As we close on another holiday season, one of the biggest lessons that can be learned by businesses is that shipping matters. How you ship, what carrier you choose, and how you market your shipping on your website are crucial to success. This holiday season the ecommerce market will represent an estimated $80 billion. More consumers are choosing to stay at home and avoid the mall traffic, parking nightmares, and other not-so-merry elements of holiday shopping. Instead, they are going on their laptop or mobile devices and shopping from the comfort of their home. In order for businesses to fully take advantage of this trend towards e-commerce, they must sure up their shipping operations. Here are several ways small and medium sized businesses can accomplish this:
Optimize Your Packaging: Once upon a time, the amount you paid in shipping was directly determined by weight. Now, more carriers are using volumetric weight to determine shipping costs. Volumetric weight takes into account the size of the package to see how much room it would take on the aircraft. Volumetric weight is more of a concern for air shipping right now, but ground shipping may be affected soon enough. Carriers calculate volumetric weight through a formula that uses the height and weight of the package as well as its weight. Therefore, companies should use custom cardboard packaging whenever possible to ensure no space is wasted in packaging.
Pay for Your Shipping Online: If you use USPS, you can save up to 60% on shipping costs when you pay for shipping online. The USPS will also pick up your package for free, which is an additional bonus. You can also use prepaid shipping at UPS and FedEx if you are shipping goods of the same weight and size often.
Consider all Shipping Costs before You Quote a Customer: Free shipping can make or break a purchase, but if you absorb too much in regard to shipping, it may not be worth it. Make sure that you know all shipping costs before you give a number to the customer. Once you provide a shipping quote, you can't go back on it as you'll put the sale at risk. If you find that you are paying too much in shipping, you might want to shop around for carriers or even consider a regional carrier for additional savings.
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