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How Small Businesses Can Save Money on Shipping

Whether your small business sells anything from pottery to plastic spoons, shipping costs tend to eat into your bottom line as orders pour in. If your small business has grown beyond just your street, neighborhood, or town, it’s likely that you’ve spent plenty of time and money figuring out how to ship orders affordably, quickly, and reliably. But without insider knowledge, you might be scratching your head. Don’t fear! Our same-day couriers in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas have ample experience on the topic.

Ready to save on shipping costs? Read on to learn how to keep your customers happy while you reduce shipping costs and save time!

Keep Package Weight Low

One of the simplest ways to cut your small business shipping costs is to lower package weight. Among most shipping companies, heavier packages will incur larger shipping fees. Here are some ways to reduce shipping costs by keeping your package weights down:

Weigh everything

Do you guess — or “guesstimate” — your package weights? You are almost definitely overpaying for shipping. Investing in a postage scale will help you reduce shipping costs significantly and provide you with the exact numbers you need to budget shipping. 

Use less packaging

You might be tempted to jam-pack each box with tissue paper to ensure your handmade trinkets stay intact. However, using excessive packing supplies could be costing you big due to their increased weight. Instead of filling that box to the brim…

Use lighter alternatives

Using corrugated cardboard boxes can help you cut out a few ounces, which adds up to a lot of money saved. Don’t forget to change up what’s inside those boxes, too. Swap your packing materials for lighter options such as styrofoam, bubble wrap, light foam sheets, or other light and airy options. Your products will stay safe because using bubble wrap or other air pocket packaging can protect delicate items just as adequately as heavier materials. Plus, they help you reduce shipping costs. What’s not to love?

Reduce Package Dimensions

Another measurement that gets you into trouble at the post office or shipping desk is width and depth, or just “size” of the package to be simplistic. Shipping carriers often charge more for oddly shaped items because businesses assume these items need to fit in a box. This is not necessarily true. The following tips will reduce shipping costs by making your packages smaller:

Try poly mailers

If you’re used to packaging everything in boxes, you can reduce shipping costs significantly by switching small or flat orders to poly mailers. These are inexpensive and can be ordered in bulk and customized with extras like business logos, return addresses, and more.

Get creative

Sometimes, packages are shaped…weirdly. Shipping a guitar, pane of glass, or crate of medical tests presents challenges you may not be able to solve using traditional packaging supplies. Consider cutting and splicing boxes, using original item packaging to your advantage, or coming up with something completely new.

Explore your options

Do the math and don’t assume every situation will be the same. You don’t have to use the same shipping method for every order you send. If you’re having trouble with an overly heavy or awkward package costing you a fortune to mail, flat-rate shipping or sprinter shipping might be more cost-effective.

Save On Materials

Even if you have shipping down to a science, you might not be saving as much as you could on your actual packaging costs. Tape, shipping labels, envelopes, and boxes aren’t free, but you can get much closer to “free” with these tips:

Reuse Packaging

Cheaper things aren’t always good for the planet, but you can get the best of both worlds this time! Reuse packaging materials wherever you can. You’ll feel better about reducing your business’s total amount of wasted materials and benefit from the reduced shipping costs.

Shop Smart

Many companies offer discounted shipping rates for small businesses or loyalty programs for frequent customers. You may also be able to save money through business credit cards or cashback programs. Check out places like thrift and discount stores for packaging options as well. You never know what you can get until you look… or ask. 

Buy In Bulk

Buying mailing supplies in bulk can end up saving you some serious moolah. If you can budget appropriately, spending more upfront on larger amounts of shipping supplies almost always pays off. You may even be able to combine a business discount with a bulk discount. 

Change Your Approach

If you’ve made the changes you need to reduce shipping costs for your business, yet you’re still finding yourself low on funds, it might be best to change your approach to shipping as a company.

Adjust prices

If you feel it pertinent to do so, adjusting prices to absorb more of the shipping costs can save you money on shipping. You can also adjust the minimum order threshold for free shipping or include free shipping via loyalty programs, on holidays, or with specific promotions so that customers are more inclined to spend. That way, customers will still feel like they are saving money on shipping while paying for the items they would already buy to begin with. 

Monitor returns

Prepaid return labels can be a great way to make returns hassle-free for your customers, but they might be costing you more than you realize. Do customers return items frequently enough to make a dent in your budget? If you’re constantly picking up the tab for returns, you’re paying the cost of shipping both ways. Consider modifying your return shipping policy. Depending on circumstances, consider asking the customer to split the return shipping cost or pay for it entirely.

Offer local pickup/delivery

An order fulfillment option that has grown in popularity due to the COVID-19 pandemic is “buy online, pick up in-store” (BOPIS) or “curbside” pickup options. Some stores are even delivering items to customers who are local to the area. If you don’t operate a physical storefront, consider establishing a location to offer local order pickup. It will reduce shipping costs for you while also cutting delivery times for your customers. Delivery of items can be trickier — before offering order delivery, make sure it’s cost-effective. In some cases, it can save you enough to be worth a try.

When Every Second Counts, Contact Us

As a small business owner, you work hard to keep your customers happy and your orders fulfilled. And as much as you’d like to be prepared for everything, sometimes you need immediate same-day delivery or overnight delivery service. When things come down to the wire, trust Wanner’s Transport & Delivery to deliver everything from a single envelope to a full truck of packages — reliably, professionally, and with a service quality guarantee. Let us partner with you for an unstoppable combination of small business ingenuity with guaranteed delivery results. Contact us today!

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