Monday, August 8

3 Shipping Tips for Small Businesses

If you are running a goods-based small business, you will know how instrumental it is to your operation. Timely deliveries are naturally important to ensuring customer satisfaction, and wasteful shipping can quickly lead to mounting, avoidable costs.

Another thing that is equally important as timely delivery is secure package delivery. For small businesses building a rapport with their customers is everything. Building a reputation for engaging in deliveries that are secure can bring more leads for your business.

Making your delivery processes as efficient and cost-effective as possible is therefore critical to maximizing your profit margins. Here are 3 simple tips for improving your company’s shipping operations. 

Use High-Quality Packing Materials

Given the amount of packages handled by carriers every day, and the amount of products you must ship as a goods-based business, some amount of breakage is unfortunately inevitable. This is especially true when shipping goods internationally, as this usually requires the package to be transferred between many different vehicles and logistics providers.

However, this does not mean you can still work to reduce your number of damaged goods. A useful way of doing this is by investing in stronger, more durable packaging materials. Using additional protective materials will also mitigate the risk of breakage. If your products require special handling instructions, you can even purchase custom packing tape directing carriers on how to safely transfer your goods.

Compare Different Carriers

Naturally, an important part of your shipping process is the logistics provider you choose to partner with to carry out orders. It’s therefore highly important you carry out a proper investigation of shipping carriers, to choose the best one for your company.

There are a number of qualities you should consider. Larger carriers, for instance, are advantageous in that they have a greater number of vehicles at their disposal, and so thus may be able to dispatch orders more quickly. Companies like UPS and FedEx also offer insurance cover as standard, up to around $100.

However, given the number of goods they must deliver, your parcels may not receive the proper attention. Alternately, if the goods you are shipping are particularly sensitive, you may instead choose a specialist time-critical or hazardous goods carrier.  These carriers are generally more expensive than generic ones, but they are also more likely to fulfill any special requirements you have. 

Because of the varying strengths and weaknesses of different carriers, more and more companies are choosing to use a range of different carriers, depending on the specific requirements of each delivery. You therefore also may consider investing in shipping software, which can automatically find you the best value logistics option possible every time. 

Consider the Customer

Managing customer expectations is also a key part of a successful shipping process. In wake of the rise of huge international online retailers like Amazon, consumers have come to expect quick and cheap, if not free, shipping.

As a small business, it’s nigh-on impossible that you will actually be able to compete with the e-commerce giants on price, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ensure your customers are satisfied through other means.

For example, you can offer reduced shipping rates for longer delivery times, which will enable customers to choose quicker delivery or cheaper rates, depending on their preferences. If you are particularly worried about shipping costs turning off your customer base, you can even factor them into the total price of an item, and offer “free shipping”, to circumvent this. 

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