With over half a billion small businesses opening their doors every year and eCommerce increasingly becoming a retail juggernaut, one industry has benefited tremendously.
Shippers/logistics services companies are worth over 10 billion dollars today and will grow to over 12 billion by the year 2023. While that’s good news for shippers, that’s bad news for small business owners like you that are fueling that growth with the rising cost of shipping inventory.
Therein lies the value of this post.
Below, we’re going to share tips/strategies on how to attain low cost shipping services for your business. In doing so, you’ll see your profit margins widen, your customer-base grow and you’ll be in a position to better compete with big box operations.
1. Make Free Consumer Shipping Your Goal.
The purpose of attaining low-cost shipping as a business owner is so you can pass most of those savings onto consumers by lowering their shipping rates.
Because companies like Amazon have set the bar on low-cost shipping. As it turns out, that bar is a hard one to beat given that it’s set at $0.00.
Per that fact, your goal as a small business owner should be to make your consumer shipping rates competitive with Amazon’s. While that may not be possible now, as you attain more shipping discounts, use them to inch closer to that goal.
2. Compare Rates.
The most simple way to attain low-cost shipping is to compare rates among shippers. As far as providers go, you have three primary options in the United States:
Each of these three shippers will offer different rates for the same packages. See which shippers offer the most competitively priced services for your needs and award them all of your business.
Getting a quote for LTL shipping on large volumes of products is a more cumbersome process than getting quotes for small, domestic parcels. If you have special shipping needs, contact specialized freight organizations directly for information on what they offer.
3. Raise Your Item’s Prices.
If you’re not sure how else you can inch your consumer shipping costs closer to free, raising prices could be an option.
On its head, raising an item’s price and discounting that amount from shipping might not seem like a valuable move. In reality, a consumer may be more drawn to an item that’s $5.00 more expensive but ships free as opposed to one that’s cheaper but costs $5.00 to ship.
Your market’s conditions will dictate whether or not baking shipping into your item’s prices will allow you to stay competitive.
4. Entice a Minimum Order.
Another way that you can lower your consumer’s shipping costs is by enticing a minimum order. For example, you may be able to afford to offer free shipping if your customers spend at least $50.00 on products.
If that’s the case, give your customers that option.
Doing so will create a win-win for you and your customers since you can offer them free shipping and you get to move higher volumes of inventory.
5. Keep Your Inventory Light.
One of the ways that young entrepreneurs run up exorbitant shipping costs that they’re forced to pass onto consumers is that they ship heavy inventory. In general, the heavier your inventory is, the more expensive it’s going to be to move.
Because of that, we recommend that entrepreneurs focus on ventures that deal with small and light items. Building your business around a light product could save your company thousands of dollars per year in shipping.
6. Avoid Odd Shapes.
Another factor that can unnecessarily ruin your low-cost shipping aspirations is obscurely shaped items. Shippers don’t like to move boxes that are awkward to carry and stack. Also, box manufacturers don’t make packing materials in bulk that accommodate unique needs.
By working with inventory that doesn’t require odd accommodations, you’ll save money at your shipper’s counter and in the acquisition of supplies.
7. Negotiate Special Rates.
Volume shippers should never pay consumer shipping prices. As a matter of fact, many shipping organizations expressly offer bulk shipping discounts that you can read about on their websites.
If your shipper doesn’t advertise bulk rates, give their sales office a call and let them know the volume of business that you’re doing and ask how they can help you. You may be surprised by how much money a phone call could save you on shipping over a year.
8. Pay for Shipping With Rewards Cards.
Your business should have a rewards earning credit card that it uses for purchases. A rewards card that offers as little as 2% cashback on shipping-related costs would net you a $2000 discount on $100,000 worth of spending.
9. Source Shipping Supplies Affordably.
If you’ve taken our advice and have decided to deal exclusively in inventory that can leverage standard packing materials, you should have no problem sourcing boxes, bubble wrap, air-bags and other common materials affordably.
Many of these products can be acquired from manufacturers internationally which may result in substantial savings over getting supplies from big box stores domestically.
Low Cost Shipping Will Make You and Your Customers Happy.
In today’s eCommerce market, customers have come to expect low cost shipping on what they buy. For you to facilitate that, you need to attain discounts from the shippers that your business leverages.
Our tips above should help you achieve those ends which we hope will ultimately, propel your company to new heights.
Best of luck getting the most out of your entrepreneurial ambitions and feel free to browse more of our content for additional information on all things business.