Do you love savings? Of course you do! Like any online business owner will tell you, shipping costs can eat away at margins like none other. But, here at ShipMonk, we’re passionate about two things: shipping your orders and saving you money. Combine those two together and voila, you’ve got this article!
After a few years in the game, we’ve compiled our best tips and tricks on how you can score big when it comes to shipping. Read on to get the shipping 411!
1. Choose the Right Shipping Method
Before you pledge loyalty to a particular carrier, be sure to compare services across the board. For example, USPS First Class or Priority Mail is a cost-effective option for packages weighing less than 2 lbs. On the other hand, FedEx and UPS are both known to cater to heavier packages. If your inventory is extensive, using a mix of different services might be your best bet. There are many options to explore, which is why we’ve created this handy infographic to guide you along the way!
2. Negotiate Your Shipping Rates
Ask and you shall receive! Sometimes. If you’ve got a high order volume, negotiating with your carrier is one of the best things you can do to reduce your shipping rates. Since it’s in your carrier’s best interest to keep you as a customer, they’ll likely be willing to settle on a compromise with you. Make them extra willing by comparing the rates you’ve received from other 3PLs. That way, they’ll know they’ve got some competition!
3. Use Delayed Shipping Notifications
Fast shipping is pretty much the standard in eCommerce nowadays. However, not all businesses are equipped to spend the extra money on expedited shipping, especially those who are just starting out. In order to simulate the experience of faster shipping, you can try using delayed shipping notifications. Basically, this means that the customer receives an email with their tracking number some time after the package actually ships.
For example, let’s say you select a shipping method that takes 6 days to get to your customer. When the order ships, you’ll withhold sending the notification by a day or two. Therefore, an order that actually took 6 days to arrive will be perceived by your customer to have only taken 3 days. This way, you’ll be able to save money by using slower, cheaper shipping methods, which is especially useful if you’re just starting out and have limited resources (for now!).
4. Use the Proper Packaging Materials
Here’s the scoop: Bad packaging can cost you. Packaging is often an afterthought to eCommerce merchants, but that shouldn’t be the case. Good packaging can not only make your brand stand out, it can also save you some pretty pennies along the way!
What do we mean by that? Well, let’s take you back to a little thing called dimensional weight, or DIM weight for short. DIM weight is a pricing technique used by shipping carriers to optimize space and maximize profitability. For an in-depth look into DIM weight and how to calculate it, check out this blog post as well as our handy DIM weight calculator!
If you’re still not convinced on why good packaging matters, the proof is in the DIM weight pudding. Shipping carriers tend to penalize oversized packages, which is why adjusting your packaging to properly fit your inventory is key. Luckily, packaging is standardized in a way where you should have an easy time finding something that works for you and your budget. As long as you don’t use a huge box for a tiny product, you’ll be good to go!
5. Reuse Packaging
Reuse, reduce, recycle! Returns are inevitable, so make lemons into lemonade by reusing packing peanuts, bubble wrap, and shipping boxes. Not only will reusing packaging help your business out, it will leave a positive impression on your customers, many of whom are shifting towards the trend of being more conscientious as a whole. Turns out, being environmentally friendly spells big wins all around!
6. Split Your Inventory
Distributing your products across multiple locations isn’t just an inventory-management strategy — it’s also an effective way to cut down on your shipping costs! By setting up shop across the nation (or across the globe), you’ll be able to reach your customers Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.
Of course, there are other factors to consider when making this decision, which is why carefully weighing your options beforehand is essential. But, if splitting your inventory is in the cards, you’ll score some major brownie points with antsy customers while saving on long-distance shipping. Win-win!
7. Get Outside Help
We like outsourcing and we cannot lie. While we may be biased, outsourcing your fulfillment just makes sense, especially when it comes to shipping. For one, 3PLs have significantly more leverage to negotiate shipping rates due to their high order volume, which means you’ll be in on some sweet deals. Second, they’re well aware of things like DIM weight, which means they’re experts in packaging your products to save the most time, space, and money while still looking presentable.
There you have it, folks! We don’t deny that shipping can get expensive, but it certainly doesn’t have to be the case! By taking the right precautions, you’ll find that you’ll be able to boost your bottom line and keep your customers happy. Of course, if you feel like you need some help along the way, don’t be afraid to shoot us a line!