The role of e-commerce is gaining more and more significance as one of the means to facilitate a business in these trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the current situation, shipping was put under the limelight as the most valuable partner of e-commerce.
According to Nosto (2021), fashion and clothing hold 55% or the number one spot in terms of purchased goods next to food deliveries at 32% in the United Kingdom. The ultimate reason why customers prefer buying these items in the e-commerce market is the classic and attractive offer of free shipping. In an article by Saleh (2021), it was revealed how free shipping actually influences online purchase decisions. He revealed that sixty-one percent of customers are somewhat likely to abandon their carts if free shipping is not offered by the seller, ninety-three percent tend to buy more products off-plan if a free shipping option is available, fifty-eight percent add items to their carts only for wanting to qualify for the promo while only a few at twenty-eight percent shop at the physical store. With these facts and stats, not only do they highlight the fundamental role of shipping but how it makes shopping even more convenient for the shopping public. Its presence also meant that shopping can be achieved at a relatively cheaper price since people do not have to go to the store anymore, spend money for their meals (as most consumers have the habit of dining out after shopping), and save time doing it.
However, because of the pandemic, shipping rates rapidly surged and are slowly becoming a burden on the side of small businesses. It is, indeed, true that the best time to gain profit is when there is such a high demand for the service, and all businesses in demand will naturally strike and will always mean business while it is hot. Sadly, not all small business establishments can cover free shipping costs for their customers. Positively, there are fun and creative ways to reduce shipping fees and still keep patrons in line. With a few innovative ideas, you can continue running the business competitively. Here are a few ways you can try that are as equally effective as free shipping:
Bargain with your shipping partner
Because you actually can. Like any other business whatever the industry is, they can offer you bulk or reduced pricing for your transaction too. Make an effort to scout for potential partners, be it for your supplies or your products for shipping. Compare their rates and offer and once you have finalized your plans, make negotiations. If the shipping company values any form of business, they will need you as much as you need them.
Check your packaging
After you calculate shipping costs, make sure that your products for shipping are properly packed to minimize broken items and some potential bad reviews. Know that if certain items get broken while they are in transit, couriers do not hold liability and this is most likely reflected in the agreement you signed with them. This also goes on top of your overhead expenses as waste so to spare yourself from this situation, pack smartly. Use courier-prescribed boxes, envelopes, tapes, and fillers. Not only do these materials protect your items but it is also a good representation of your brand. Prevent any loss or damage by packing tightly as possible to avoid extra space which makes movement possible while in transit. You can also save money if you can work on different packaging materials and styles. For example, since toys are all not in the same shape, you can do away with boxing and just make use of parcel packaging so no hollow spaces are left in between. This saves you space and dimension and therefore strips off a few bucks in the total shipping rate.
Help your customers find shipping coupons and discounts
This would be the most personalized way you can assist them in checking out their carts. Shipping discounts are all over the internet. Discounts are more reasonable to give out considering that businesses have a pile of expenses to pay. Offering this kind of assistance provides your customer another reason why they should buy your items. Not only do sales and discounts help your online shoppers save money but they also help you in terms of sales, reputation, and brand recognition.
Take advantage of flat rate shipping
Flat rate shipping means that the shipping cost is not directly attributed to the item’s weight, shape, and size. It is always based on how much load you can put into the box provided by your shipping partner. This is very cost-efficient since you do not have to buy the boxes anymore nor go to the post office since your shipping partner will be the one to come to you to collect the packed goods.
We cannot really get away with shipping costs in e-commerce. Hopefully, these ideas help you come up with even more ways to reduce shipping fees taking into account that many customers want to pay as little as possible. Focus on the creation of cost-effective and customer-centered strategies. Do not look at it as if shipping companies are a cost center, look at them as a strong group that backs up your business by bridging you and your products to your paying customers, and like any other business, there is a price associated with that.
About the Author:
Bash Sarmiento is a writer and an educator from Manila. He writes laconic pieces in the education, lifestyle, and health realms. His academic background and extensive experience in teaching, textbook evaluation, business management, and traveling are translated into his works.