One of the most important parts of running an eCommerce store is making sure your products get delivered to the right person. Choosing the best shipping provider is crucial, as they are the ones that take care of the delivery process. Therefore, make sure you choose the best partner possible when delivering your products. If you’re unsure how to find and form a relationship with the right shipping provider for your small business, read on. Here are tips on finding the best shipping carrier for small business.
In this era of Amazon Prime, consumers want their packages faster than ever! Next day shipping can cost you a pretty penny too. Therefore, when selecting the best shipping carrier for small business, factor in your budget. What are you willing to spend on shipping costs for your customers?
You must understand how these costs are calculated in order to get the best deal possible. For starters, the cost can vary depending on the speed and quality of service. Different carriers can offer various packages to suit your budget. If you want to offer same day shipping, look into UPS contract pricing optimization to fulfill your orders.
When trying to narrow down your options, ask yourself the following questions.
- When does the package need to arrive to the customer?
- Is a delivery commitment required before sending out the package?
- Are you shipping certain specialized products like sharp objects or alcohol?
- Do they have technology services?
- Is tracking the package required?
- Is a signature required upon delivery?
- Can you send out packages to both commercial and residential residents?
Next, consider the dimensions and weight of each of your products when trying to find the best shipping carrier for small business.
Bigger and heavier packages can add to the total cost. Certain carriers may even restrict packages above a certain weight.
Breaking Down Dimensions and Weight
The most popular shipping carriers, like FedEx, UPS, and USPS, calculate their rates based on DIM — or dimension weight.
This DIM calculated is based on the package size, and not its fixed weight. These carriers will charge more for light packages, like custom jewelry. When trying to determine the best rate when shopping for shipping carriers, calculate the DIM of each package by using this simple equation.
- (length) x (width) x (height) over divisor
The higher the divisor, the lower your shipping rate will total out to.
However, also consider the fact that most major carriers also offer flat rate shipping if you meet certain requirements. Ensure you look into these numbers, too, as it can help you make the most cost effective choice for your small business.
Regarding flat rates, USPS and UPS have flat rate boxes that allow for a 70 lbs order. FedEx has one rate boxes that can go up to 50 pounds. Which do you think would be the best shipping carrier for small business?
The, there’s another option — cubic pricing is another cost looking into for your small business.
Cubic shipping is quite simple. When you ship a small yet heavy object, you won’t receive the same rate as a larger package that’s the same weight. If this appeals to you, USPS offers this arrangement for their Priority shipments. However, another factor for cubic shipping is the minimum weight. If the package is less than 20 pounds, it must follow a formula to total the final cubic rate.
Plug your numbers into this formula: length x width x height / 1728. This will calculate the cubic feet.
However, shipping costs are not the only thing you should consider when trying to narrow down the best shipping carrier for small business. The distance your package is traveling will also affect the cost greatly.
Most carriers base their distance rates on zones. The major carriers like UPS and FedEx calculate the distance rate by utilizing these zones, so the cost should not differ greatly pretend adjacent states. Shipping internationally, on the other hand, can cause the price of shipping to skyrocket drastically. Use a zone calculator when shipping your items domestically, however, if you are planning on shipping across international waters, ask yourself these questions. You’ll then be able to narrow down the best shipping carriers for small business.
- Are there certain products that are forbidden to ship to certain countries? Brazil does not allow playing cards.
- Will you have to pay an added value tax for shipping internationally?
- Are you willing to charge more for your items if you’re shipping internationally? It can help you make a profit.
The Cost of Returns
The cost of returns will also affect who you choose as the best shipping carrier for your business.
You have to prepare for this as a small business owner. No matter how excellent your machine or product is, there will always be someone out there who doesn’t like it. They will change their mind, or realize that it’s not quite what they were looking for. You don’t want returns to run you out of business, so ensure that your shipping carrier has you covered!
Great return policies make for more invested customers. Decide, depending on the value of the item, whether you’d rather issue a refund or send a replacement to the customer without requisition a return of the original item.
If you choose to charge your customers shipping costs to return the unwanted item, figure out what exactly you will be charging them. The right number boils down to your business needs. For instance, if you want to offer free shipping, this will deduct from your monetary gain since it comes out of your own pocket. However, in the end, you will have happier customers who are more likely to shop with you again.
What You Must Know About Shipping Volume
if your business is already thriving, here’s some good news! Shipping your items at a higher and more frequent volume can save you money. After shipping a certain amount of product, you can negotiate a fairer rate with your carrier.
This is why it’s essential to find the best shipping carrier for small business early on. You are developing an important business relationship!
See if your carrier is willing to help you save on additional shipping costs. These aren’t as concrete. Prices like:
- package insurance
- third party insurance through a different party
- costs of specialized packaging like cushioned or insulated boxes
What Should You Charge for Initial Shipping
This is another charge that will affect who the best shipping carrier for small business will be. How much are you willing to charge your customers to get their order shipped? This can greatly affect your competitive edge. Offering free shipping. For instance, it is a lot more attractive to consumers. They may pick your store or site over your competition based on this sole factor. However, not every small business can afford to offer this. Assess your business plan and determine what’s best for your company. If you’re saving money by working with the best shipping carrier for business, it may be wise to offer free shipping for your loyal customers.
Also, keep in mind that many customers are also willing to wait longer periods of time to receive their package if the shipping is offered free of charge. They may be turned off if the shipping cost of their order is astronomically high, even if you offer next day shipping.
If you offer free shipping over a certain dollar amount, customers are also willing to put a few more things in their online cart to reach this number. For example, if you offer free shipping on orders that exceed $50, you can increase your sales, keep customers content, and increase the average customer’s basket size.
Charging Flat Rate Shipping
Charging flat rate shipping is another option if you’re trying to keep costs down while looking for the best shipping carrier for small business.
Not every company can afford to offer free shipping, even over a certain dollar amount. That’s fine because flat rate shipping is your best option. This works well if you offer packages that are roughly the same size and weight — if you sell vehicle repair tools, for instance. This is a more consistent system and can be more cost effective for you in the long run.
Other Ways You Can Save When Searching for the Best Shipping Company
After assessing your needs, it’s time to take a deep dive into some of the best shipping carriers for small business. This research step is crucial to getting the smartest deal. Just like when you’re looking into security services for your home, this step should not be overlooked.
For even more savings, looking into automating your shipping. Shipping software can save you hours of work. Using a dedicated program can also save you some extra cash!
When you automate your shipping, you will almost be guaranteed the best rate. You won’t need to hire a third party to do the math for you, allowing you to increase your production or marketing budget.
You should also look for a carrier that allows you to offer free shipping with a minimum order through one of the best shipping carriers for small business. Not every business is large enough to take the financial plunge towards free shipping for their customers. And that’s fine, especially if your company is at its beginning stages.
You can also experiment with this. Does offering a minimum cost threshold for free shipping help the business?
Additionally, take advantage of fixed rate shipping when sending out your products. This is another way to save money with upon finding the best shipping carrier for small business.
Lastly, if you want to save money and be more environmentally friendly with your shipping choices, consider implementing the three R’s of sustainability — reuse, reduce, and recycle! You can start by using shipping software to automate the backend of the shipping management process. You’ll be reducing your total inventory to the essentials. Next, you can also reuse shipping materials from your returned order. Of course, ensure that they are still in good condition. Throwing a good box out is wasteful! Save some of the strain that can be placed on the Earth and your wallet.
You can also send in a note with your orders to encourage customers to recycle their shipping materials. They can drive to their nearest recycling center or reuse the box if they need to return an order.
Final Words on Finding the Best Shipping Carrier for Small Business
In conclusion, there are many options when it comes to your shipping needs and finding the best shipping carrier for small business can be tough. How can you pick the right carrier that will match your needs and budget? Forming a relationship with the perfect carrier starts with asking the right questions. How big is the object you’re sending? Are you willing to offer free shipping to your customers? These are just some examples. The bottom line is, use these guidelines as a template; you will find a solution that will make life easier for both you and your loyal customers!