I know why you’re here. You’re looking for small business shipping tips that can:
- Lower your costs
- Streamline your shipping process
- Grow your profit
- Help ship your products in the quickest, most efficient way possible
If you’ve been nodding your head, you’re in the right place. This guide includes top business shipping tips, calculations, FAQs, etc.
Let’s get started.
Small business shipping tips
Here are five essential shipping tips for small businesses.
1. Be smart with shipping insurance
To determine if you need shipping insurance, check if the cost of insuring your package is less than the cost of replacing it due to loss, theft, or damage.
Use the formula below using your company’s history to calculate the cost of replacements.
(X/Y) x Z = Cost of covering lost/stolen/damaged item replacements
- X = number of stolen, lost, or damaged goods
- Y = total volume of shipments
- Z = Average order value
Suppose you ship an average of 100 products per month with an average value of $250. Out of all the units shipped, two end up being stolen, lost, or damaged.
Plugging the numbers into the formula, you can arrive at the cost of replacing stolen, lost, and damaged items.
(2/100) x $250
0.02 x $250
The calculation above shows that you need to take out $5 from every other successful sale to cover the cost of all damaged, stolen, or lost shipments.
With that in mind, make a data-driven decision on whether or not to purchase shipping insurance.
For example, USPS offers shipping insurance for items valued between $200.01 and $300 at $4.60. Since that is less than the cost of replacements, purchasing shipping insurance is the most cost-effective strategy for your business.
2. Invest in shipping software
Use eCommerce shipping software to streamline your shipping processes, from creating labels to finding carriers.
Shipping apps also offer a visual dashboard for tracking orders, managing payments, bulk shipping, and getting a bird’s-eye view of an eCommerce business across multiple channels.
Other than that, here are five additional benefits of investing in shipping software.
- Automated tracking links. A good shipping platform enables package tracking that can be accessed via automatically-generated tracking links. These links can also be automatically sent to customers through email.
- Branding tools. Some shipping software lets you create customized invoices, tracking emails, and packing slips using a drag-and-drop interface — no need to use a third-party design or invoicing tools.
- eCommerce integration. Reliable shipping platforms natively support reputable eCommerce marketplaces like Amazon. This includes features like tracking IDs, sponsored discounts, and account synchronization.
- Built-in analytics. Monitor and optimize your shipping with integrated analytics, which may cover metrics like shipment costs, total orders, and order revenue. Ideally, your shipping software also comes with data-driven demand forecasting features to help you optimize inventory management.
- Automation. Modern shipping software may include a time-saving automation workflow builder. Use it to save time on processes like carrier selection, label printing, and email forwarding for advanced shipping notices.
Here at Veeqo, we offer our robust, advanced shipping software for free since we profit from shipping volume passed to our partner shipping carriers.
By using our software, you:
- Avoid paying monthly costs and per user
- Have no shipping limits
- Can process unlimited orders
As your business grows, you can take advantage of Veeqo’s power features:
- Synchronizing your stock across stores
- Digital picking with a mobile device
- Advanced analytics and forecasting
3. Feature a shipping cost calculator
Add a shipping cost calculator to your website to improve the customer experience. At the very least, make shipping costs visible throughout the checkout process.
Avoid structuring a checkout process that hides shipping costs, like only displaying it on the final order confirmation page.
Doing so leads to a high cart abandonment rate and harms your brand’s reputation, especially if your cart abandoners decide to write negative reviews.
Customers will see shipping costs anyway, so be sure they know how much they’ll spend before investing time in your checkout process.
4. Compare carriers
Carefully evaluate potential carriers to find one that perfectly fits the dynamics of your small business.
You may have the best product in the world, but if you sign up with a slow and unreliable shipping service, your customers will have a terrible experience, resulting in bad reviews, a tarnished reputation, and lost, unrecoverable sales.
Here are the top factors you need to consider when looking for a carrier.
- Pricing. Small businesses can maximize profits by keeping costs down. Choosing a cost-effective carrier is a surefire way to cut costs. Aside from individual shipping rates, you can save money from rewards programs, free insurance, and bulk shipping.
- Flexible shipping services. Choose a carrier with shipping services that match your needs. Consider features like home or office pickups, business card printing, shipping labels, international shipping, and tracking visibility.
- Speed. Decide whether your business needs carriers that do same-day deliveries or if you’ll be better off with shipments done in 1 – 5 days. Read reviews from other customers to gauge the reliability of carriers when it comes to delivery times.
- Reputation. Don’t consider shipping services merely a utility to move products from point A to B. Instead, consider them as investments that will have a lasting impact on your brand image.
- Safety Rating. Trustworthy carriers have a satisfactory rating awarded by authorities like the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). Check your prospective carrier’s safety rating online or request the information directly from your carrier.
- Packaging material. Not all carriers offer the same packaging options. Explore your options carefully, especially if you ship fragile products that require additional protection.
- Shipping zones. Remember, shipping zones factor in the distance between warehouses and destinations. As such, carriers use different sets of defined shipping zones, which heavily influences your shipping costs.
Popular eCommerce platforms like Shopify come equipped with tools for comparing shipping rates between supported carriers. This enables you to manage all aspects of your business, including inventory management, shipping, and tracking, in one place.
Learn more by reading our guide on what is Shopify shipping.
5. Ask the community
Crowdsource information from online communities to get shipping insurance recommendations, advice on shipping from (and to) specific locations, and other money-saving shipping tips.
Some of the best online communities on all things shipping and eCommerce are:
- Amazon Seller Central
- Shopify Community
- Dropship Forum
- eCommerce Fuel Forum
- r/Shipping (Reddit.com)
- BigCommerce Forums
Shipping tips for small businesses – frequently asked questions
1. What is the cheapest way to ship for a small business?
For the perfect balance between delivery speed, reliability, safety, and price, use reliable shipping software such as Veeqo to find the best shipment rates every time.
2. Can I reuse Amazon boxes to ship USPS?
Yes, Amazon boxes can be repurposed for shipping packages through USPS or any other carrier. You only need to cover old shipping labels and other stickers to ensure your package reaches the right destination.
3. Can I reuse a priority mailbox?
Priority mailboxes can be reused as long as you paid for priority shipping. Improper use of priority mailboxes has legal repercussions, so ordering new boxes is recommended to be safe.
Streamline your shipping process
While product quality keeps customers happy, a streamlined shipping process helps keep your margins healthy.
Shipping is vital to the success of eCommerce businesses. Use the shipping tips for small businesses above to get the most out of every sale and accelerate your growth. Get discounted rates with every single shipment with Veeqo—a free and robust shipping management software. Click here to create a free account and start saving today.