Usually, a shipping strategy is not as high of a priority for small business owners as it should be. However, you will rethink everything whenever it starts hindering your sales flow and affecting customer retention. Shipping is a connecting link between a merchant and the customer, and what arrives on the customer’s end is extremely important. Apart from shipping speed and cost, the overall shipping experience matters.
Shipping for small businesses is not limited to just cutting costs, either. A shipping strategy also includes how you sell and what technology you use. Creating a working and suitable shipping strategy is key to satisfying your customers and boosting your business performance. Read on to find out how to choose the best shipping strategy for your small business!
How Do You Create a Small Business Shipping Strategy?
Managing a small business can be tricky since you typically have to set up everything with fewer employees and capital. The trickiest part for small businesses is handling shipping, which needs to be on par with large corporations otherwise customers will shop elsewhere. But how do you create a small business shipping strategy?
There are five main steps for creating a solid small business shipping strategy:
- Go omnichannel
- Use logistics software
- Utilize a shipping platform
- Plan supply stocks
- Get good shipping insurance
We’ll be covering each of these steps in the sections below.
If you are just starting a business, or if you don’t have a large budget, you can partly relieve your shipping costs and increase sales by selling on multiple channels. The logic behind this practice is quite simple. The more channels you occupy, the more you sell. If you sell in giant marketplaces, they already have a shipping policy, so you just have to worry about the stock, inventory, and packing.
This works because most established marketplaces have their own shipping partners that can deliver all of the products sold through their platform, no matter who the seller is. Since they take care of logistics for you, it’s much easier to establish your business and start making a profit. However, selling only on retail platforms is not the right solution for every business. You should definitely have your own personal unique shipping strategy.
Use Logistics Software
It’s impossible these days to run a business without using any sort of technology. There are plenty of solutions for shipping software, or small business customer management systems, which let you integrate other services and tools you are using for shipping.
Logistics software comes with tools that help you automatically track all of your shipping – whether it’s for deliveries from your suppliers or for your customers. Ideally, the logistics software should also be able to process all necessary payments, so you have less to worry about. With good software, you can keep all the orders, shipments and returns in one place, and efficiently analyze and monitor all processes.
Additionally, you can define gaps or weak spots in your supply chain and effectively eliminate disruptions. This can help you save money in the long run, which will increase your profits.
Utilize a Shipping Platform
Shipping stuff on your own will most likely be time-consuming and expensive. Plus, if you ship large items, parcel services will often charge you for extra weight or dimensions. Having multiple carriers available to use or using a reliable shipping platform can make your shipping performance better.
With a good variety of shipping options, you can ensure that you can deliver to all of your customers – whether they live in a big city or a rural area. Providing several shipping options can also give your customers cheaper shipping, which encourages them to buy more from your business.
Some shipping services let you compare freight rates from different carriers at a glance and choose from a huge variety of carriers instead of spending tons of time building your own network. They also let you track every shipment in real-time and often help with documentation. Having a reliable shipping partner is crucial for a successful shipping strategy. With the right shipping partner, you can consistently provide quality services.
Plan Supply Stocks
Once you have a shipping partner, the next part of your shipping strategy is planning your stocks. Buying in bulk is almost always cheaper, so you can save money if you stock up ahead of time. If you resell products, try to buy stocks during sales to gain even more profits. If you create products from raw materials, be sure your stocks will stay usable until you restock.
However, small businesses have to avoid tying up too much capital in physical goods. To make sure you have enough stocks to sell to your customers, but not too much, it’s best to plan ahead. Estimate your expected demand based on previous sales trends. Finally, make sure you regularly stock up when supplies start running low.
Get Good Shipping Insurance
The last factor you need to take into account with your shipping strategy is shipping insurance. Shipping insurance covers the value of the items that you ship, whether they’re supplies or products. This way, if the items get damaged or lost along the way, you can get reimbursed.
Some shipping services offer automatic shipping insurance. Others offer it for a fee – usually a flat fee or a sliding scale fee. There are also third-party shipping insurance services. These are often better options since they won’t be biased towards the shipping partner when any accidents do happen.
What Is the Quickest Way to Set Up a Shipping Strategy?
By now, you should have a good foundation for your shipping strategy based on the tips that were outlined in the sections above. But what is the quickest way to set up a shipping strategy? After all, the faster you are with setting up shipping, the sooner you can start selling your products.
In general, one of the fastest ways to set up your shipping strategy is by finding an affordable and trustworthy shipping partner who will handle most of the logistics for you. And since there are hundreds of shipping partners out there, the easiest way to find the right one for you is by using a freight marketplace like GoShip.
A freight marketplace allows you to search through and compare multiple freight carriers all in one place. With GoShip, you can enter your shipping requirements and compare prices and services within minutes. So if you want to set up your shipping strategy asap, visit GoShip now and get an instant online quotation for your freight needs!