Shipping tips: 5 tips to make shipping a not-so-bad-word for your business

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Shipping tips: 5 tips to make shipping a not-so-bad-word for your business

It’s time to talk about the S word…Shipping.

*Shudders*. Yeah, we know. Since shipping costs can take a significant bite out of your profit margins, this expense has the potential to make or break a small business. Obviously, we want to opt for the former.

1) Think about your ingredients

We’ve all been through the grueling negotiation process of determining topping choice whenever a large group of us have decided to order in pizza. Everyone knows the drill – the more toppings you select, the more expensive the pizza.

The same unfortunate reality applies when determining shipping costs for your goods. The composition of your packaging can add to your product’s weight, which will add to your cost. Like any good burrito (are these too many food analogies?), your stuffing matters.

Think about whether you want to use fancy packing material like embossed kraft paper, or environmentally friendly PCW materials. Does your stuffing weigh too much or does it take up a lot of space? Are you using extra stuffing as void-fill because your boxes are one standard slightly-too-big size?

Make sure your packing materials are protecting the toils of your labour, but avoid too many toppings to keep those shipping costs to a minimum. 

2. Size it up

In order to avoid overspending on shipping, ask yourself if you are using the right sized packaging. Is the structure of your packaging right for your product? You can get more bang for your shipping buck if you’re able to reduce the size of your shipping gear, and sometimes this means being more deliberate in how you choose packaging.

Try and choose packaging that matches the size of your product. If you have a small-sized product, don’t settle for a too-big box that you have to encase with bubble wrap and popcorn. Bigger packages are more costly because they take up more carrier space, so optimize your package size by going flatter, and more form-fitted.  If you don’t need protective armor for your merchandise, consider less bulky packaging like padded envelopes, coffee pouches or cellophane bags.

This is a great opportunity to use your brand’s knack for ‘out of the box’ thinking ;)

3. Try Flat Rate, maybe?

There are several ways that Flat Rate shipping can be attractive to small businesses, but will depend entirely on your own brand’s logistics. While having a known cost variable to depend on is reassuring, make sure you research and shop around with different carriers to determine if a flat rate box or envelope is the best option for your business.  

And don’t ever think you’re too small to negotiate with the big guys! Shipping companies in Canada and the US like FedEx, Purolator, USPS, Canada Post and UPS want your business just as much as you need their service. See if you can strike a deal for a certain outgoing box size and quantity and take advantage of any savings program to be as cost-effective as you can be.

4. Don’t play guessing games 

Unexpected added expenses are not our friend. And the last thing you want is to run into this friend when you’re at the post office, ready and excited to ship out your product to anticipating customers.  To ensure a successful e-commerce shipping strategy for your brand, look for transparency and pay that forward.

Make sure you understand the policies of the carrier company you’ve selected. This means understanding their liability with lost, damage or returned packages as well as rates and how charges can differ according to mode of transportation and delivery timing.

And would you believe it, your customers also do not like surprise costs! A study conducted by Forrester exploring why web buyers abandon their online shopping cart shows that shipping and handling costs are the #1 driver in cart abandonment. While losing some customers is definitely to be expected, the study also indicated that listing costs too late in the checkout process is also a major contributor to abandonment.

Be plain and straightforward about your shipping policy and make it clear whether or not they will be paying for delivery. If shipping is going to cost them, make sure to introduce it early on in the checkout process to avoid any shock.  

5. Follow the yellow brick road (and take it back around)

Part of ensuring success in your brand’s shipping strategy is by remembering to link it back to your product roadmap. When you think about the vision you have in mind for your business, it is important to define them through a product strategy that has measurable initiatives to get there. And by linking shipping solutions as a specific initiative to achieve your long-term business goals, you remember to always think every decision all the way there.

‘Making more product’ isn’t just ending with pumping out more product, but making it all the way through shipping. Similarly, shipping your product also isn’t the end of your product roadmap- but in a way, a beginning (so profound).

Shipping initiates a feedback loop that confirms what your brand is doing right or challenges what you can be doing better for your customers. It gives you the chance to build on what you have, improve, and show off those results the next time.

 





1 Response

bianca
bianca

November 22, 2016

Wonderful post that! Retailers around the globe know how important Ecommerce is for their businesses, but some may think that it could be a fleeting trend. Ecommerce offers businesses an opportunity to offer their customers a constant convenience. Another most important thing is you can stay afloat with rising shipping rates by choosing the right service type and do not miss to get late shipment refunds. LateShipment.com helps you in getting your refunds by automatically auditing shipments, making your claim process effortless by tracking and automatically requesting refunds for all eligible shipments. Do get in touch with people at Lateshipment for further needs.

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