9 good practices for shipping as a small business

By Oscar Gonzalez | 5 min

#1 Be Accurate and Flexible with your Package Weights

Accurately weighing your packages will save you and your customers money. If you're under estimating the weight the of your packages, such as labeling a 2 lb package as 1.5 lbs, the carrier will discover this error upon their weigh in, and will charge you a relabeling fee. If you're over-estimating the weight of your packages, most carriers will not correct the error, and will bill you for your stated weight amount. Being accurate in your weigh ins will assure you aren't being overcharged, or getting billed for undervaluing the weight and you can pass these savings onto your consumers who will be happy and grateful for the savings.

Small, light packages can be shipped via a last mile service such as UPS Mail Innovations or Fed-Ex Smart Post. Large packages over 100 lbs need to go by freight.

So how do you weigh your packages accurately? A good mailing scale will save you money in the long-term. They're not very expensive, and you can even find them on Amazon or other online retailers. If you're shipping lots of packages, investing a small amount into a scale can save you big bucks over time.

#2 Ship Packages Together

If you can combine multiple orders into one shipment do so. If a customer orders 3 items, and you ship each one of them separately, you're paying for boxes and shipping on 3 items. Instead, try to consolidate orders whenever possible. Fewer boxes means less money spent on both packaging and shipping.

#3 Purchase a Label Printer

A good label printer is key to efficiently getting orders out on a timely basis. Printing labels on a regular office printer can be a difficult prospect. You'll want your package slip and shipping label on easy to peel sheet and consumer printers aren't designed for this type of work. As your business grows, so should your printer. If you’re doing less than 100 orders a day, we at Parcelscan recommend any of the Dymo label printers. If your business uses between 100 through 5,000 labels a day, we recommend a Zebra brand printer.

 

#4 Buy Packaging in Bulk

It's no secret that buying in bulk saves you money. Examine your current shipping volume and your expected growth. If you're shipping X amount of packages and expect X amount of growth, then you can accurately estimate what you need to buy accordingly. Managing your packaging materials is very important and buying in bulk can save you some serious money in the long run. Buying 100 boxes that are size 10 cubed might cost you .65¢ per box. But if you know that you will ship 1,000 boxes, and you have the storage space, then you can buy 1,000 boxes at a cost of .25¢ per box thereby saving you .40¢ per box. That’s $400 on 1,000 orders without doing anything other than smartly managing your inventory.

 

#5 Save Money by combining Fed-Ex, American Express and Parcelscan

By making your Fed-Ex payments with an American Express OPEN, card you can save 5% on your shipping bills. This will also help itemize shipping and business costs on your American Express account. You also have the choice to swap cash back for travel points, which can save your business a lot of money on plane tickets, hotels, and car rentals. FedEx provides some of the best carrier service, but even Fed-ex can deliver or lose up to 5% of its packages. This is where Parcelscan comes in. Our service will assure that Fed-ex, or any carrier you choose is delivering your items on time as expected. If your shipments are late or lost, Parcelscan will automatically apply for and handle the entire late claim process. Once the claim is approved, you will receive 100% of that refund, and Parcelscan will bill you for 35% of that refund the following month. Its that simple! Combine Amex, Fed-ex, and Parcelscan to maximize your cost savings across the board.

#6 Offer Free Shipping

Free Shipping can make the difference for a customer considering making a purchase. Examine your expenses and see if a price markup is required to make this feasible. Perhaps offer free shipping only on orders above a certain value. This is a nice way to give back to the customers, and help push sales by offering value.

#7 Use Your Packaging to Express Your Brand

Packages don't need to be just brown cardboard boxes. Put some of your company's style and branding into your packaging. Consider the arrangement for when customers open your shipments. Even something as simple as branding your boxes with a company sticker can easily excite your customers when they see your package on their doorstep.

#8 Include Thank You Notes or Personable Messages

Show your customers a taste of the people behind the product by attaching a more personal thank you note to your shipments, and consider providing a discount for their next purchase. 10-20% off next purchase will motivate customers to buy again and if you have a great product, it’s a sure recipe for success.

 

#9 Ask for reviews

Setup an email campaign that will trigger an automatic email to every person that buys from your store and request that they review the product they purchased. You can even add a delay to customer emails, giving them time to try out the product before they review it. You can motivate customers to leave a review by offering a discount code with their feedback. Two simple and effective email management services are constantcontact.com, and mailchimp.com.

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