~by Dixie Somers~
As a small business owner, you are an entrepreneur, but this does not mean that you can sit back and take it easy when it comes to the daily workings of your company. Instead, you need to ensure that your investments are protected on a daily basis. If your business takes part in shipping items to customers, you will know that shipping and handling fees often have the power to get the best of you.
Consider these five ways to optimize your business’s shipping methods, performance and costs.
1. Beware of Fragile Items
Your customers are counting on receiving their items in pristine condition, just as they would if they had picked them off the shelves themselves. Be particularly careful packing fragile items by wrapping them thoroughly in bubble wrap and padding them with newspaper or Styrofoam pellets. For very fragile items, nest the first box inside another box lined with Styrofoam pellets.
2. Work with a Shipping Carrier for Fees and Services
Consider working with one carrier only so that you can work out a shipping and delivery schedule with them. In addition, work closely with your chosen carrier to determine their requirements and charges for ground versus air shipping based on weight and distance. According to Entrepreneur, businesses that do not follow this important step spend up to 40% more on shipping charges than those that do.
3. Offer Expedited Shipping
While you may choose to offer free shipping for basic shipping methods and purchases, many customers will appreciate having expedited shipping options. Offering next-day or two-day shipping methods will help you get last-minute orders and will win you new customers. All major shippers offer these types of options.
4. Use a Brokerage Service
If you are shipping internationally, consider choosing a brokerage service, which will get you the best prices for shipping and will help ensure that your boxes make it successfully out of the country. A broker can help you file remotely, obtain customs bonds for large orders and navigate duties and taxes.
5. Make it Personal
Customers love the personal touch of personalized wrapping or tissue paper inside their boxes. Even sticking a business card or thank you note inside the box will help them feel that they connected with your business.
The way you choose to ship your items to your customers has a lot to say about your company in general. It will show whether you truly care about your products and about your reputation, or if your only concern is your bottom line. By optimizing your shipping practices, you will find yourself spending less money while enhancing customer relations.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer who loves writing for business, finance, and those with an entrepreneurial spirit. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three beautiful daughters.