While retailers with an online presence will know that shipping costs are an unavoidable part of their business model, this does not mean that you cannot dramatically reduce them. Doing so can be an easy way to widen your profit margins without adversely affecting the quality of your products. Here are a few ways to reduce your shipping expenses.
Schedule Your Deliveries Smartly
As a goods-based business or an e-commerce retailer, you will likely have to ship multiple packages on a near-daily basis. Carrier costs will therefore inevitably be a large part of your overhead, but a mistake many smaller retailers make is shipping out goods sporadically or on an individual basis. As a result, you are generally better off to try and send as many items out as possible in one go, even if this means your deliveries will take a little longer than you would like. Minimising the number of individual deliveries you will need to pay for will go a long way to reducing your expenditure. To manage customer expectations over delivery, you can also offer expedited shipping at a rate that covers the additional costs.
Use the Right Packing Materials
Shipping a large number of goods means that breakage is, unfortunately, going to happen. This is especially true if your business is regularly shipping fragile or temperature-sensitive goods. And while insurance can protect you from this to some extent, repeatedly claiming on an insurance policy will inevitably lead to expensive premium rates. Choosing the most suitable packing materials for all the items you ship will consequently help mitigate the number of returns you’ll need to process due to goods being damaged in transit. When using shipping boxes, for example, you should try to use packages that leave as little empty space as possible, reducing the possibility of the product moving around inside and breaking. Combining heavy and lightweight or brittle items in one box will also increase the likelihood of breakages. Fragile materials should also have sufficient protective materials included in the packaging, like bubble wrap. Using perforated paper for your labels can also increase customer satisfaction since they can be torn off more easily and cleanly.
Reuse and Recycle Where Possible
If you are only running a small shipping operation, such as an Etsy store or dropshipping business, reusing packaging materials you already own can be a simple way to quickly reduce your operational costs. These can include moving boxes, or packaging from the company you purchase your materials from. This is particularly advantageous when you are just starting out, as you will likely have less funds than to spend on high-quality packaging from a supplier. What’s more, companies and other organizations will often give away cardboard boxes for free. This is a great way to save money, but it is important to still use the appropriate materials for your products, however.
Not only will embracing reused packaging reduce your overheads in the short-term, but making recycling a significant part of your business model may also help your brand develop an environmentally friendly reputation among your customer base.