How to Get Cheap Shipping: A Store Owner’s Guide
Saving money on E-Commerce shipping is one way to maximize your revenue. Keep Reading to learn how to get cheap shipping for your online business.
As a smart e-commerce store owner, you know how important it is to offer your customers the cheapest shipping rates possible. The question is how to get cheap shipping without sacrificing service and reliability.
Your online shipping rates can be the difference between making a sale or losing a sale to a competitor — even if your site has a great call-to-action strategy.
This is especially true if your average product price point is $25 or lower.
Finding cheap shipping options is something that should be explored before launching an e-commerce store. But as we all know, times change and we need to change with them.
With that said, you’re probably wondering how to get cheap shipping that will allow you to be more competitive in the marketplace.
Here are some great ideas that will teach you how to get cheap shipping and blow away your competition in 2018.
How to Decide Between USPS or FedEx and UPS
This is pretty simple, but many e-commerce store owners don’t know this fact:
If your package/product weighs less than 2 lbs., always ship via USPS Priority or First Class mail.
Shipping small and lightweight packages via FedEx or UPS is much more expensive than the post office.
Once you cross the 2 lbs. threshold, it’s best to look at FedEx and UPS as your shipping options. Even then, take the time to open an online account at fedex.com or ups.com so you can print your own labels.
Without an account, these shippers charge up to 50% more to ship from their stores. With an account, all you need to do is print the labels and drop the packages off at the store — saving you time and money.
In addition, the rate of shipping to a commercial address via FedEx or UPS is much lower than residential shipping. If you do a lot of B2B business, these carriers are the way to go.
BONUS: Stay away from places like Mail Boxes Etc. at all costs. These shippers pile on tons of fees that will eat into your profits.
HUGE BONUS: This is probably one of the best tips I could ever give you to help your eCommerce shipping… use ReadyShipper!
I personally use this for one of my eCommerce stores and it saves me a bundle.
Flat Rate Select is exclusive to ReadyShipper shipping software. Each license connects you directly to the discount USPS shipping prices your business needs to better compete with other online stores.
Until just recently, the special pricing on flat rate discount USPS shipping was only available for businesses that were shipping more than 50,000 shipments annually. Now you can take advantage of these cost-savings without the contract!
Never Get Locked Into a Single Carrier
Constantly bouncing between carriers may seem like a hassle but it’s really not.
The best way to lose you shirt on shipping charges is to lock yourself into using the same carrier for every shipment.
Unless you’re selling a single product and every shipment has the same dimensions and weight, it just doesn’t make sense.
Think of it this way: carriers are businesses just like any other. They compete for your dollars by promoting rates that challenge their rivals. Take advantage of this competition to secure the best rates possible for your e-commerce business.
On each order you receive, keep an open mind on how to get cheap shipping. Go to each carrier’s site and plug in the weight, dimensions and recipient’s zip code.
See what rates are returned.
A few minutes of time each day can save you thousands of dollars every year.
How to Get Cheap Shipping With Zone Skipping
Have you heard of zone skipping? If not, you’re missing out.
This is an especially effective method when shipping large or bulky products that weigh a lot. Basically, zone skipping is a way of consolidating many individual shipments into one large LTL shipment.
An LTL shipment (Less Than Truckload) takes advantage of cost savings by combining your shipment of orders with other vendor’s shipments to fill an entire semi.
Say you have a number of orders that are all going to Arizona and New Mexico. Utilize zone skipping LTL shipments to ship all of these orders to a shipment consolidator in that area. The consolidator will in turn ship the individual orders to each customer.
Of course, this won’t work for express shipments because the lead times are a bit longer. But for orders that can wait a week or two to be delivered, this is a great option to save on shipping costs.
Save on the Cost of Packaging
For many small e-commerce business owners, the cost of packaging can equal or exceed the cost of shipping. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution.
Think about how many packages you receive from vendors and other sources every week. Are you saving this packaging to re-use?
If not, you should be.
Packing peanuts, boxes and bubble wrap all cost your business money. Set up a small room or closet where you do business to save every ounce of these materials you can.
Why buy something that you get for free every day?
To take it a step further, ask your family members, friends and associates to save these materials for you. As long as you pick them up regularly, most will be happy to avoid clogging their garbage cans and recycling bins with these unwanted materials.
Join a Professional Association
One of the quickest ways to secure cheap shipping is by joining a professional organization.
Depending on the type of business you engage in, there are a ton of professional organizations that have negotiated special shipping rates with carriers.
Consider joining one if you want to know how to get cheap shipping for your products.
While most professional organizations charge a nominal yearly fee to join, this fee will be quickly offset by the money you’ll save on shipping.
The added benefits you’ll receive from being a part of an organization that matches your area of business is an extra bonus.
Consider Implementing Handling Charges
Handling charges are a controversial subject.
We all remember the infomercials from a decade or two ago that charged “shipping and handling”. But what does that really mean?
Basically, you are asking your customers to foot the bill for the time and costs it takes to package the product and get it to the carrier.
Is this a good idea in 2018?
Many economists disagree on this subject. But it could make sense for your e-commerce business.
One idea is to completely eliminate shipping charges from the online buying cycle and only implement handling charges. Most customers understand that it takes time and resources to package a product for shipment, and will be understanding of this charge.
It also helps to differentiate yourself from your competition.
If a customer is shopping for a specific model of vacuum on two different sites, they may see that one site charges $14.99 in shipping charges while the other only charges $9.99 in handling charges (with free shipping.)
Which site do you think the customer will buy from, assuming the product cost is the same or similar?
Handling charges can be directly applied to offset your shipping charges, but it’s all in how you present the charges to your customer.
Just don’t get greedy. Never use handling charges as a way of making a larger profit on the transaction.
Look at Using a Fulfillment Service to Ship Your Products
Don’t have the infrastructure to cost-effectively package, warehouse and ship orders on your own? Take a look at fulfillment services.
Most fulfillment services have “bulk buying power” that will reduce total costs on shipping, supplies and storage space. If you’re looking at how to get cheap shipping and reduce supply costs, fulfillment services are a great option.
Even better, the larger fulfillment services have multiple locations that will reduce transit distance — further reducing shipping costs.
Of course, these businesses are there to make money as well, so expect to pay order-by-order processing fees. But you may find that housing your inventory in a fulfillment center will save time, money and headaches over shipping product on your own.
How to Get Cheap Shipping by Purchasing a Label Printer
Custom label printers are a great idea for any e-commerce business because they give you a professional look while also saving you money in the long-term.
Using Shopify for E-Commerce? You Can Save on Shipping Charges
Shopify Shipping offers simple options to print labels with many popular carriers. They have negotiated the best rates possible with these carriers and you should be taking advantage.
On average, you’ll be able to save anywhere from $1 – 15 per shipping transaction when using Shopify Shipping.
Even better, they support both national and international shipping.
How to Get Cheap Shipping Using Cubic Weight
If you’re not familiar with the Cubic Weight system, it is one of the best strategies to implement if you’re wondering how to get cheap shipping.
As a high-volume shipper of heavy packages, this is something you need to explore.
USPS offers highly discounted rates for packages that weigh less than 20 lbs. and are smaller that .5 cubic feet. Simply stated, you are charged for the true size of the package and distance traveled instead of how much the box weighs.
Talk to a USPS representative about Cubic Weight shipments. It could save you thousands.
Learning how to get cheap shipping for your e-commerce business is easier than many other aspects of your business.
Using these simple tips you’ll start to save money on shipping and be able to apply the extra cash flow to grow your business.