When businesses, especially those in ecommerce, are determining their pricing, they sometimes forget to factor the cost of shipping. If you are shipping merchandise to customers, these costs can accumulate fairly quickly.
Your product may be attractively priced but the cost of shipping can wipe out any advantage you have over the competition. It doesn’t have to be that way though. The following are some of the practical ways you can reduce your shipment costs.
1. Don’t Lock Yourself in One Carrier
On the face of it, locking yourself in one carrier can seem like a great way to avoid the headache of having to make a shipping decision every time there is a new order. Yet, identifying the best carrier for each order individually or class of orders can be more affordable.
While it might seem labor and time intensive, different carriers can offer sharply different rates for the same package. For example, some carriers will not charge residential fees whereas others do. That can add up to a tidy sum over time especially if you expect to do considerable volumes.
By keeping your options open, you’ll be free to take advantage of the best pallet delivery deals available.
2. Negotiate with Multiple Carriers
Negotiating with multiple carriers is the middle ground between locking yourself in one carrier and choosing a carrier each time a customer places an order. Both the one-carrier and no-carrier options have disadvantages. Having an arrangement with several carriers allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Unfortunately, many small business owners don’t think they have the heft to negotiate with large carriers. A number of leading carriers are often willing to adjust their rates once they realize they are competing for your business with someone else. For best results, give the carrier agents a brief rundown of your business, your growth strategy and current/anticipated volumes.
3. Zone Skipping
If your average product is fairly large, product weight and dimensional weight can make shipping over long distances expensive. Zone skipping refers to a package consolidation service whereby you gather all your items headed to a specific distant region so you can send them in a single LTL shipment.
Once they arrive at the carrier’s or consolidator’s distribution center, the individual packages are then shipped to the customers in the region. This entire process sharply cuts down the cost of shipping each package on its own.
Zone skipping won’t be a viable alternative where a customer demands express shipping. However, the savings from zone skipping will go toward covering the high cost of the occasional express shipment.
4. Reuse Packaging
For large enterprises, packaging may seem like a relatively small cost of doing business. Small business owners have no such luxury. It’s not unusual to find small organizations struggling to cover the cost of just shipment packaging.
They however enjoy more flexibility to explore less conventional alternatives. One of these options is reusing any packaging they receive. For instance, boxes and bubble wrap that is clean and in good condition can be used to pack or wrap shipments. If they don’t have enough reusable packaging themselves, business owners can source the same from family and friends.
5. Know Your Shipment Size
Pay close attention to the size of your shipment boxes especially if you do both ground and freight shipment. Boxes that are light and small enough to be shipped ground should be shipped ground. This may seem obvious but is a surprisingly common mistake shippers make.
There’s the widespread assumption that heavy or large boxes should always go freight which isn’t the case. The more goods you can ship ground the less money you’ll spend on shipment. There’s also the advantage of better quality customer service; freight shipment comprises more moving parts and is therefore more prone to unexpected problems than ground shipment.
It is unlikely that all the above avenues for shipment saving will be applicable to the majority of businesses. The key therefore lies in identifying the opportunities for saving available to your business and taking advantage of them accordingly.