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7 Ways to Reduce Shipping Costs for Your Business

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The costs of shipping can be a significant expense for any business, but there are ways to reduce them. Here are seven clever ways to help reduce the cost of shipping orders to your customers.

Use a Virtual Mail Address

Businesses usually try and save money on their outgoing shipping costs, and while this is very important, it’s not only these outgoing shipping costs that you can reduce, but incoming shipping costs too. If your customers are returning a product, only having to pay for it to be shipped to a more local virtual post address will mean you’ll pay less to handle the return.

Thanks to the mail scanning service offered by these virtual mail address companies, you can have it shipped from there straight back to the correct supplier, who might also have local depots. This way you’re contributing not only to a reduction in shipping costs, but by reducing shipping distances, you’re making a positive impact on the global carbon footprint too. As an added benefit, if you’re running your business from home, your home business street address might be something to keep private, and you can do that with a virtual post address.

Create a Shipping Policy

A shipping policy provides a good way of setting the expectations that your customers will have when they order physical goods from you. It should deal with aspects like how long your shipping will generally take, what it will cost, and whether certain order values or products might qualify for free shipping. It might also detail how customers can get their shipping expedited.

It’s a useful tool when dealing with customer queries or complaints about shipping times too because it’s publicly available on your website for you to refer customers to. This policy will also serve to save you money on shipping costs because the expectations are set out from the start, so customers can’t realistically request that you deviate from them without having to pay for it.

Use Prepaid Shipping

Carriers will often provide you with a discount on shipping costs if you pay for them upfront. Using prepaid shipping agreements, you might save up to 20% on the cost of sending a package, which is a handy saving. When you pre-pay for shipping, you’ll buy several shipping labels from the carrier and just use them as you have orders to ship. It’s ideal if your products are relatively uniform in size and weight.

Make Your Packages Lighter

When it comes to shipping, weight is money. The more your customers’ packed orders weigh, the more you’re going to pay to ship them. You can reduce the cost of shipping by reducing the weight of your packages. While you might not be able to change the weight of the actual products, you can make changes to the packaging to reduce weight. Try using corrugated cardboard for your boxes to increase the box strength without making it heavier and switch out heavier packing materials for very light options, like air pillows or foam inserts.

Make Your Packages Smaller

Just like you pay for weight when shipping is calculated, you also pay for volume. Making sure you use the correct sized box for the products you’re shipping is crucial to saving money on your shipping costs. Don’t make the mistake of trying to make one box size work for everything, but instead have a few different boxes handy, and base the sizes of the boxes you keep on hand on the size of your products. You can even consider using padded sleeves for items that aren’t fragile for even more cost savings.

Offer Customers a Flat Shipping Rate

The flat rate fee works both ways, but if you set it correctly, you can save yourself some money on shipping. Set your company’s shipping fee to a single amount, regardless of the size or weight of the customer’s order. This means that sometimes the actual cost of shipping will be less than the flat fee, and other times it might be more. If you’ve done your research and used data to help you, you should benefit from all your combined shipping fee payments being slightly more than your actual shipping costs.

Offer Collection

Luckily for you, customers can be impatient, and might not want to wait for their order to be shipped, instead opting to collect it. This will save you money because you won’t have to pay for packaging materials or shipping. Do keep in mind that you’ll need someone to assist customers who choose to collect orders, and it’s only useful for those who live relatively close, so it should only be offered as an alternative to shipping.

Having the knowledge always helps, and in this case, knowing the ins and outs of how carriers determine the costs of shipping can be used to your advantage to ensure you get the best prices for your customer deliveries.

 

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