Did you know that most people have started to shop online? If you’re a small business and rely on the shipping industry, we can help.
In this guide, we’ll go over small business shipping tips. Learn how to ship your items at a cost-effective price.
Want to learn more? Keep reading.
1. Factor Your Shipping Costs
Most customers will want their items to arrive speedily. Fast shipping will cost you more. There are different ways to offset the price you’ll pay for free or expedited shipping.
Costs involved with shipping can include things like tracking, insurance, packaging, and getting a signature confirmation. If you choose these services, know you will pay more.
Dimensional weight is another factor for carriers. The heavier and bigger your item is, the more you will pay for shipping.
The farther away your package travels, the more you will pay. A commercial property address will cost more compared to delivery to a house.
Do you ship often? A small business owner may not get a discount. Yet, as your business grows, you might have a chance to negotiate a cheaper rate.
2. What’s Your Shipping Strategy?
A lot of businesses will begin to sell out of their garage. Later, you might choose a multi-channel approach like using various marketplaces.
Every channel will have different requirements. Make sure you can manage the rules before you sign up.
Next, determine who you will ship with and what carrier. Using one carrier might give you a better price. Consider a multi-carrier approach. You could match or mix carriers based on the item you will ship.
Will you outsource this? Managing your shipments will become a full-time job on its own. You might want to look at working with a third-party company. Learn more about partnering with a courier company.
3. What Carriers Could You Choose?
You’ll want to learn who the best shipping carriers are for small companies. Not all carriers will have the same price.
You should check the carrier website to make sure they fit your needs. You might choose a multi-channel shipping route.
Small businesses will often use the USPS free priority mail starter kit to set up a PO box. If you don’t ship a lot, you can get a program to cover orders in-house like Click-n-ship.
You can buy and print the postage and shipping labels online. Home pickup is an excellent choice if you can’t go to the post office often. The USPS will give a certificate of mailing for their shipping services.
FedEx has an option for startups called FedEx Small Business. There are many benefits like a rewards program and a packaging help hub. You can calculate the package DIM.
Do you have to ship perishable items? FedEx has temperature-controlled shipping options.
With the UPS, there’s a small business program. You can manage customer returns and schedule pickups.
The carrier will let you brainstorm with the small business solutions team. You can fine-tune your supply chain. You’ll be able to talk about ways to speed up your business growth.
4. What Are Your Shipping Zones?
If a package gets sent from one place to another, it will move through different shipping zones. A shipping zone is an area that gets defined by a carrier. It includes a grouping of address zip codes.
The zones change, but the origin zone will remain zone 1. The destination zone number will be higher the further it is from the shipping zone.
UPS base their zone calculation on the first three numbers of a package’s origin and destination zip code. Your shipping zone will help you negotiate the rate with different carriers.
5. Make Sure to Negotiate the Shipping Rate
As a business owner, negotiate with a shipper that you work with a lot.
Try benchmarking. It’s a negotiation tactic that will highlight how much you ship and what it costs.
Look at the rates a company with a similar product or one in the industry gets. Use the rate as your benchmark to get an equal rate.
6. Pick Up Quality Packaging and Shipping Material
A product that ends up breaking while in transit could result in an unhappy client. Your client will ask for a refund. You’ll end up needing to resend the item and pay more in shipping and inventory.
Customers will leave a bad review which could end up impacting future business.
You can prevent potential damage by preparing your items with care. Make sure you pick up the right packing material. Fragile items should get wrapped in bubble wrap.
7. What About Package Size?
Next, you’ll need to figure out the right size for your packages. You might need to use a polybag instead of a box. You should also get rid of unnecessary filler, so you can make your package size smaller.
When you cut the package size, you’ll end up lowering the dimensional weight. Dimensional weight’s popular with a lot of carriers.
The carriers will charge more money for larger parcels compared to smaller and heavier ones.
8. What About Returns?
As a business owner, you will need to handle some returns. You should try and streamline the return process. Make sure you put a return label in the package.
This way, customers will have an easier time returning the item. You could also send a return address label. This way, the customer has to cover the shipping costs.
Provide your customer the choice of prepaid shipping but inform them the amount gets deducted from the refund.
Streamline Your Small Business Shipping Process
We hope this guide on small business shipping was helpful. You can remove any stress related to shipping by having the right packaging and supplies. Try to negotiate a decent rate with the courier.
Are you looking for more business tips? Check out our resources on the blog.