As a small business owner, you have no doubt spent an equally ample amount of time figuring out the perfect pricing for your products. But have you also thought about the cost of delivering your product to the customer? Shipping for small business can be confusing at first, but with some research and a little bit of advice, you can nail it. You put a lot of effort into making sure your customers have a great experience. You approve the images, you tweak your store, and you write the emails, all with the goal of leaving your customers happy.
But when it comes to shipping, it can feel like you’re handing your brand over to a stranger.
“To be successful, you should have your heart in your business, and your business in your heart.” – Thomas J. Watson
With some thought and planning, however, it doesn’t have to feel that way—which is a good thing, because shipping is a key part of your business. It’s the point where a customer finally experiences your product in person, and it can also represent a major expense in your business, depending on your shipping strategy.
That’s why is so important to map out a defined shipping strategy. Since the world of shipping and fulfillment can seem complex when you’re not familiar with it, we’ve got an overview of everything you’ll need to know to make sure you will find “the best shipping rates for small business.”
We will go over some of the basics of shipping your products and help demystify this complicated topic. We will talk about setting your shipping strategy, packaging, provide resources to popular carriers, look at tracking and insurance, balancing shipping costs with profitability, how those can help you streamline your shipping and help to make it all easier.
How much is it to ship a package?
To determine how much it costs to ship a package, you’ll need to consider the variables that make up your total shipping cost. The primary cost is the shipping rate, or what the carrier charges to physically transport your package. There are some main variables that factor into calculating your shipping rate. You can see below :
SIZE – WHAT ARE THE PACKAGE DIMENSIONS?
The size of a parcel impacts its carrier fees. Utilizing space within your package is a great way to avoid overpaying for shipping. Different carriers charge differently based on a package’s weight. This can lead to increased charges, such as dimensional weight surcharges. Additionally, UPS and FedEx charge dimensional weight at a greater rate than USPS. As a general rule, the bigger the package, the more it costs to ship, so pack strategically; no heavier than necessary, but with plenty of padding and sturdy boxes!
WEIGHT – HOW HEAVY IS THE PACKAGE?
The weight of the package includes the product and the packing materials. Keep in mind that all national carriers typically round up to the next whole pound for the shipping cost. One way to pay less for your items despite their weight is to check into their cubic pricing and check for discounted rates that way. This allows you to ship small, heavy parcels at a discounted rate.
DISTANCE – WHERE IS THE PACKAGE GOING?
The rule is simple: the farther away the recipient’s shipping zone is, the more gas, jet fuel, and resources it takes to get it there. Thus, the carrier fee will be higher. For example, the USPS splits the United States into 9 zones to easily measure their costs for distance. For example, if you ship something to a local destination, it would be zone 1. Sending a package across the country might be zone 5 or above. Any time we mention zones in this guide, keep in mind that we will be referring to USPS Zones. USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate packaging is a common way to ship to higher USPS zones without the price increasing.
SPEED – HOW FAST DOES THE PACKAGE NEED TO GET THERE?
The speed at which a parcel is delivered will greatly increase the shipping cost. Unless you sell perishable goods or, say, aquarium fish, sellers are largely unconcerned with the delivery time of a package. When a consumer requests an express service, the carrier may utilize a completely different system of vehicles. Instead of staying on the ground and being shipped by trucks and cargo trucks, they’re shipped in airplanes, and pass through sorting facilities at a greater speed. This inflates the price significantly.
Tracking Services: Tracked services require more attention than those that don’t offer tracking. Because of this, their rates are higher. Some cheaper services that don’t offer tracking are USPS First Class Mail without Delivery Confirmation and USPS First Class Mail Letters or Flat Envelopes.
Insurance: Adding insurance to a parcel will increase the shipping rate unless it’s over the carrier’s default coverage. Frequently, third party insurance, such as Shipsurance, is available at a better rate than carrier insurance.
Using a shipping calculator
Every shipping carrier has a different shipping rate system. Use a carrier’s shipping calculator to determine the best option for a package. You can easily find a carrier’s shipping calculator right on their website. Once you do, enter in the details of your package.
Shipping rates are highly related on your shipping method.
There are plenty of shipping methods you can offer through eCommerce platforms like Shopify, WordPress, Magento, etc. Some will be very attractive to your customers but you need to consider the costs to your business.
Your standard methods are in a large variety:
Think about free shipping:
Free shipping makes it easier for a browser to buy your product because what they see is what they get. It’ll generally work for you too – if the shipping cost is no more than 20 percent of your product price. See what your competition’s doing. If they’re all offering free online shipping, it’s going to be hard for you not to.
Flat-rate shipping as another one
Flat-rate shipping is an extra cost for your customer but it’s fixed and uncomplicated. They know what’s coming before they make the purchase. This method works best when your products, packaging and shipping costs don’t vary much. It can also save you time – simply calculate the shipping costs once and apply it across your business.
Consider real-cost shipping
Real-cost shipping is what it sounds like. Customers are charged the precise cost of shipping a product – based on its size, weight and destination. It’s accurate and transparent but the calculation takes time and the costs can seem unpredictable to your customers. On the other hand, it’ll protect you from picking up the bill for heavy or oversized parcels and is especially helpful when your product sizes vary widely.
The importance of same-day delivery
If you’re targeting local customers, same-day delivery can be a real selling point – especially as Christmas or Valentine’s day draws near. It’ll take more time to set up this service. You’ll have to work out a deal with a local delivery company, and you may have to customize your eCommerce platform – depending on who you’re with.
Whichever of these options you use, make it easy for customers to understand your shipping fees on your website. You should also be aware that you’ll probably work with a mix of local and international shipping providers to deliver these services. Whoever you choose, make sure they allow your customers to track and trace their items in route.
Product weights. To streamline the process, measure and update the weight of each product you sell. Having that information set up will help you get a good sense of your total costs, and pass along accurate prices to your customers.
Choose your preferred packaging. While there’s more to be said about what kind of packaging is right for your products, once you’ve selected it, you can add that information to Shopify so you can calculate accurate shipping prices.
Source your packaging. You can order free packaging from USPS, UPS, or DHL, or invest in branded packaging if that’s part of your strategy.
Set your shipping rates and methods
Before you can ship products, you’ll first need to decide your pricing strategy for shipping. There are several common methods, but your choice should always be informed by the underlying financials of your business.
There are many ways to build brand awareness and loyalty through your packing, such as unique design or package shape. Try to think outside the box.
Use inserts to bring your customers back
When sending a package to your customer, don’t just put your product inside. Use the opportunity to encourage them back.
Consider inserts like:
- discount offers, such as a free shipping voucher or a discount on their next order
- samples of other products they might like
- small gifts, such as sample stock from your suppliers
- personalized thank you cards – large companies don’t have the resources to do this, so it’s a competitive advantage
Let’s think wise for the cheapest costs options
Low shipping costs are key for eCommerce businesses. They protect your bottom line, pass the savings on to the customer, and can continue to give you deeper discounts the more you ship. Implementing a better shipping strategy widens your profit margins and removes guesswork around which carrier services to use for your shipments. Before we can find what is the cheapest way to ship a package, we first need to clarify find how to shipping rates are calculated..
As the world of eCommerce develops so do the expectations of customers who buy online. Years ago, packaging and shipping was simply a way to receive a product purchased online, but more and more people are looking for eco friendly shipping, packaging and presentation as part of the eCommerce experience.
In a world where sealed factory bags and a black-and-white order receipt are considered standard, it’s the small details like this that go a long way in making an exceptional impression on customers. No matter what method or carrier you end up with, shipping for small businesses isn’t hard once you get the right information. Call up a consultant and do your research. You never know what kind of deals you can get when it comes to shipping! But reading this article will help you for sure to find out best shipping rates for your small business, and why not to grow more in the future and to fulfill your goals more easily ….