It doesn’t matter if you’re just starting your small business or scaling things up. You 100% need a shipping solution for your small business to satisfy your customers. Otherwise, how do you expect people to try out your products and offerings? We understand the plight of small business owners. You’re already handling everything from product to retail to marketing. That’s why demystifying your shipping strategy is utterly important to ensure the shipping process is both simple, strategic, and most of all affordable.
Don’t fret—we’re here to simplify the process and explain it to you!
Defining small business shipping
It can seem like there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to shipping, so here are some terms you’ll come across. Simply put, shipping is the process of sending and transporting goods from business to consumer.
When shipping products, several parties are involved. There’s the shipper or business—that’s you! There’s the receiver or consumer, or the one you need to ship an item to. Lastly, there’s the carrier or the one in charge of getting the said item from point A to point B. Small business owners have a responsibility to their customers to select a shipping solution. Luckily for you, there are online shipping platforms like Go Ship that take the pain out of shipping.
Why should you care about your business shipping?
Now that we live in a post-pandemic world, there’s greater digital demand on retailers. Online shopping has taken the world by storm. Consumers are smarter, they know what they want both in a product and its delivery. Choose the wrong shipping plan and you might lose precious customers or repeat buyers. In fact, 62% of U.S. shoppers associate shipping with a positive retail experience. That’s why shipping is crucial to the success of both brick-and-mortar shops and online-only businesses. It has everything to do with customer experience.
As a small business owner, you wear many hats. You’re in charge of production, finances, marketing, customer service, and logistics. Quick, seamless, and affordable shipping benefits both you and your customers. If you’re on an e-commerce platform, you might think that the provided shipping is good enough to handle your retail logistics. But there’s no one size fits all solution to shipping your products.
What Are My Shipping Options?
Retail shipping will make or break your small business. To meet your shipping needs, you have two options: full truckload (FTL) shipping or less-than-truckload (LTL) shipping. Full truckload shipping is the most common freight transport done on the road. It involves shipping in large volumes—over 6 pallets of goods—which fills up an entire truckload. More often than not, truckload shipping is the safer, faster, and more reliable option.
Less-than-truckload or LTL shipping, on the other hand, is another transport method for when your freight can only take up a portion of the truck or trailer. This would be the better option for you if you’re not shipping that many goods. However, your freight will be heading out with shipments from other businesses. For LTL shipping, you’ll be sharing a truckload with other businesses. Your goods will first head to a sorting facility or distribution center. This makes the shipping take a bit longer.
International small business shipping options
Thinking of expanding to countries outside the U.S.? If your receiver’s destination is across the border, say to Canada, you’re fine shipping freight via truck or trailer. However, if you’re shipping overseas, your options are either air freight or sea freight. In other words, you ship your products by flying them out or by cargo ship. Air freight is faster and more reliable but it charges your shipment by weight and size. Shipping via ocean is cheaper if your freight is large and heavy.
Finding the cheapest small business shipping rates
Know if you’re going to use LTL shipping or truckload shipping first. LTL shipping can save you money especially if you can’t fill an entire trailer. Shipping rates can be affected by distance, weight, size, shipping time, freight class, and even soaring fuel prices! Your carrier may even charge a fee to handle, pick up, and deliver your packages.
If possible, opt for flat-rate shipping. It’s standardized pricing for shipping, regardless of how big or heavy the item is. This is where a good shipping strategy comes in for your small business.
Choosing A Carrier
When choosing the best carrier for shipping, it’s best to tailor it to your products. Best to start with the size, weight, and type of packaging of your products. If your items are fragile, you’ll want a carrier capable of handling freight with utmost care. Next, where does the carrier ship to? Make sure they ship to your customer’s location and take note of the average shipping time. Nobody likes a lost or late package. You’ll also want to look into how good your carrier’s service is. Do they have a good track record? Is their staff responsive and well-trained to handle your items? Your brand’s image also relies on the reputation of your carrier.
Get a quote with GoShip
There’s a lot to consider when selecting a shipping method for your small business. To make things easier and more seamless, we at GoShip have a self-service online platform that links you up to the best freight shippers for you and your business. Find a reliable carrier at a price that suits you by heading to an online freight shipping marketplace like GoShip! Get a free quote by visiting our website at GoShip.com.