local delivery or pickup options is another fantastic approach to reducing shipping costs. This cost-effective shipping strategy works particularly well for businesses with a solid local customer base.

By offering these alternatives, you eliminate the need for traditional shipping carriers, saving on all shipping expenses and fostering a more personal connection with your clients.

Offering local delivery services also helps you:

  • Tailoring to Local Audience: By focusing on your immediate community, you can tap into the preferences and behaviors of your local audience.
  • Reduced Shipping Costs: By introducing local delivery or pickup, you bypass the need for third-party shipping carriers and their associated costs.
  • Personalized Customer Interaction: Allows you to establish a more personal connection with your customers.

Bottom Line: Navigating the Seas of Savings

As an eCommerce business owner, the challenge of high shipping costs is all too familiar. It's not just about the money – it's about customer satisfaction, loyalty, and the overall success of your business. However, armed with these six strategies, you're well-equipped to navigate the seas of savings.

Remember, while each of these shipping strategies can contribute to cost reduction, a holistic approach often yields the most impressive results. Partnering with a 3PL like eShipper not only reduces shipping costs but also frees up your time and energy to focus on growing your business. 

So go ahead and take these cost-reduction shipping tips to heart. By combining these methods, you're safeguarding your profits and ensuring that your customers receive a great shopping experience that won't leave them high and dry with unexpected shipping costs.

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