With the rapid move to online ordering and fulfillment, a lot of small businesses faced a budgeting concern they hadnít dealt with before: shipping.
Customers have come to expect free or low-cost shipping on their orders (and fast turnaround), but the reality is that small businesses often donít have the volume to make those options viable.
What to do? You still have a number of options to ship product and still profit.
Here are six tips for small businesses to save money on shipping:
* Use a postage meter. Believe it or not, some businesses will guess at the weight and dimensions of a package, then pay extra postage to ensure they got it right. Donít be that guy. Know exactly what your packages weigh and what you will pay to ship them.
* Do your homework. Research carriers and rates and become familiar with how shipping gets calculated. For example, heavy items arenít necessarily the priciest ó large ones are. They take up more room in trucks.
* Check for volume discounts. You donít have to be a large online retailer to qualify for a discount.
* Research packing supplies. Youíll need boxes, labels, tape, packing paper or bubble wrap, etc. Make sure youíre accounted for these expenses. And check whether you can negotiate a better price for buying in bulk.
* Set a free shipping threshold. Minimum order tiers can help increase your sales by motivating customers to purchase items that will result in free shipping.
* Consider flat rate shipping. Make it easy for consumers by offering to ship products at a standard rate, but again, make sure youíve done your research. If your items are generally a similar size and weight, this can be easy to calculate.