The holiday season is coming up quickly. At the end of August, families are coming home from vacations, kids are getting ready to return to school, and we are starting to think about holiday products!
At this time of the year, we are gearing up our inventory, of course, but we are also looking at the best shipping methods and packaging for our customers. On our Tastes of Idaho site, we ship loads of gifts and gift baskets to our customers, and shipping methods become very important for several reasons, including the following:
- Finding a process that is as easy and seamless as possible
- Shipping orders with the lowest costs to the customer (and us) as possible!
I discovered an article that addresses these (and more) issues that most of us who ship face daily.
How do I keep my shipping costs low?
As a business owner, it’s important to trim your budget, especially when it comes to shipping. If you don’t research cost-cutting options, your fees can balloon out of control and either eat into your margins or be passed onto your customers.
- Compare Prices Between Carriers: Every carrier has a unique set of services and prices, so it’s important to compare prices to make sure that you’re getting the best possible deal for your business….
- Use Carrier-Provided Packaging If Possible: Many carriers offer packaging that is tailored to their specific requirements. If it’s possible for your products, using the packaging materials provided by your carrier can be an easy way to avoid unnecessary costs.
- Invest in Flat Rate Shipping: Some major mail carriers provide envelopes and packaging for fixed-rate shipping based on the distance a package travels and its destination….
Personally, we found that shipping lighter-weight orders the US Postal Service gives us the best rates. We have an online account where we order free shipping boxes of various sizes, develop our labels, and pay the shipping fees. Just go to the USPS website, and open an account, if you don’t already have one.
With larger orders (heavier mostly) or ones being shipped several states away, we like to use FedEx. We chose FedEx over UPS because we had too many problems with UPS, but either service would work for most companies.
How do I choose a shipping rate for my store?
Using regular mail services means that you handle the entire fulfillment process—including packaging, postage, and shipping labels—so you’ll need to manually set a rate that covers your costs without turning your customers away….
Since shipping costs are largely based on shipment weight and distance, one method for finding an appropriate shipping rate is to determine the average weight of your shipments (based on the weight of your products and which combination of products customers usually order).
Add together the individual weights of all of your products and divide them by the size of your catalogue. Take that average weight and multiply it by the average amount of items in an order.
Average Order Weight = (Catalogue Weight / # of Products) x Average Order Size
Once you’ve found your average order weight, contact your mail carrier to find out how much it would cost to ship a package of that weight. Be sure to check how much your carrier would charge for shipping to all of your shipping zones.
These are just a few of the shipping tips in the article from Shopify (and if you use Shopify, there are many more tips you want to check out!)