Small Business Tips: Reduce Shipping Costs With These Ideas
With the role of e-commerce gaining more and more significance as means to do business in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, shipping has become its most valuable partner. However, the shipping costs have a notable influence on customers’ purchase decisions. In this article, we will dive deep into How to reduce shipping costs for small businesses.
If you’re a newbie, check The eCommerce Shipping Guides For Starter.
In the United Kingdom, according to Nosto (2021), fashion and clothing hold 55% or the number one spot in terms of purchased goods next to food deliveries at 32%. The top reason why customers prefer buying these items in the e-commerce market is the attractive offer of free shipping.
Saleh (2021) revealed how free shipping actually influences online buying decisions. He mentioned that 61% of customers are likely to abandon their carts if free shipping is not offered by the merchant, 93% are encouraged to buy more products unplanned if a free shipping option is available, 58% add items to their carts just to qualify for the promo while only a few at 28% shop at the physical store instead.
With these trivial statistics, not only does it highlight the vital role of reducing shipping costs but how it makes shopping more convenient for people. Its presence also meant that shopping can be achieved at a relatively cheaper price since you do not have to go to the store anymore, spend money for meals (as most consumers have the habit of dining out after shopping), and save time to do it.
However, with the emergence of the pandemic, the shipping costs have surged and are slowly becoming a burden on the side of small business owners. Known to any business principle, the best time to gain profit is when there is such a high demand for the service.
The Pandemic can be both challenge or a chance for merchants. Learn more in COVID-19 Business Strategies: Survive and Thrive.
Naturally, everyone will strike and will always mean business while it is hot. Regrettably, not all small businesses can cover free shipping options for their customers. However, there are fun and creative ways to reduce shipping costs to still keep patrons in line. With a few creative ideas, you can continue to run the business competitively.
Here are few ways you can try that are as equally convincing as free shipping:
- Negotiate with your shipping partner
Yes, you actually can because like any other business, they can offer you bulk or reduced prices too. Make scouting a habit, be it for your supplies or your products for shipping. Compare the rates they offer and once you have finalized your plans, negotiate. If the shipping company values businesses of all forms and sizes, they will need your business as much as you need them.
- Check your packaging
After you calculate shipping costs, ensure that you are packing your products for shipping properly to minimize broken returns and potential bad reviews towards your brand. Also, if certain products get broken while they are in transit, most couriers do not hold liability and you were asked to sign a waiver for that. As a result, this goes on top of your expenses as waste so to spare yourself from this trouble, pack properly.
Use courier-prescribed boxes, packaging tapes, and fillers. Not only do these protect your products but it is also a good representation of your brand. Prevent any loss or damage to your products by packing tightly as possible to avoid extra space and movement while in transit. You can also reduce a few bucks if you can work on different packaging materials.
For example with toys, since they are all not in the same shape, perhaps you can do away with boxing and just make use of parcel packaging so no hollow spaces are left in between. This saves you space and dimension which can strip off a few bucks in the total shipping cost.
- Find shipping coupons and discounts for your customers
This is the most personalized way you can assist them in checking out their carts. Shipping discounts are everywhere. This is because they are more reasonable to give out considering that businesses have overheads to pay. Offering this kind of discount provides your consumer another reason why they should buy your products. Not only do discounts help your online shoppers but they also help you in terms of sales, reputation, and brand recognition.
- Make use of flat rate shipping
Flat rate shipping only means that the shipping cost is not attributed to the weight, shape, and size of the shipped item. It is always based on how much you can put into the box provided by the shipping company. This is cost-efficient as you do not have to buy boxes anymore or go to the post office since shipping companies come to you personally to collect all of them and usually, these shipments are automatically scheduled online.
Shipping costs are truly unavoidable in e-commerce. Hopefully, these ideas help you come up with more ways to reduce shipping costs taking into account that many customers often want to pay as little as possible.
Focus on the creation of cost-effective and customer-centered marketing and delivering strategies. Do not look at it as if shipping companies are a cost center for your business, look at them as a strong group that backs up your business by bridging you and your products to your paying customers and there will always be a price for that.
For more tips on improving your store, check out our other articles here on Autoketing.
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About the Author:
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated into his works.
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