Since there are so many options and each carrier offers something different, consider the following before choosing a shipping method:
- Delivery locations: You may have limited options depending on where you want your products delivered. Additionally, large orders may have to be shipped freight. When shipping directly to consumers, you should choose a reliable carrier that will ensure your deliveries make it to customers on time.
- Cost: Many couriers are similar in cost, but costs can differ depending on several factors, including customer locations. For example, customers that are farther away will cost more. Additionally, the heavier and larger the package, the more it will cost. Since cost is variable depending on so many things, you might try to use software like ShipStation that allows you to pack orders and confirm weights and dimensions to give you the best and most cost-effective shipping option.
- Delivery speed: Delivery speed is crucial because your customers don’t want to wait to get their packages. You can also offer expedited options to customers to help you save on shipping costs. When it comes to shipping times, 90% of consumers view 2- to 3-day shipping as the baseline, with 30% of consumers expecting same-day shipping.
3. Pick your packaging
One thing many small business owners don’t consider is their packing. However, the way you pack your products is an important part of your branding. While there’s nothing wrong with delivering products in a standard box, you may want to brand your packaging to make your business stand out. Branded packing can help boost visibility and awareness, but it’s much more expensive than standard boxes.
Additionally, some fulfillment methods don’t allow you to use branded packing. For example, dropshipping and outsourcing companies may use their own branded packaging. However, if you use self-fulfillment, you can design your very own packaging to stand out and give your products a more premium and specialized appearance.
Depending on your products, you can choose between boxes and padded envelopes to help you find the most cost-effective solution.
4. Determine your pricing
The best way to figure out which shipping option is right for you is to determine how much it will cost your company. Modern consumers want affordable and fast shipping, which means businesses must spend slightly more on shipping costs to compete in a crowded marketplace. To set your shipping rates, you can follow standard courier rates determined by package size, weight, and distance. However, this won’t give you a truly accurate estimate because many factors can impact how much shipping costs to a single customer.
To make the checkout process easier for customers, your shipping options must be simple. You can offer free shipping, flat-rate shipping, and expedited options to ensure customers understand the rates. Unfortunately, shipping costs can affect your margins, so you could end up losing money on shipping if you’re not careful. Continue to re-evaluate your monthly shipping costs until you find the right price for your customers and your business.
5. Understand international shipping requirements
International shipping is much more complicated and expensive, but if you have customers overseas, you may be able to increase your profit margins by shipping them products. After all, the more customers you have, the more money your business makes. Unfortunately, shipping internationally comes with many challenges, including:
- Filling out customs forms: A form that describes the contents and value of the package and ensures you’ve complied with all international shipping regulations.
- Tariffs: A type of tax that’s added to restrict trade from certain countries.
- Taxes: An added expense that’s based on percentage. Import tax may be payable upon delivery or in advance.
- Duties: Paid to governments as a percentage of your product value.
6. Create shipping labels
Once an order has been placed on your online store, you can immediately create shipping labels to get your products ready to ship. You can either address packages by hand or use an e-commerce platform that creates shipping labels automatically once an order is placed.
7. Ship your products
If you’re self-fulfilling your products, you can package the products and put your shipping label on the box to get them ready for the carrier. You can also use a fulfillment service that keeps your products in their warehouse and will print shipping labels and pick and page your products for you. With an e-commerce store, there are many integrations you can use that will automatically send order confirmations to your fulfillment service to let them know an order has been placed.