Carriers raise their shipping rates every year. Demand in the ecommerce sector leaves a shortage of everything from truck drivers to warehouse space. And Amazon only makes small business shipping more challenging by continuously raising the bar for faster free shipping — all of which becomes increasingly more expensive to replicate for small businesses that fulfill orders from home.
So, how do ecommerce businesses reduce shipping costs and improve their margin?
5 ways ecommerce stores can reduce shipping costs right now
Shipping costs involve many variables. There are also plenty of hidden costs when handling fulfillment in-house or using existing middleman companies to help you ship. At trukl, the price we quote you is the price you get. It will never unexpectedly go up. Here are some ideas that can potentially lower your average shipping cost.
1) Decrease the shipping distance
Many brands pay high shipping fees when they ship to destinations that are far away. Shipping zones are the geographical areas that carriers ship to, spanning from Zone 1 to Zone 8 for domestic shipments in the United States. Zones measure the distance a shipment travels, with the point of origin located in Zone 1.
The farther away the shipping destination is, the higher the zone and more expensive and slow it is to ship. If you can eliminate shipping to higher zones, you can save a lot of money over time and benefit from better shipping options with lower rates — OR use trukl, we give SME’s access to large carriers. Due to the large volume we can offer the carriers they in turn give us lower prices for international shipments. We then pass these savings onto you.
2) Weigh your packages and reduce dimensions
Unless you’re using flat-rate shipping, then shipping heavy items costs more. If you’re printing labels and shipping from home, consider investing in a postage scale to better predict costs and purchase the right shipping labels. In addition to weight, carriers consider dimensions of the package when calculating shipping costs.
If you’re using too big of a box for a lightweight item, you will pay more than you should because of the space the package takes up. Larger boxes can lead to larger dimensional weight, which in turn will lead to more expensive shipping costs.
TL;DR: Avoid shipping more air than what is necessary.
3) Find discounted supplies
Shipping companies such as UPS and FedEx may provide small businesses certain boxes and envelopes for free or at a discount for certain packing supplies. You can also purchase packing supplies like boxes, dunnage, bubble wrap, airfill, and poly mailers in bulk to save money.
Don’t let the higher investment upfront scare you off — you won’t run out right away and you’ll also reduce your average per-shipment cost. You may even find some free shipping supplies.
4) Get discounted shipping rates
All shipping companies have pricing discounts available based on shipping volume, and you don’t have to be shipping hundreds of thousands of orders a month to get these discounts. There’s no harm in attempting to negotiate volume discounts in exchange for loyalty to one shipping carrier. Of course, the more packages you ship, the better rates you can get.
trukl does this for you. We have already negotiated our shipping costs and pass these huge savings on to you. We can access large carriers due to our large volume.
Ecommerce store owners should seek lower shipping costs, as long as the service for the lower costs does not affect the shipping solutions or extend delivery times.
5) Switch from boxes to poly mailers
If you sell small, non-fragile products like clothing, shipping orders in a mailer envelope or poly bag can be far more cost-effective than boxes. The dimensions are smaller, taking up less room on a delivery truck, and using them also requires less packing supplies like tape and bubble wrap to save even more money.
If your orders contain different combinations of products, consider different sized poly mailers.
Note: There are specific volume, weight, and dimension requirements.