Shipping is undeniably one of the biggest expenses incurred by digital entrepreneurs. It's a juggling act of sorts. When starting out, shipping can be very rigorous and complicated but it’s not the end-all and be-all of your business. In fact, you shouldn’t be held back with your shipping quandaries especially if you know how to effectively reduce shipping costs so you can have leverage and be more competitive.
Time is one of the most expensive commodities these days. Shipping has a learning curve yet it can be managed with the right knowledge and tools. Understanding this would mean you shouldn’t be limited by your shipping rants when you can instead be more productive by using these hours to grow your business.
Create Pick-Up Points
You won’t need to ship if you create pick-up points in specific domains where your customers can get their items right away. Arranging pick-up points in highly-accessible areas would be a huge plus point for you and your customers’ convenience.
If you have a physical store or a warehouse then you can easily consolidate the schedule for shipping or delivery to your pick-up points. For strictly-online stores, then you can team up with a physical store that is aligned with your business wherein you could ship packages there for pick up.
Negotiate Rates with Your Fulfillment Center
One of the best ways to reduce shipping costs would be to directly negotiate prices or ask for discounts from your fulfillment center. This is a good option especially if you currently ship with just one fulfillment center because you can make that a selling point in your discussion. Ask them specifically regarding the discounts or other promotional offers they could provide for your business considering your shipping volume.
Of course, your fulfillment center would greatly consider your loyalty in the partnership and will do everything to keep providing you the best customer experience and keep you as a satisfied partner in the business. There are certain membership plans that you can look into with the fulfillment centers that can bring down the shipping costs and help you maximize profits.
Connect with Multiple Carriers
Having more options for your shipping needs would provide you the flexibility and efficiency you need in different shipping scenarios. This also allows you to work with carriers who can provide you the best rates. Partnering up with a couple of carriers around can help you maximize all shipping routes available to help your business gain momentum.
Use Complimentary Packaging
There are carriers that offer complimentary packaging for their customers. While this is a way to promote or incentivize repeat or return clients to use premium services, this is also a great way to save up on shipping costs. However, do note that these complimentary packagings are subject to certain service restrictions.
Join Trade Organization to Snag Group Discounts
Strength can be found in numbers. Joining trade organizations will help you get group delivery discounts. There is a membership fee for joining but the special privileges and discounts plus connections you get from these organizations would be worth the investment.
Check for Billing Errors
Carriers are imperfect and may be subject to billing errors. You should always check or verify invoices for accuracy. You can do manual checking or hire an auditing company to validate invoices for you. These invoice errors can actually cost an arm and a leg. The good news is that this is reimbursable so watching out for billing discrepancies is very important especially when working with multiple carriers.
It’s a good promotional offer to highlight free shipping for your business. However, there is a strategy to get this done without leaving you bankrupt. You can easily save on shipping costs by combining shipping with product costs. In this way, you just add up the shipping fee with the item price.
You can be more competitive in pricing by checking out how your competition does it. So, if you can’t really go low with the pricing then you can put a creative or enticing spin to it like offering “Same Day Shipping” to your customers. This is a real click-bait and your customers would certainly love it. This provides you the competitive edge and hedge you need for your business wherein you can shave costs and boost profit.
Recycle or Reuse Packaging
You can always re-use boxes or other packaging materials to save up on shipping costs. However, never ever reuse manufacturer’s boxes because your insurance wouldn’t cover any losses or damage of the parcel. Only reuse boxes that are in good condition and could keep your products safe and intact.
Your customers would always value transparency in line with your shipping policy and pricing. Providing them the right information plus a shipping calculator on your site would allow them to make well-informed decisions. A lot of customers wouldn’t proceed with the checkout because of the shipping rates.
While there is no such thing as “Free Shipping” as someone is bound to pay for shipping or delivery, providing them more good reasons to buy and take advantage of a “Free Shipping” or “Same Day Shipping” would significantly reduce your shipping costs in the long run.
As an online business, you have to remain competitive yet flexible in the market. Increasing your profit margin is important but the key to that is enhancing buyer experience and engagement. Combining these can be a tricky feat. Smart business practices that are aligned with your buyer personas can easily help you reduce shipping costs and maximize the income potential of your business.