Small business operations can be challenging to manage, especially when it comes to getting products to customers on time. That’s where small business shipping solutions can make things a bit easier. That way, you can print labels from anywhere or integrate your eCommerce software with your shipping partners for speed and ease. As you consider your shipping strategy, here are some things to keep in mind.
What are Small Business Shipping Solutions?
Small business shipping solutions are services that make shipping simpler. Once you connect your software to a shipping company, you’ll easily get accurate labels to print and ship your packages quickly.
Many shipping companies offer tools specifically designed for small businesses that don’t have a logistics partner or outsourced management team for overseeing the shipping process.
If you decide to work with multiple carriers, you’ll be able to offer customers a wider variety of shipping options at checkout. The perk of working with multiple carriers is that you get the feature set of particular to each carrier, such as next-day, 2-day, or economy shipping to meet a customer’s budget and preferences. Depending on where the shipment is going, one shipping service may be preferable to another due to its availability in that market.
How Do Small Business Shipping Solutions Work?
Shipping solutions for small businesses generally connect to eCommerce software to generate shipping labels automatically when a customer places an order and it’s confirmed. Other small business shipping solutions will need you to go in online and input a package’s weight, dimensions, and delivery address to print labels. Even with the extra steps, these options let you skip the post office or other shipping agencies to get the order out to the customer quickly.
Things To Consider with Small Business Shipping
As you seek out the best business shipping solution for your business, keep in mind these top considerations that could impact the service you choose and how you manage this crucial aspect of your business.
How many orders you ship each month will be a factor in deciding the best shipping service for you. For example, startups have different needs from large eCommerce operations, like Walmart. The larger your order volume, the more negotiation power you have to get the best rates.
Packaging is crucial to protect goods in transit, but packaging also plays a role in branding and advertising for your company. The right packaging can help you get better shipping rates based on size or shape.
Keep in mind that the protection an item like clothing would need varies greatly from the protection housewares, such as mirrors or vases, would need. Use plenty of bubble wrap or air fill to protect fragile items.
Product weight might also play a role in deciding which type of packaging is best for you. The heavier the product, the more it will favor a box instead of an envelope. When considering the cost of shipping products, don’t forget to budget for cushioning materials.
Average Package Dimensions
Larger packages generally cost more to ship than smaller ones. Even once you’ve calculated shipping based on weight, don’t forget to review dimensional weight and how it might impact your shipping costs. This is how carriers are ensuring they get compensated to transport large packages that take up a great deal of room on trucks. When you can fit a product into a smaller box, the smaller option is always preferable when optimizing your spending, unless it compromises the safety of the shipment.
The heavier your packages are, the more they will cost to ship. Some services do offer flat rate shipping, which eliminates variability in shipping costs, but most of the time shippers avoid flat rates because it results in higher costs for smaller, lighter packages.
How far your package is traveling will impact its cost. This is one reason why many companies opt to work with a third-party logistics company. That way, they can take advantage of multiple warehouse locations to get products closer to consumers to reduce shipping costs.
Reducing the number of zones that a package must travel through will help reduce shipping costs. If you can get your goods distributed in warehouses throughout the country, that will help.
Shipping Solutions Benefits By Carriers
The best carrier for your packages will vary based on your shipping factors. Depending on the weight, size, and distance the package needs to travel, one carrier may win overall, but this is why business have options for multiple carriers. But as you look for the best small business shipping service, here’s a snapshot of the 3 major carriers and what they are best for.
uShip is a solution made to allow shippers to meet carriers, and carriers meet shippers, taking out the general middleman.
- Send anything from cars, appliances to boxes.
- Real tracking feature modeled after flight tracker, but for your shipments. Tracker includes status updates and location sharing.
- Mobile with texts alerts and tracking
- Marketplace tools like message center and shipping estimates allow you to organize and budget shipments
- Safe shipping practices both physically and fiscally with trusted and rated carriers
2Ship allows users to search shipping options by showing all available carrier rates, allowing customers to get the best pricing. As an online, multi-carrier shipping platform for businesses, 2Ship makes choosing the right carrier services simple.
- One ship screen with two different modes that includes all pertinent information for any type of shipment
- One click tracking from all carriers at once to analyze and compare carrier performance
- Real-time visibility to see reports and make strategic choices for your shipments.
- Real-time tracking of everything you ship
- Real-time shipment information
- Inbound and receiving operation tools
- OnHold system for queued order shipments
USPS offers many outstanding tools and benefits for small businesses. Here’s a look at some of those benefits.
- Loyalty and rewards based on shipping volume
- Click and ship tools
- Direct marketing assistance using every door direct mail
- Same-day and next-day delivery for local customers
- Pay and print postage from your computer with ease
- Return services to make accepting customer returns simple
- Least expensive service for small, light packages
UPS provides unique services you might not find with other carriers, these benefits include the following.
- Warehousing and fulfillment services
- Simple international shipments
- Shipping with a minimal carbon footprint
- Good for large shipments
- Schedule pickups
- Track packages online with ease
- Get significant business shipping discounts
FedEx offers some of the fastest delivery timeframes at decent prices, but you’ll also find a host of other benefits for small businesses.
- Fedex rewards provides monthly offers and cash back on shipping
- Up to 30% off shipping for business accounts
- Save on printing and shipping services
- Outstanding customer service
- Temperature-controlled option
Managing Costs and Customer Expectations
The best small business shipping solutions help you meet customer expectations while managing expenses. But with the best service, you can also reduce your workload by working with services that help with some aspects of the shipping process, such as warehousing and fulfillment or packaging items for you.
Most small businesses start out using USPS for their shipping needs. The carrier has the best rates for packages that weigh less than 5 pounds.
The cheapest way to ship a small business package will vary based on the size, weight, and delivery location of the item. Smaller, lighter items tend to be cheapest with USPS while larger, heavier items are best suited for UPS. FedEx’s strong suit is fast delivery and guaranteed delivery timeframes.
Flat rate shipping is one way to save on shipping costs. Another is to use different carriers based on the package characteristics and where it is traveling to. This will ensure you get the best rates.
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