Shipping really has set the standards for every business today. The e-commerce industry has been very robust and competitive especially because the giants in the industry like Amazon have set the bar higher with the free and fast shipping trend.
While some could take the lead, small businesses would find it challenging to replicate at the base. It’s not cheap to ship especially for startups so this continues to pose a challenge to many e-commerce beginners today.
Meeting Customer Standards in Shipping
Customers do think or decide in a different way today. As a matter of fact, people are constantly looking and comparing brands to get the best deals whether it’s in terms of pricing or speedy delivery.
Now, people steer clear of vague promises or limited options especially because these leading e-commerce brands can easily provide them the convenience and flexibility they need in terms of costs, transparency, and timely delivery. So, what could a small business do at this point?
As a small business owner, the entire legwork can be overwhelming and frustrating. So how can you improve your margin and save up on shipping costs for your business? You can simplify the process following these small business shipping tips.
Start with Nearby Shipping Destinations
The logic here is that you pay higher shipping fees when you ship to far destinations or shipping zones as compared to shipping nearby. Go for lower zones and try to avoid higher zones because it would tend to be more expensive to ship and could also take more time to deliver. It’s the safest and best route to go especially if you are just starting out in the business.
Understand Dimensional Weight or DIM Weight Billing in Shipping
If you are using FedEx, USPS, and UPS, then they have a weight calculation tool for dimensional weight. However, if you ship on a different route or carrier then you should know how the calculation works. Dimensional weight is also referred to as “volumetric weight” which is calculated using this formula:
DIM Weight = (Length x Height x Width) / DIM Factor
The number assigned as DIM factor would vary depending on your chosen carrier.
Negotiate Rates with Your Shipping Carrier
Few small businesses know how to negotiate rates with their chosen carrier. These rates are actually negotiable and you can meet a common ground that provides a win-win setup. First off, compare rates from different carriers and then negotiate with your chosen carrier using figures collated from other shipping companies.
Let them know what they could offer based on rates presented. You can try negotiating for volume discounts which you can take advantage of if you are shipping in large volumes or frequency. This could turn the tables around for your business and you could snag a better deal out of this.
Don’t Forget To Include Shipping Fees on the Billing Page
A lot of e-commerce stores would tend to overlook this detail. Transparency and reliability are important for customers so you have to explicitly include the shipping rates on your billing page to provide clarity and avoid confusion on charges made.
Audit Your Shipments
Verifying and auditing your bulling or shipping invoices will help you assess if you are getting your money’s worth with your chosen shipping carrier. To speed things up, you can automate auditing of shipping invoices with an auditing tool that will allow you to painlessly check if everything is accurate and streamlined without doing it by hand.
With an auditing tool, you can readily request refunds for any service failure or when shipping gets messed up at some point such as lost packages, product damages, or late shipments; to name some.
Look For Cheap or Discounted Packing Supplies
Well, don’t just go for cheap ones but for high-quality packing supplies that will create that branding awareness you want for your business. When you go for shipping companies like FedEx, USPS, and UPS, you would be provided certain packing supplies like envelopes and boxes for free or discounted prices. You can also buy bubble wraps and boxes in bulk to snag discounts.
This is particularly an advantage if you are shipping luxury, high-value, or expensive items like cars or other valuable goods in the market. Getting your packages insured by third-party insurers will help you cut the costs by almost half.
Enable Real-Time Tracking of Your Packages
It would definitely give you and your customers peace of mind when you gain insight and real-time updates about the status of deliveries. This allows you to stay ahead of the competition and also be able to provide your customers with timely updates about their packages. This helps solidify trust and confidence in your shipping process. This also ensures great customer experience and satisfaction with your business.
Turning Challenges into Opportunities
Small businesses are constantly being pitted with big names in the e-commerce industry. While comparisons are normal and even encouraged to precipitate healthy competition, the pressure is definitely strongly felt by small businesses. Customers are expecting a certain standard or level of shipping service and coming to terms with these emerging challenges may be a bit too much for a startup.
On the other hand, a lot of small businesses shouldn’t fret or bow down too easily but see these challenges as a way to flip the coin by automation and also focusing more on enhancing buyer experience more than the profit. Well, making sure your customers are happy and satisfied is certainly the simplest way to let income flow without trying too hard.