x5 Shipping Points Small Business Owners Should Know

As a small business owner, you have to be a master of all fields. You play multiple roles as you look into production, management, finances, marketing, distribution, sales, shipments, feedback, and whatnot. You have to take care of every aspect of your small business. Although every responsibility is equally important, shipping decisions can especially be very daunting. If you do not tread carefully in this category, it can increase your costs considerably.

If your business has stores in overseas locations, you need a good freight strategy. But if your business is an e-commerce business, then the whole world is your market. In both cases, you must be able to make the right shipping decisions. Due to the pandemic, the way of selling and buying has changed. The businesses that have online websites tasted success because customers were shopping online because of the pandemic. This increased the e-commerce boom quicker than expected. Thus, shipping is an integral part of almost every business today.

Here are five shipping points that small business owners must know.

  1. Find the Best Shipping Services

It is kind of a no-brainer, but it is worth mentioning. Put all your effort into finding the best shipping services provider. The company or provider you partner with heavily influences your business in the long run. A good shipping company will give you customized plans, discounts, and offers as a small business. They will be ready to negotiate the rates with you. They will ensure to let you know about new offers that come up.

If you deliver worldwide, you can partner up with a company that offers air freight forwarding services to ensure safe and quick shipment worldwide. Air freight forwarding is the best option for time-sensitive items, as it can cut delivery time from months to weeks. A good shipping partner guides you from packaging to online shipment management and reward programs.

  1. Understand the Costs

Even with the best shipping partner in the world, you will need to understand the basics of shipping. This way, you can ship with lower costs when you know the basics and won’t make mistakes due to a lack of knowledge. This specifically includes understanding the costs of shipping. Many factors come into play when determining the costs, such as:

  • Weight-the more your products weigh, the higher the cost.
  • Dimensions-if your package takes up a lot of space, it will cost more.
  • Speed-fast deliveries cost more.
  • Destination-the farther your package needs to get delivered, the more it will cost.
  • Shipping Volume-shipping frequently will allow you to avail discounts and eventually cost less.
  1. Cost-Effective Packaging

Nowadays, customers want an exceptional unboxing experience when their product arrives; this does not only please the customers but also turns them into frequent customers. Good, even packaging is a necessity; not only to satisfy the buyers but also to protect the products, but this does not mean it has to be expensive. But small businesses usually go way overboard when it comes to packaging. Sometimes the package itself is bigger than the product it is carrying; hence, it will increase your dimensional costs.

Moreover, you will have to stuff the big box with padding and bubble wraps to cover the free space so the product isn’t rolling around and is safe. You can opt for smaller, customized packaging, add your logo on every box with a thermal printer, add a handwritten note to elevate your customers’ experience, add a free small sample product for them to try, etc.

  1. Managing Returns

Even if you sell top-notch products, unique, the best quality, best rates, etc., you still can’t guarantee customers won’t return them. The customers sometimes return even the best products. It is almost inevitable, and you should be ready mentally and financially for this to happen. Make sure you have a clear and easy, customer-centered return policy. If you poorly manage returns, it can seriously harm your business’s reputation. First, make sure that your carrier has return policy offers that you can avail of. Second, add a return address label to your packages for customers’ ease when they want to return something. Most importantly, make sure your return policy is explicitly available to customers so that they know about it before buying from you.

Furthermore, be very strategic when you ship internationally. International returns can take a lot of time and cost you more than local returns. In case of an overseas product return, you can offer refund or replacement products instead of getting back the original product. Receiving the returned package will only cost you more in the form of tariffs and duties.

  1. Free Shipping

Customers love free shipping more than the product they are buying. Even if the price of a commodity is high, but there is no shipping cost, customers will buy more of it. Plus, e-commerce giants Amazon, for example, offer free shipping over various goods. This has raised customers’ expectations. They want the same free shipping standards from you. As a new small business, you might not have the financial capacity for this, but you can take other routes. You can offer free shipping over a certain quantity of products bought or by setting a minimum price.

Customers are likely to order more products to meet the set minimum price. This way, your sales will also increase as people will be buying more products than usual, and you will gain a loyal customer base. If you cannot offer completely free shipping, you can still offer discounted shipping. 

A small business owner is always juggling between limited resources, time, and energy. You manage everything from hiring personnel to managing returns yourself. As a small business owner, especially if your business is newly launched, you already have financial restrictions, so you need to take each step carefully. Shipping is a vital part of every business, and it is also a costly one. The big E-commerce companies have raised the bar so high when it comes to deliveries, and customers have become accustomed to this. You need to give them an elite experience to stay in the game. With these five points, you can accelerate your small business towards success.

Brett Sartorial

Brett is a business journalist with a focus on corporate strategy and leadership. With over 15 years of experience covering the corporate world, Brett has a reputation for being a knowledgeable, analytical and insightful journalist. He has a deep understanding of the business strategies and leadership principles that drive the world's most successful companies, and is able to explain them in a clear and compelling way. Throughout his career, Brett has interviewed some of the most influential business leaders and has covered major business events such as the World Economic Forum and the Davos. He is also a regular contributor to leading business publications and has won several awards for his work.