High shipping costs increase your business’ expenses, discourage customers from completing their purchases, and eat into your bottom line. In this article, we share five expert tips on the cheapest ways to ship your packages in 2022 and save money on your business.
Inflation and higher shipping costs
According to a recent IMF study, higher shipping costs play a role in inflation, and the consequences are quite persistent. The study showed that when shipping rates double, inflation rises by 0.7 percentage points, peaks 12 months later, and lasts up 18 months. Several factors contribute to a hike in shipping costs, such as higher fuel prices, shortage of truck drivers, and increased e-commerce purchasing. Although these factors are out of your control as a small business owner, finding cheaper package shipping options can help mitigate the effect of higher shipping costs on your profit margin.
1) Calculate Shipping Costs Ahead of Time
An effective way to lower shipping costs is by calculating the average cost of shipping products to your customers ahead of time. Predicting this cost may be a little tedious since you can’t always know the specifics of every potential order. However, a popular approach to this problem is to examine your current average order volume (AOV) and the cost of shipping your most common orders to get an estimated shipping cost for future sales.
You can build this estimated cost into a product’s overall price and offer free shipping–even though the customer is technically paying the shipping fees.
2) Use flat-rate shipping when possible.
Flat-rate shipping is a uniform pricing method that doesn’t depend on an item’s weight, shape, or size. The shipping cost is only determined by the size of the flat-rate box in which the package is shipped. Using flat-rate shipping can significantly lower your shipping costs since you won’t be paying higher amounts to ship heavy items. Another advantage is that this method is usually immune to peak surcharges, making it a cost-effective option for shipping during the holiday season.
Some carriers will also charge a flat rate, irrespective of the package’s destination. This allows you to ship various items to different locations for the same fee, as long as they fit into the flat-rate boxes and fall within the stipulated weight limits. On the flip side, if you ship lightweight items frequently and possibly over short distances, this method may cost you more than standard shipping rates.
3) Reduce package weight
Standard shipping fees are directly proportional to the weight of a package. Therefore, the heavier an item is, the more it will cost to ship it. Reducing package weight can help skim some pennies off your shipping costs. And while saving a few cents per package may seem too little to matter, accumulating these savings over time can significantly improve your profit margin.
One of the ways to reduce package weight is by packing your items in corrugated boxes. These boxes are sturdier, lighter, and more resistant to moisture and sudden temperature changes than regular cardboard boxes. Where applicable, you can also use lightweight packing materials, such as packing paper, bubble wrap, air pillows, foam inserts, etc.
4) Choose the right packaging.
Packaging plays a role in your shipment’s dimensional weight because it extends around your freight in all three dimensions. Using the wrong packaging often creates extra space inside the package that may require padding out with additional materials. This increases your shipment’s size and weight and costs you more money to ship.
To avoid paying more than you should for shipping, look into areas you can cut down weight in your packaging. Begin by measuring your items to determine the most appropriate packaging size to use. If you ship smaller, non-fragile items like pillows, linens, or clothing, using poly mailers or envelopes rather than boxes can lower shipping costs. Also, consider using “ships in container” (SIOC) packaging. This will prevent you from spending money on additional packaging while ramping up shipping fees.
5) Look for carrier discounts.
Shipping carriers typically offer pricing discounts to businesses based on their shipping volumes. However, small businesses do not need to ship hundreds of packages monthly to access discounted rates from these companies. Compare prices from several carriers while keeping an eye out for companies that offer discounts to small to mid-sized businesses. You can also negotiate lower shipping rates rather than taking a carrier’s offer “as-is.” If you expect a higher volume of orders in the coming months, you can share your projections with shipping companies to help tilt the negotiations in your favor.
Find the cheapest carrier with GoShip
One of the best ways to reduce shipping costs is using an online freight marketplace like GoShip. GoShip helps you find the cheapest package shipping rates by connecting you with thousands of professional, affordable freight carriers. By eliminating the need for a broker, our platform saves you extra money since you won’t need to pay a third-party agent. We also examine shipments and offer practical advice on how to save costs further.