Small Business Shipping Tips
In all businesses, shipping is one of the most important components. This is because the end quality of your products will always be impacted by shipping.
The customer's impression of your business may be badly impacted by poor shipping methods. The quality of the purchasing experience is significantly reduced when a product is not delivered on time, is damaged upon arrival, or worse still, the incorrect item is provided.
Thus, it is crucial especially for small businesses to understand and choose their shipping options wisely so that they can then provide their customer with a service that is satisfactory. Here are some shipping tips for you if you are a small business or planning to start one:
Understanding shipping costs
Firstly, you need to understand how shipping costs work and how it is generally calculated since there are various methods to determine shipping costs.
Shipping costs are calculated based on:
1. Service and speed
Thanks to big industry giants like Amazon, the vast majority of consumers now anticipate quicker delivery times and a variety of shipping options.
As a general rule, the shipping rate will increase the more you accelerate a shipping service. However, expedited services aren't the only thing that affects how much you pay overall. There is no one-size-fits-all solution because carriers provide a wide range of services on a variety of aspects.For shipment to be affordable, it is essential to match the appropriate service to the appropriate request.
2. Dimensional weight
Dimensional weight converts a box's volume into weight by measuring how much volume it can hold. So don’t ship small products in an extra-large shipping box because you will end up paying more for the air and space you’ll be taking up on the truck.
Dimensional weight is determined by taking the volume(Length x Weight x Height) of the item divided by the dimensional factor. Most couriers such as JustShip use a dimensional factor of 5000 while some use 4000.
(L x W x H)/Dimensional Factor = Dimensional Weight
Check out our previous blog post to learn more about volumetric weight!
With JustShip, you can leave your worries about the dimensions and weight of your packages to us. Not only will we ship your items to your destination, you can opt for packing where we will pack your items into a custom box to help you reduce as much packing cost as possible. You can find out the estimated shipping cost of a package with us by getting a quote.
Another factor that determines your shipping cost is the destination of your package. Your shipping prices may vary depending on whether you're sending internationally or locally. Carriers frequently use variable geographic zones to calculate how far their shipment will travel. The price increases with increasing distance.
If you are looking to ship internationally, here are some things you should consider:
- Confirm product shippability
There are some goods that are restricted from entering particular countries. For instance, sending playing cards to Brazil is prohibited. Additionally, you cannot send collectible stamps to France.
- Additional taxes, duties, and documentation
Shipping internationally will result in additional costs and requirements, such as Value Added Tax, duties and taxes, and customs declarations, even though these don't quite count as carrier fees.
- Update your shipping policy and pricing
Make sure you've done the necessary steps to charge and estimate shipping for your international customers. Selling internationally is more expensive.
4. Shipping volume
Higher volume shipping may result in volume-based negotiated prices with some carriers. Establishing a relationship with your carrier when you first start might open your business up to more advantages, such as shipping cost reductions.
So don't be afraid to look into many possibilities. The majority of online sellers use multiple carriers to get the best carrier, service, and costs to suit their business needs.
How to reduce Shipping costs?
- Reduce Package Weight
- Use flat-rate shipping when possible
- Pick the right-size packaging
- Check out offers from platforms you sell on
- Negotiate shipping rates with carriers
Consider your packaging options
Since your materials almost always arrive in boxes, why not use those reused boxes to pack and ship your products? It's an excellent method for recycling and saving money.
However, the downside is that boxes that have been used before have been known to lose about 60% of their strength, and even minor damages can make them less reliable. So if you want to re-use your packaging you should consider:
1. Inspect how strong the re-used box/package is
If you notice that your re-used box has many tears and overall looks beaten up, then you definitely shouldn’t use it to ship your items. Hence, only re-use your box/package if you are certain that it is secure and will ship your items to the destination safely!
2. What kind of items you are shipping
If you are shipping non-fragile goods like clothing items or stuffed toys, then re-using your boxes shouldn’t be a problem as they won’t break easily.
However, if you are shipping fragile items such as pottery, glass, music instruments, tech items and etc, then you might be safer off using a newer box to make sure your items don’t get damaged through the shipping process.
Use Brand-New Packaging
The safest and ideal option is to use a brand-new box if you're delivering something valuable or delicate. With brand-new packaging, you won’t have to fear as much about your boxes tearing or breaking during shipping!
JustShip provides you with brand-new boxes when you opt for our packing services. We will help you find a box that is true to the size and dimensions of your items so that you save on shipping costs! Furthermore, we offer fragile packing of your items so you can expect a safe delivery of your fragile items!
Purchase in Bulk
When you purchase packaging in bulk, many carriers and shipping supply businesses give you discounts. Why not purchase extra and save if you have the storage space and are sure that the packaging will be used?
Small businesses sometimes ship using boxes that are too large for their products, requiring them to add additional padding (peanuts, bubble wrap, etc.) inside. Smaller packaging often results in lower costs for dimensional weight and insulation.
When packing your products, it’s important for you to have proper shipping supplies that will help you pack the items securely so that it reaches your consumer in proper condition. The most important shipping supplies you need for packaging are:
- Packing Tape
- Cardboard boxes
- Bubble Wrap (Especially for fragile items)
- Fragile tape/sticker
However, you might prefer to leave the packaging and shipping of items to a courier service instead. At JustShip, we provide professional packaging services ensuring that your parcels get safely shipped to your desired destination.
Have an understanding of what items can or cannot be shipped
When shipping items overseas, it’s important to know of the global import prohibitions and restrictions since different countries have different limitations when importing or exporting goods at customs.
For example, most countries have prohibitions on goods such as:
- Counterfeit goods
- Arms and Weapons
- Illegal drugs and narcotics
Most countries also have restricted goods such as:
- Dangerous Goods (Lithium Batteries, Dry Ice, Perfume)
- Biodegradable (Food, perishable items, organic and industrial waste)
- Tobacco & alcohol
- Biological Substances (Blood samples, live animals, human organs)
At JustShip, we will help give you an expert review of your items to ensure that you avoid the most common pitfalls like when it comes to import prohibitions and restrictions.
Have clear product descriptions on your website to minimise returns
When you are shipping internationally, it’s important to understand the types of products you will be shipping and describe them.
What is product description?
It provides a comprehensive explanation of the items you're shipping. It describes the nature of your products, their content, and their intended usage. On every shipment document, including the air waybill and commercial invoice, a product description is required. Any other additional documentation that the authorities may seek should also contain it.
Why is it important to have a good product description?
Customs may hold or delay shipments with unclear descriptions of their contents. This is because they need more details about the products you're transporting. The best approach to prevent your delivery from getting held up in customs is to provide an accurate product description.
Vague description: Nuts
Clear description: Hexagonal aluminium bicycle nut
Don’t really know how to provide a good product description? Consider these few questions:
1. What are they made of?
2. What are they used for?
Therefore, giving a clear description of the items you want to ship will help ensure that you have a better shipping experience without inconvenience.
Automate your Shipping
If you just manage a few orders per week, you might be sorting out the tracking information on your own. That's fine in the beginning, but as you start processing a large number of transactions, this can get exhausting.
Implementing software that simplifies the shipping process is known as shipping automation. These programs, which can differ between industries, should automate repetitive processes and integrate all aspects of the shipping process into a single system.
Not only can using a shipping system save you time, but also money. You can always ensure the lowest price by automating delivery, and you'll free up human resources so you can focus more on your online and marketing initiatives.
Good shipping software has the following:
- Offer real-time shipping costs from different carriers based on the information about the item or package.
- Reduced shipping costs due to agreements with big carriers.
- Make shipping labels and packing slips to your requirements, purchase them, and print them
- Provide a breakdown of your shipments so you can see where you ship the most and how much they typically cost.
- Creates return labels with each shipment
4 ways to automate your shipping are:
- Integrate your fulfillment and e-commerce platforms
- Use an ERP inventory system
- Set reorder points
- Set up automated shipment tracking
JustShip just launched our Shopify app where small e-commerce businesses will be able to automate some parts of the shipping process! These are still early stages for us, if you are interested, do whatsapp us for more info!
Research and choose the best shipping courier
When choosing a reliable courier service to deliver your packages to your customers, it is important that you also understand how the courier operates and charges you for shipping costs. Different shipping couriers have various methods of calculating shipping costs so be sure to check out their websites and do your research before deciding on one.
With that, you should explore the different shipping options made available to you and compare them to ensure that you choose a courier partner that you can communicate well and that suits your business type.
Tips you should consider when choosing the best shipping courier:
- Best Price Offering
- Provide realistic delivery times
- Experience and market reputation
- Knows international shipping
- Shipment Tracking
- Handle delays efficiently
- Shipping Insurance
You can read our other blog post to read more about tips for choosing the right courier service!
JustShip offers hassle-free international shipping, especially for small E-commerce businesses that need their parcels quickly delivered to their destination within 2-5 working days at affordable rates.
If you have a small business or plan to start one, we offer free next-day pickup so all you have to do is place an order by creating a shipment with us, leave your package/packages at your doorstep, and we will pick, pack, and ship them out to your desired location! If you have any inquiries, feel free to contact us via Whatsapp: 91187971 and Gmail: firstname.lastname@example.org.