Having an e-commerce business can be extremely rewarding and hold many advantages, but it comes with its own set of challenges as well. When shipping at small volumes, shipping and handling fees can be astronomically high. In the digital age your customers can be located virtually anywhere in the world, and delivering product to them while maintaining a low operational cost can be difficult. Below are some tips to help minimize on fees and keep your business running smoothly:

Know the Rules

Each shipping company has its own set of regulations for shipping product. Federal Express, for example, demands two inches of packing around an item or else any insurance claim for damages may be denied. Knowing these rules and regulations in advance will help save you from a lengthy (and oftentimes expensive) returns claim, as well as any extra fees or taxes.

Know Your Product, Pack Responsibly

When shipping items that don’t break easily, such as a t-shirt, then why make the package bulkier or heavier than it needs to be? Packing the items in courier bags or bubble envelopes instead of boxes with void fillers can help save on shipping fees.

Don't Overpack Your Packages

Items that already come packed in a box, such as shoes, don't need an additional box to be shipped in. Courier bags or envelopes can just as easily be used without worry of damaging the product while at the same time keeping the shipping cost low.

Size Matters

It may seem obvious but the smaller the shipment, the lower the costs. Paying extra for space that is not being used is unnecessary and can easily be avoided by placing goods in the right-sized package. Excess packaging can quickly sneak up on a company, so ensure you have the proper dimensions and measure your products carefully before ordering packaging.

But Weight Matters, Too

The difference of cost for shipping between dead weight and dimensional weight can be significant depending on the product, so pack to avoid the more expensive route. Dead weight literally refers to how much your package weighs. Dimensional Weight (or ‘Dim Weight’ as we call it) actually has nothing to do with weight at all and refers instead to the dimensional size of the package itself. Shipping providers will choose the more lucrative option so it's important to consider both when selecting your packaging. Packing the items with lighter materials, such as bubbles or air packs, can help save on the cost spent on 'weight.' Knowing what's best for the product to keep it safe and yet still maintain the minimum weight charges can greatly help save on costs over the long-run.

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Consolidate & Combine

Shipping individual items one at a time can not only disorganize deliveries to a single customer but also be far less cost effective. Bundling items into one shipment or multi-packing the items can greatly save on fees and be more cost effective towards your dimensional and dead weight fees. Combining two packs by strapping them together and counting them as one shipment can also help save on extra fees for additional items. The fewer the shipment items, the lower the cost.

Build Marketing Plans Around Shipping to Save Even More

Consumers are more likely to purchase more if they're offered an incentive to do so. Some effective deals include 'free shipping', time-sensitive deals, or a certain ‘percentage off’ items over a specific dollar amount. Reward your customers for buying more. You'll be able to save money by bundling items together.

Just because shipping is the last step in the sales process doesn't mean it isn't important. It can be a key area of savings for your business if you make the right choices and follow the above tips.