We live in the age of online shopping, with most businesses in the world being present online and in e-commerce. Studies show that almost two billion people in the world have purchased goods and services online, and that number will keep climbing every year, perhaps even more so at a time when people are encouraged to stay home.
In an increasingly saturated digital landscape, small businesses need to find ways to set their business apart. Your small business will rise and fall, depending on how you handle shipping and delivery. Shipping methods and costs are incredibly important as these are a major deciding factor for many consumers. If you want your business to succeed, excellent shipping practices are crucial.
If you have been running your small business for a while now, you most likely have a grasp of the basics of shipping and have found practices and services that work for you. But in case you want to up your game in this facet of your business, here are some tips to elevate your business while cutting costs.
Tips to Save Money on Shipping
Build a mutually beneficial relationship with your shipping company.
If you have found a reliable shipping company that suits your business and meets your shipping needs and requirements, then keep building a mutually beneficial relationship with them. They are ultimately your partner in keeping your business afloat—it’s a symbiotic relationship in that you need them to deliver goods to your customers, and your store keeps them in business as well.
Keep your communication lines open and consult with them regarding shipping schedules and practices to keep your shipping costs low. Walk them through your small business’s shipping requirements. They’re the experts, so they can give you advice on whether it’s best to deliver shipments by air or land. Having a good relationship with your shipping carrier can also allow you to negotiate better rates. Consider working with multiple shipping carriers to know which of them works best with you.
Buying fresh boxes and bubble wrap regularly can take a toll on your bottom line. It’s also not doing Mother Nature any favors. Here are some ways to recycle packaging:
- Reuse whatever boxes and bubble wrap you can from packages that were delivered to you.
- Use old newspapers or pages from old magazines as an alternative to bubble wrap.
- Remove logos or stickers from other companies’ boxes and reuse them.
Stay on top of technology.
Keep your eyes open for new apps or software you can use to improve your shipping practices. Make use of tracking tools like Shippo or ShipStation. Find the tool that best suits your business and meets its needs. Many of these programs are not just tracking tools; they also help business owners manage orders, negotiate rates, and print shipping labels.
Tips for Excellent Shipping
Monitor your partner carrier closely.
Keep a close eye on the shipping company that delivers your products and ensure that they’re delivering packages on time so that your customers are not turned off. Studies show that more than half of consumers are much less likely to shop with the same retailer if the shipping is delayed by two or more days. Delayed shipping negatively impacts your business more than you know.
Consider personalizing every package.
One thing that sets small businesses apart from big corporations like Amazon or Walmart is their “customized” or “personalized” approach. Consumers would be hard-pressed to feel warmth or genuine care by purchasing from Fortune 500 companies, but they can get that feeling from your small, charming business or store. Here are some ways cost-effective ways to personalize every package for your customers:
- Use one of those flat envelopes to send handwritten thank-you cards that contain your online store or business’s complete contact information and details.
- Add in a small freebie or token to give them an incentive to order again.
Invest in sustainable packaging.
Research shows that the 2020 coronavirus pandemic is leading to a surge of more ethical or conscious behavior among consumers. As the earth contends with the effects of climate change, more and more people will start to care about how their products are made and delivered. We need to be able to get behind this trend not only to retain consumers but also because it’s the right thing to do for our planet. Use only recyclable and eco-friendly packaging like cardboard, paper void fill, and molded pulp forms.
Make or Break
How you ship orders to your customers can make or break your business. So focus on doing excellent practices and watch your clientele grow.