The availability of shipping in your business could be the incentive that makes you stand out from most. Inclusivity of shipping gives you an extra dose of points for customer service and for the client that makes it a win situation. In the early 2000s, internet shopping became a pleasure for buyers whose errands end on a click of a button. On the other hand, small business owners are on the scramble balancing shipping costs that sometimes cost more than their profit and that could get in the way of success.
For instance, YouTubers (a growing group of digital businesspeople) encourage more subscribers to view their web video channels by giving away monthly online giveaways to keep their viewers from coming back. This would include free shipping.
Having your shipping handled is like having weight being lifted from your shoulders. And yet, when it’s time for you, the business owner, to ship, the reality of costs start to add up. In 2009, PayPal conducted a survey study on the most likely reasons of online shoppers to abandon their shopping carts. 46% cited high shipping costs as a cause of abandoning their purchase altogether. Amongst the 46 percent, 40% would have appreciated a disclaimer regarding shipping prices. (Evans, 2009) This shows that while people do not mind paying shipping fees, they also want a more economical way of getting the job done.
Managing shipping costs for your business would depend on your business’ subsequent goals. Do you want to cut your shipping entirely or reduce it so that you can maintain reliability with your clients? Consider these options if shipping costs are still an inclusion but less of an investment.
Be familiar with your shipping carrier. As with everything, a little research helps. Knowing what you can. Statistics should be available via inquiry, news or online. Your primary resource would be your shipping representative so communicating well with them is ideal. Representatives won’t risk losing a client, so chances are they will try to accommodate you.
Explore other shipping carriers and their offers. Another tip you can use is to compare prices amongst different carriers to see which one has the best offer. Inquire regarding flat rate shipping that will give you a standardized price indication. Small businesses often forget of their negotiating edge so use this advantage well. If you are a frequent shipper, you could suggest to lower rates since you use their services more.
Go Regional. You can get a good deal from your regional carrier. They bring packages to different areas throughout the US. Some of them have partnerships with major retailers (Amazon, Walgreens, etc.). A known advantage of regional carriers is that they can have 15 to 30% cheaper freight rates than their national counterparts. They also have reduced surcharges and accessorial rates. Regional carriers are also faster and capable of same-day deliveries. (Steiner, 2015)
Maximize packaging and supplies provided by your carrier. This is a general tip suggested by most business websites. Having a loyal carrier is the closest you can get to having a sponsor so while you are at it, use their provided equipment and follow carrier conditions to save on costs. Using your own computers, printers, and envelopes can be liable to extra charges. Having excess carrier weight/product volume may also lead to similar consequences. Also having a strong data destruction provider is important and we suggest also Googling “Springfield, MO paper shredding” or a paper shredding service in your area to find one that can help your business in this area.
Online Payment. Sometimes it pays to do what the client does. In this case, literally. Paying your rates via online of your carrier can save you 60% of express mail. Online carriers also provide you with free pickup services and shipping supplies.