75% of online shoppers expect the shipping costs for products below $50 to be free, according to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation.
Free shipping is a top strategy that small business owners use to retain customers. However, this strategy can have sharp negative impacts on profits and might lead to a business’s collapse.
Business owners should adopt realistic shipping strategies that balance income and customer retention.
If you have a small business or would like to own one, read these shipping tips for small businesses to know how to fulfill your customers’ desires while maintaining your business’s profitability.
1. Negotiate With Your Shipping Carrier
Many young entrepreneurs don’t realize that they can negotiate for the shipping costs that carriers charge them.
The price quote given by the carrier is not always final. You can negotiate for a better rate if you think that is too much for you. Remember that the carriers are still in business like you and that they would like to work with you just how you need their service.
Of course, the negotiation process may vary from one carrier to another. But the best carrier service will be willing to listen to your concerns and lower the costs if possible.
2. Inform Your Customers About the Shipping Costs
As earlier mentioned, many clients expect shipping to be free. They may never know of your charging expenses unless you tell them.
The shipping costs disclosure should be done before purchasing. The customers should already know what they will be paying for the shipping even before they buy.
The early disclosure reduces the cart abandonment rates and saves customers the disappointment upon finding you hid the truth. You can include the business shipping charges on the billing page for convenience.
3. Adopt Technology
Be informed of the latest technology improvements in the shipping industry. The automation will give you a competitive edge, as you will always be ahead of your competitors.
One automated shipping aspect that you may adopt is the tracking system. The system allows both you and your customers to track the movement of the carriers.
You can also try auditing automation to enhance business efficiency and customer transparency. But before the adoption, you should do a cost analysis to determine how the shipping technology will benefit your business.
4. Offer Reasonable Shipping Pricing Charges
Nearly 50% of online shoppers abandon the cart when the shipping costs are high.
Cart abandonment is one of the biggest frustrations that you could incur as a young business owner. But if your shipping costs are ridiculously high, then you will somehow have to deal with cart abandonment.
You should offer reasonable pricing if you don’t wish to provide free shipping. First, you should compare what other businesses offer to get an average price bracket of what you should offer.
Secondly, you should factor in all the pricing determinants. These factors can include the speed of delivery, the weight of packages, and the extra services you offer for the shipping, such as packaging.
Reasonable shipping pricing will help you attract more clients while still maintaining profits in your business.
5. Understand Your Shipping Zones
A shipping zone is a geographical destination for your carrier. It is the area in which you can ship your products too. Customers who don’t stay within our shipping zone must find their means to collect the items from the shipping zones.
The right shipping zone should be easy to access. Before you determine it, you should know where most of your customers come from so that you can set the best zones to reach them.
Also, you should let your customers know of your zones before they buy. Similarly, you should inquire about the carriers’ various shipping zones before you outsource the supply services to avoid inconvenience.
6. Improve Your Packaging
Secured packaging improves integrity; it creates respect and enhances trust between you and your clients.
If the carrier provider does not offer the packaging service, invest in great packaging boxes. Some of the things to consider when choosing the ideal packaging boxes include the types of goods to pack, the cost, the mode of delivery, and the items’ weight.
Your envelope, corrugated box, or packing materials should be well labeled and sealed.
7. Pay for Shipping Insurance
Insurance and shipping freight go hand in hand, although many young entrepreneurs never realize it. Anything can go wrong when transporting the clients’ goods. Despite the damages, your clients may lose faith in you if you can’t offer any compensation.
Though some freight carriers offer insurance, the compensation amount is usually meager. The maximum amount the carriers can provide per shipment is $100.
If you were shipping high-quality items and they get damaged along the way, you will incur hefty losses if you don’t have insurance. It is therefore advisable to take insurance for your shipping processes for your peace of mind.
8. Double Check Your Shipping Details
Double-checking may seem like an obvious practice, but it’s not. You should always be keen on packaging and shipping before you release the goods to your clients.
A small error in the name or address of the shipping zone might cause substantial losses. Before you ship, always confirm that you have written the recipient’s name well, the address, and the postal code. Check the seal of the packaging, too, mainly if you are carrying fragile products.
9. Get a Postage Meter
The last vital small business shipping tip is to buy a postage meter. The meter helps you get the right weight for your packages and, thus, allows you to plan well.
However, you should make sure that the meter you buy is the same as that of your carrier provider. This way, you will avoid the costs that arise when the carriers make weighing mistakes.
Apply the Best Shipping Tips for Small Businesses
From the above, it’s evident that there are many good shipping tips for small businesses. However, they may not all apply to your business, which means that you should only choose the best for your needs.
Don’t forget to abide by the shipping laws and practices too to avoid legal issues.
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