Shipping costs are a major issue for retails the world over. Carriers increase their shipping rates at an alarming rate, making the shipping costs of an order a much higher percentage than customers are prepared to accept.
The shortage of delivery drivers is also likely to increase the prices retailers face. These costs are going to be passed onto their customers.
So what can retailers do?
There are a number of things retailers can do to decrease these rates.
Ensure you are paying the correct shipping costs
By investing in good postage scales, you can accurately measure the weight of your items and therefore be charged the correct amount by the courier.
Reduce the dimensions of your package
In a similar vein as above, ensuring you are using the most appropriate size packaging can help reduce the delivery costs. Your customers don’t want to receive their items in a box that is too big. You will also improve your environmental credentials when you use the correct size box.
Use independent couriers for the last mile
If you are shipping items internationally, add your delivery to a load board that allows couriers to use any spare capacity to complete your delivery, these couriers will bid for work they see on load boards – thereby reducing your costs.
Many shipping companies and delivery couriers will offer discounts when you purchase enough shipping labels upfront. It is well worth speaking to the various couriers and choosing the most cost-efficient service.
Use parcel consolidation services
The majority of shipping carriers operate parcel consolidation services that allow you to send multiple packages via a single courier. If you’ve already invested in packaging supplies, this option can be very cost-effective.
Switch from boxes
If you are selling non-fragile products, do you really need to package them in a box? There are many alternatives available. For example, you can ship items such as clothing in an envelop or poly bag. This has the added benefit of demonstrating to your customers that you take the environmental impact of packaging seriously.
Insure all of your parcels with a third party insurance company
Most carriers will provide a package insurance option. However, this may not be the most cost-effective solution. Third-party package insurers are often cheaper than going with our shipping courier. This is because insurance isn’t the core business for a courier – they are likely operating as middlemen to the insurance companies. Therefore it makes sense to go direct.
Negotiate volume discounts
Some shipping companies will offer volume discounts. Ask the company for a price reduction if you are planning to place multiple orders that are going to require the same services. The more business you are able to provide and the more loyalty you show a supplier, the more discounts they may be prepared to offer.
There are many ways you can reduce your shipping costs. All you need is a little preparation, imagination, and a willingness to try new delivery options, and you can keep your costs down.