The Shipping Solution

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Shipping can be the sticky wicket for a small retailer with an online store. Charge too much and you lose customers. Charge too little and you lose money. Either way, you’re crashing the shopping cart in grand fashion. But, that doesn’t mean that online retailers shouldn’t try to tame the shipping and handling beast. Here are our tips to take the sting out of that side of the business.  

  1. Market to nearby shoppers and handle the shipping yourself.  You may find that it’s more affordable to rent a small truck and crew than to pay for traditional methods. Plus, when you offer shipping through your store, you’re able to offer set-up or bundle it with another service for a value-add to the customer. Whether you deliver to the door or you offer professional set-up, you’re building trust and deepening client relationships. You can’t put a price on that kind of customer loyalty.

  2. In shipping, size matters. A 1-inch difference in product packaging could save you more than $1 on shipping. That’s because every little bit helps when it comes to dimensional weight reductions. Take a good look at your packaging, including both inner and outer layers, to create the right, light combination for optimum product protection plus cost savings.

  3. Join the club. When you participate in carrier programs designed for small businesses, you’ll receive better rates than shipping as an individual. So, even if you’re a sole-proprietor or just starting out with a team of 2, explore the purchasing power that comes from belonging to something bigger.

  4. Negotiate a better deal with traditional shipping providers. Translation: don’t settle for base-rate reductions. Look for other opportunities to save, like accessorial fees, dimensional weight (see bullet 2) and fuel surcharges. They’re all up for grabs and the more you can take advantage, the better your shipping costs are going to be.

  5. Package discounted or free shipping with other perks for bigger sales. When you bundle offers or require a minimum purchase for discounted shipping rates, guests typically shop with a larger cart to take advantage of the savings.

  6. Choose the right shipping service. If you and/or your customer won’t need an item right away, there’s no need to pay additional money for air freight. UPS offers a transit map to help you determine whether the extra cost is worth it.

  7. Save manhours when shipping. Lease better equipment to save time on labeling, packaging and shipping products. Today’s newer models let employees skip the handwritten label in a clear sleeve in lieu of a professionally printed sturdier stick-on instead.

Now we want to hear a few of your tips and tricks for saving money on shipping in eCommerce. How do you save money for your business? What advice do you have for other furniture retailers and designers to help them save on the service? Leave a comment to help your home furnishings family in the comments section below.