Setting shipping costs can be challenging if you own an eCommerce business, but we’re here to help you calculate the best rates.
A recent study of 2,500 consumers found that cost was the most critical factor related to shipping for 64.3% of respondents. Delivery speed and cost are essential factors for the online shopping experience. As a business owner, you must understand the impact of shipping on product pricing to calculate shipping costs appropriately.
Keep reading to learn six tips for setting shipping rates without hindering revenue.
1. Understand Your Shipping Strategy Options
The first step in setting shipping costs is to find the most effective shipping strategy for your needs. Finding the right approach is all about balancing the needs of your business and your customers. Here are five different shipping strategies to consider:
- Live rates – Live rates are calculated in real-time based on the size and weight of the shipment. This allows you to offer shipping rates at the carrier’s cost for various distances, sizes, and weights. That way, you can charge what you want to charge for goods without worrying about shipping costs. Live rates also sync in real time, so your site will update whenever your carrier increases its rates. Many companies prefer to use live rates because it gives customers more options and increases their satisfaction.
- Table rates – Table rates use a set of rules to calculate shipping rates. These rules are based on everything from sizes and weights to shipping classes, distance, and the number of items purchased. Table rates offer the most customization and are particularly helpful if your products drastically vary in shape and size. One example of a table rate rule is when a company will only ship a specific product if the order totals $20 or more. These rules allow you to simplify your shipping processes for various consumers.
- Flat rates – Flat rate shipping is when you charge the same amount regardless of size, weight, or distance. This option makes the most sense if your inventory is relatively similar in size and weight. Otherwise, you risk overcharging or undercharging. Many customers prefer flat rate shipping because it is straightforward to understand. They know exactly how much shipping will cost long before they reach check out.
- Free shipping – If you can swing it, free shipping is the best way to go to please your customers. In fact, 60% of online shoppers expect free shipping from retailers. This isn’t always the right fit, though, so be sure that implementing free shipping won’t lose you money. The trick is to raise prices just enough to fold shipping costs into your product prices.
- Combing several shipping options – Most businesses combine several shipping strategies to find the right approach for their operations. For example, you can combine free shipping and table rates by offering free shipping for orders that meet a minimum total. You could also offer flat rates or free shipping as part of a larger marketing strategy for a limited time.
2. Decrease the Shipping Distance
Carriers ship to various geographical areas called shipping zones for domestic shipments in the United States. The farther away the shipping destination is, the more expensive it is to ship. If you can eliminate shipping to these zones on your own, you’ll be able to decrease shipping costs. The best way to solve this problem is to partner with a fulfillment company that can offer you faster shipping options and lower rates.
3. Slim Down Package Weight
Packaging and infill can take up a lot of extra space and drastically hike up shipping expenses. Here are a few tips to slim down package weight:
- Cardboard boxes come in various thicknesses, so opt for the lightest box that will still protect your products.
- Reduce the weight of your infill by using air-filled pillows instead of packing peanuts or bubble wrap.
- Minimize your product packaging wherever possible.
- Avoid using oversized boxes.
You might also want to consider investing in a postage scale to help you better predict costs.
4. Reduce Package Dimensions
Generally speaking, the larger the package, the more you will pay for shipping. To cut back on costs for your customers, be sure to consolidate orders and use the smallest box or mailer possible. No one wants to pay for air in a box, so use packaging tailored to your product.
5. Stay on Top of Carrier Pricing Changes
Carriers implement surcharges at various peak times throughout the year. It’s important to know what to expect from carrier pricing changes and be able to respond accordingly. Unfortunately, there is no way to opt out of these pricing increases, but understanding the basics will help you be proactive with your shipping costs.
For example, if you can anticipate a price increase during the busy holiday season, you can prepare to offset the cost ahead of time. You might choose to slowly raise your shipping fees, increase the product price, or have a plan to eat the expenses temporarily.
6. Use Poly Mailers
If you sell non-fragile products, consider switching from boxes to poly mailers to cut shipping costs. Poly mailers are far more cost-effective than boxes, and they require fewer packing supplies like tape and bubble wrap. Additionally, their dimensions are smaller, taking up less room in a delivery truck or mailbox.
Eliminate the Hassle of Shipping With MintFulfill
If setting shipping costs is getting you down, it’s time to partner with MintFulfill for all of your order processing needs. We’re a fulfillment company that treats everyone like family, from customers to employees. When you ship with us, you’ll be able to avoid expensive hassles and increase your sales.
We are eager to become a vital part of your shipping team. Reach out to join the MintFulfill family today!