Online retailers are not always interested in talking about shipping, however, it is a necessary evil that everyone in the industry has to deal with to improve margins and delivery times. Developing a shipping strategy is probably one of the most challenging tasks for many online retailers because shipping rates get more expensive every year and they are not always the easiest to research.
Selecting a Carrier
It is worth investing your time to do the necessary research on shipping rates before jumping into a shipping plan. The major shipping carriers like USPS, FedEx, UPS, DHL, TNT, CanPar, Canada Post, all publish service and rate information on their websites. This can be a time consuming process comparing rates amongst these carriers for each and every order. It is worthwhile checking out a shipping rate comparison site like www.shipgooder.com. ShipGooder.com will allow you to enter your package weight, size and location generating the cheapest and/or fastest ways to ship your packages.
Many small businesses think they are not large enough to negotiate shipping rates due to the volume of shipments they do. In fact, they can, and they don’t even need to open an account before searching and comparing rates. At ShipGooder.com you can discover discounts that you wouldn’t find if you visited each of the couriers individually.
In addition to securing the best rate for your business, ask some additional questions that may be invaluable when considering your shipping options:
- Is there an easy tracking system?
- Does the courier offer pick up services?
- Can you do multiple shipments in one order?
- Can you pay using the payment method you desire (PayPal, Credit Card, Pre-Purchased Credits)?
- Are there shipping tools like address books?
Once you know how much it will cost you to ship items to your customers, it is important to develop a reasonable company shipping policy (i.e. how much to pass on to your customers). If you charge too much, you risk losing customers; on the other hand, if you don’t charge enough, you may lose money or margin. Many retailers have found the best policy is to charge customers exactly what it costs them to ship.
Online retail is a competitive environment with very little customer loyalty. Therefore, establishing a sound shipping policy is very important. A well thought out policy can contribute to a good customer relationship and provide efficiency to small businesses.