Does your business depend on shipping?
There are about 1.3 million ecommerce companies out there. Most of them depend on the delivery of a physical product in a timely fashion.
The thing is, the definition of a timely fashion changes as consumer expectations change. Big retailers are raising the stakes, as they offer same-day or two-day delivery. This is going to become the norm soon for all retailers.
The best shipping for small business delivers products that meet and exceeds customer expectations. Read on to learn how you can continue to compete with bigger brands that have way more resources available.
Why Shipping Is so Important to Your Business
Have you ever opened up a product box from Apple? You just invested a lot of money for that product and you’re thrilled to finally have it in your hands. You open up the box and know that it’s something special.
Apple created its packaging and delivery of products as part of the customer experience. How would you feel if you invested a lot of money in a product and it arrived in a beat-up box? On top of that, it was a pain to open?
That’s frustrating and can completely ruin the excitement of the new toy.
Now, put yourself in the customer’s shoes. They order a product from you, it takes a week to get there, and the box looks like it went through the gates of hell to get to you. Now, that’s not an impressive look for your company.
In shipping, shipping speed and presentation matter more than ever. On top of that, customers expect free shipping, too. You’re at a disadvantage by being a smaller organization.
Companies like Amazon have a huge advantage. Amazon has over 75 fulfillment centers staffed by 125,000 people. They can get products out to customers quickly. Due to the volume of orders, shipping companies have to take care of their orders or else risk losing that business.
How to Find the Best Shipping for Small Business
Once you realize how important shipping is to your business, you know that you can’t afford to go with just any shipment company. Here are some tips that you can use to find the best shipping for small business.
Your Business Needs
When you’re choosing a shipping partner, you need to know what you’re looking for. Are you looking for a partner to handle the complete order fulfillment process? Do you store your own inventory and just need a shipper to pick up products and deliver them?
You also want to figure out how much volume you plan to do and the average weight and size of orders. This will give you an idea as to what the costs will be and narrow down the shipping
Improve Fulfillment Efficiency
For small businesses that handle order fulfillment themselves, one area where you can become more efficient is in order fulfillment and packaging.
Take a look at each step of order fulfillment and see where the breakdowns are. You want to make sure that your processes are a smooth as possible.
As noted earlier, larger companies have warehouses strategically placed around the world to speed up shipping. The closer the products are to customers, the faster the shipping will be.
You can do the same thing. This isn’t done by building more warehouses, but by limiting your shipping zones. You can decide to ship products only to people located in the same region as your business.
Don’t Go with the Cheapest Option Because They’re Cheap
Of course, you want to offer cheap or free shipping to your customers. That doesn’t mean that you need to work with a fly by night shipping company that doesn’t deliver on time.
There are a number of things that go into shipping costs. These include the type of shipping service (ground, express, overnight, etc.), weight and dimensions of the package, distance from your business, and the volume of business.
You’re likely to find that there are some companies that are great for giving you a good rate on larger packages, while other shipping companies are good for smaller and heavier packages.
It’s not uncommon for businesses to use multiple shippers to fit their needs. You just want to make sure that you don’t use price as the only decider. You need to weigh cost, speed, and professionalism.
Do you ship a lot of products throughout the year? You can negotiate a volume discount with shipping companies. Even just a little bit of savings can be passed on to your customers and improve your profitability.
One way to make your shipping easier is to use package forwarding. You don’t have to keep an inventory in-house. You order the product from the manufacturer, and then forward that package right to your customers.
This is a great option for those customers that are far away from you.
You worked really hard to get orders in the door. You invested in marketing, did your homework to deliver the right products, and more. You don’t want to lose customers because you chose the wrong shipping company.
The best shipping for small business offers a combination of speed and affordability for you and your customers. If you want to have fast, efficient shipping, look at where you can make improvements in your house first.
Once you improve efficiencies in your warehouse, you’ll want to make sure that you have the right shipping partner.
Do you want more tips to make your business more efficient? Take a look at this site often for more great articles.