The exponential growth of e-commerce tremendously lowered barriers to entry by new businesses. While today is an exciting time to start a business and bring it online, aspiring entrepreneurs have to be aware not only of the many benefits but also of the challenges that e-commerce brings. Getting your brand known in a plethora of many other brands is one. Getting buyers to check out rather than just filling their baskets and fulfilling their orders is another.
Often, the buyer’s first purchase makes or breaks your business with them, and so, managing orders could only be more thorough than in a physical store wherein you hand the customer his items in person. There’s no denying that shipping takes up a big slice in your ability to retain clients and, therefore, will cost a lot.
Here are ways to save on shipping costs that could save startups lots of money they could allow for more strategic purposes instead:
Buy Packaging Materials in Bulk
Packaging is one overhead expense you would have to anticipate as early as when planning out your business. You may not notice it when you don’t have plenty of orders yet, but you use a lot of packaging and more of it once your business grows. Buying materials, such as envelopes, bubble wrap, and boxes, in bulk, would dramatically reduce your net shipping costs. Guarantee more savings by partnering with a wholesale box supplier.
You can always opt for less bubble wrap and tape on non-fragile items that need it less or, better yet, use poly mailers or plastic envelopes that are lined with bubbles inside. But, never cut down on packaging fragile ones as you don’t want to pass down costs to your valued customers. Unless you have branded packaging, there’s no issue with recycling the packaging of parcels you received. It’s not only cost-saving but also environmentally friendly.
Set a Maximum Weight
Depending on the average weight of the goods you sell as well as customer buying preferences, set a maximum weight on every order. That way, you can send as many packages at once as possible. Another savvy tip is to stay in the know of current shipping costs per weight, of different delivery companies if possible, and weigh your packages using a postage scale before sending them out. Staying conscious of how much each parcel could cost according to its weight is a simple method that aggregates your savings in the long run.
Send Parcels in Bulk
Especially if your buyers are concentrated in one locality, pallet servicing will save you lots of energy and money. Arranging this with your carrier will require additional documents to ensure tracking and correct delivery of individual packages, but it will all be worth it thinking of the hassle you could have been through had you arranged for deliveries one by one.
Be Flexible with Your Delivery Company of Choice
First, find out what your specific shipping needs for one order are. Then, compare the shipping rates of available carriers in your area. How they will compute will depend on available routes, which you can conveniently research online. Of course, go for the one that offers the cheapest rates, even discounts if a carrier offers any at the moment, and ships your parcel the fastest.
Hybrid shipping service providers, which take packages from you and send them to a final carrier like USPS, is one such cheap option but do note that they take longer to deliver. On the other hand, holiday or sale seasons will require you to pay a premium to get your parcel to your buyer within the ideal delivery lead time.
Get Your Products Insured
You don’t see it but carriers treat parcels roughly. Avoid potentially having to catch the costs of damaged items by getting shipping insurance, particularly from a third party. Insurance carriers’ offers are only valid for a certain period or item value. On the other hand, third-party insurance is not only cheaper but also ensures protection on all the assets you send for transit, therefore more savings, especially on high-value items!
Managing Shipping Cash Disbursements
Discounts on online payments are a deal that many carriers offer, but many are yet to take advantage of. So, while you can apply for a debit account for your business which you can use for lucrative online deals like this. One more option that gives you hefty discounts is prepaid shipping and is preferred by businesses that send out practically uniformly weighted parcels.
For younger brands who are yet to enjoy economies of scale, offering free shipping might sound like a burden they need to carry at least for now. To somehow ease this burden, they can spread out the cost across their product offerings, but also exercise caution as to not overprice.
Putting yourself in the buyer’s shoes, you realize you just want the item you purchased as pictured and described online and that it arrives intact and on time. Investing in the best order fulfillment systems, therefore, is crucial in keeping up with today’s e-commerce-driven game. That way, you keep your customer’s business and yourself savings, which you can discover only if you thoroughly examine where money is unnecessarily spent in the entire shipping process.