Shipping. It’s probably not the reason you got into business. However, as more people buy more things online, it can keep your business afloat. If shipping is a hassle, then you’re going to be really frustrated and tired about this whole process and that is not what we want.
So, in this blog, we’re going to cover key things for how to set a shipping strategy for your small business. Let’s ship like a pro!
What is eCommerce Shipping?
E-commerce shipping encompasses all the services required to transport products purchased from a retailer online to the customer’s delivery destination. With the right partner, e-commerce shipping can be manageable, affordable and fast.
Strategies of Shipping Companies
Everyone expects their online orders to be shipped quickly and securely. We all know that feeling when it says five to seven business days and it starts looking more like it’s going to be seven. It matters that things arrive on time and in one piece but what’s the best way to ship?
Without further ado, we present to you our list of four things you should consider for shipping your product.
4 Things to Consider Before Shipping
Definitely look into bulk materials and flat rate boxes. You can save Money by going with those. And here’s a little trick, some carriers will even give you shipping supplies for free.
Certain products are forbidden in other countries. Products such as nail polish or perfume can’t be shipped internationally. And boots can’t be sent to the big boot. We don’t know why either. So unless your business model is centered around smuggling, we’d recommend you doing your research.
3# Speed and Cost
People expect both free and fast shipping options, and that’s not cheap.
Here are a couple of ways to reduce shipping cost:
- Offer free shipping with minimum orders, such as $50 or more on an order.
- Offer flat shipping rates which means your customers pay the same amount for shipping, no matter how much they buy.
Here smaller orders that cost less than your rate will make up for the larger ones.
Shipping one piano is going to require a different approach than say shipping a hundred pianos. Obviously. That covers it for our tips. Now let’s figure out what kind of shipping services you should go with:
- If you’re shipping less than a hundred orders per month, Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx all offer delivery programs for small businesses.
- If you’re shipping more than a hundred orders per month or shipping large items, you should outsource. That’s when a third party stores your inventory and ships your orders for you.
- Finally, if you’re shipping big kid packages, go with Freight Shipping. Freight allows you to ship heavy packages over 150 pounds or bulk packages by land, air, or sea.
How to ship products to customers?
The first step in any delivery operation is putting the products in a box, right? So when you take your item and put it in a box, we want you to pretend that the box is being thrown around in the back of a truck.
We know that seems traumatic, but that’s actually what happens. Your item is going to be taken from your house and put in a truck and then another truck. That’s why you need to make sure that your items are packed VERY well.
Not only is your box the first thing a customer receives but it’s the first bit of branding that’s in their hands that’s telling them about what they can expect.
- Look across your range of products and find the sizes that will work best for you.
- Select the mailers or boxes that are going to protect your products
- If it means paying a little bit more for bubble wrap or especially side boxes, it’s usually worth it.
- You can use bubble wrap over something like newspaper because newspaper gets heavy whereas bubble wrap is just air.
- The United States Postal Service (USPS) provides boxes for you for free for priority and express mail. You can order those online at USPS.com. They’ll ship it to you for free as well or you can even grab them at your local USPS store. But only for their priority and express mail boxes. Don’t steal their other packaging supplies. 🙂
Software and sites that you can use to buy postage at home
Here is what should happen: An order comes in and it either goes directly to some kind of shipping software automatically or you just input the details by copying and pasting it into some delivery program. Then you package up your product and then a label comes out of a printer and you put it on your shipping box and it’s out the door.
With a workflow like that it can take 2 minutes to get something ready to ship. This workflow isn’t going to be free but it’s going to save you a ton of time and that’s worth the small cost it will take to get this set up.
You need some shipping software that integrates with your shop and anywhere else you sell online.
So some popular ones are:
- Stamps.com and
- Pirate Ship which is free just to name a few of the software that’s available.
The software will most likely have some pretty cool features like being able to pay for postage online from the comfort of your own home and printing out labels. That means you can prepare your products for delivery directly from your home.
You even can schedule a free USPS pick up and they’ll grab your packages from your front door. If you sell larger items and you prefer to use DHL or FedEx, most of these software’s also connect with those services.
3 E-Commerce Shipping Tools and Equipment Every Small Business Needs
Here are some tools and equipment that will help you on your journey.
- Weighing Scale
That’s why all the features we’ve just covered will only work if you have the right weight on your products. This is because most shipping services charge you a different price based on weight. So you want it to be accurate here to not underpay or overpay.
In addition to a scale, you will also want a printer. You can use your regular inkjet, laser printer or get label sheets but what we recommend are thermal printers. Thermal printers work like magic! They are great because you don’t need to purchase separate ink like you would with a regular inkjet or laser printer.
How to Charge Customers for Shipping & International Shipping Rates
If you’re not ready for international shipping don’t worry about it yet. Just focus on your domestic customer, spend your time providing the best service for your domestic customers. So, they can provide you the best reviews, entice more other people and build the trust for your website and for your company. Hopefully from that traffic you’ll build more international customers wanting to buy your product.
A question you may have is how do you know when it’s the right time to start serving international people? Well, when you start having the demand for it.
So once you get your first “Hey, do you ship to the UK or Africa?” type of requests, then you want to start thinking about shipping internationally and figure out if that’s right for you at this moment for your small business.
Nothing wrong with expanding your market as you do get more customers. You can explain your business but definitely ask yourself if it’s right for you or if you should focus locally, small or domestically in your own country.
How much to charge for shipping?
Let’s say you’re based in the US and you get an order from the UK, national shipping for a first-class package using USPS for them to receive their package within seven business days would be around $15.
If you’ll be shipping internationally, you may choose to ship through DHL because they’re an international shipping company. Also we can say that DHL is more secure than USPS and they specifically deal with worldwide shipping.
Shipping Policy Generator
You want to create an international shipping policy as a business owner, go on USPS, UPS or Fedex, they have articles and blogs that let you know.
It is not the business or the company’s responsibility. It’s their responsibility. If they want to receive the product they have to pay up. Remember this: They receive that bill not you or your company.
It’s deadly important to have shipping insurance. The way it protects your order if your order happens to get lost whether it be domestically or internationally. Having insurance on it ensures that you can get your money back. When you file a claim to your career site whether it be USPS, Fedex or UPS to your website provider.
And that’s it. Now you have your map to guide you through the wild world of shipping. Go send some packages.
If you’re looking to create an e-Commerce shipping plan to reach customers worldwide, check out Shopiroller. Our team is always here to help you to grow your business and achieve success in 2023!