1) Ship Subscription Boxes by Cubic Weight
One of the most efficient ways to reduce the cost of subscription box shipping is to use the Cubic Weight system. Carriers like USPS provide discounted rates for customers with high volume who ship small, heavy packages. Priority mail packages weighing less than 20 pounds and measuring less than .5 cubic feet volume are eligible. In the simplest of terms, your customers pay for the actual size and distance the box is traveling rather than how much it weighs.
This type of volume can difficult to obtain, but it doesn’t mean that the savings are completely out of reach. Asking your supplier to use your corporate shipping account is one way to boost your yearly numbers. Another alternative to consider is to use a third party fulfillment center that can share the benefits of economies of scale. Fulfillment centers that ship thousands of packages a month are capable of negotiating with the major mail carriers on your behalf. If you do choose to go this route, be sure to choose a fulfillment center that’s both small enough to give you personalized attention and big enough to qualify for cubic weight shipping.
2) Use FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost to Send Subscription Boxes
The next best way to reduce your shipping costs of subscription boxes is to use FedEx SmartPost or UPS SurePost. SmartPost and SurePost is less expensive than traditional ground service. Delivery prices are determined by the way your subscription boxes reach their designated locations.
The most expensive part of delivery is mail carriers driving their massive trucks to your customer’s home or office. Standard delivery services from FedEx and UPS add surcharges based on the delivery area, which can quickly drive up your shipping costs. SmartPost and SurePost eliminate these surcharges by picking up the package from your location and delivering it the final zone. From there the customers’ local USPS branch will make the ‘last mile’ delivery. Then your customers’ local mail carrier adds those packages to his daily route. SmartPost is one of the most efficient ways for you to deliver your subscription box and more than often translates into extra savings for you.
3) Using Discounts from a Fulfillment Center
We’ve briefly mentioned a benefit of using a fulfillment center in the first section, but there is much more to it than just negotiating carrier rates. Fulfillment centers tend to work directly with shipping materials manufacturers and purchase things like boxes, tape, packing materials, labels, and printers at wholesale prices. If you’re buying these items retail, you’ll quickly learn that starting a subscription box and also fulfilling orders yourself can be quite expensive.
In addition, if an error occurs, the best fulfillment centers in the business will usually send out the correction at no additional cost to you whereas that shipping cost would come out directly out of your pocket if handled in-house. When you add up all the discounts fulfillment centers can get—shipping carrier discounts, packaging materials purchased wholesale, reduced labor costs—the best choice may be to outsource your entire fulfillment operation.
What methods do you use to decrease the cost of shipping your subscription boxes? Feel free to email your tips and tricks to be featured on our blog!