If your company plays in the ever-growing direct-to-consumer business, then you’ve seen this movie before. Increased competition in e-commerce coupled with constantly rising shipping costs makes it harder every year to hit your financial targets.
What are some easy ways to net MATERIAL savings on shipping, to improve your marginal costs and allow you to grow more profitably? We’ve identified 5 ways you can put money directly to the bottom line without distracting your team or having to cut a bunch of checks.
1 – Negotiate with Multiple Carriers
It’s simple; the more you ship, the less you should pay. In fact, most small businesses don’t realize they’re eligible for shipping discounts. Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a member of a large team, you have more bargaining power than you think. Use your data to negotiate with carriers and get the rates you deserve. There are a ton of variables that go into your discount rate, so if you’re not sure how much you could be saving, use a discount benchmarking tool from your shipping analytics provider. Use your data to your advantage! (More on that later..) You can choose to perform these negotiations yourself (which can potentially be time consuming), or you can use a company like Refund Geeks to negotiate on your behalf. Most companies that provide negotiation services work on a gainshare pricing model, where you’re not obligated to pay them anything – they’ll take a percentage of what they save you in exchange for their services.
2 – Shipping Tech
There are a number of ways to use technology to improve your shipping process. If you’re an ecommerce business, you should consider using a fulfillment platform. This will make your process more efficient by allowing you to sort through all classes of shipment while comparing pricing using real time information. You’ll also be able to print shipping labels in large batches, even between multiple carriers, all from the same platform. There are a lot of great options when it comes to Fulfillment Platforms, but our favorite is ShipStation.
If you ship in high volume, start by using an auditing & analytics platform to organize your shipping data and automatically find & claim refunds. Some of these services don’t charge monthly fees, just a small commission on refunds you would have missed out on in the first place. If you’re trying to save money on shipping, an auditing & analytics platform like should be your first step. We believe our platform at Refund Geeks is the perfect solution to this problem.
3 – Packaging Efficiency
Carriers use dimensional weight to set charges for shipping. This means the price you pay is either the dimensional weight, or the actual weight, whichever is greater. Solution? Use the smallest possible box and get rid of excess packaging material. Small changes can make a big impact!
We also recommend buying packaging in bulk, and reusing as much packaging material as possible. Boxes, paper, bubble wrap, packing peanuts, and other shipping materials add up to significant costs whether you’re a small business or a big organization. Plus it makes your business more eco friendly. That’s a classic win-win.
4 – Smarter Label Creation
If you’re a high volume shipper, you should consider having your own label printer. This will speed up fulfillment times and lower your cost by avoiding those expensive individual stick on packaging slips. You can either purchase a label printer or lease one for $2 a week or get it subsidized through the UPS Customer Technology Program.
For small ecommerce businesses, utilize shipping features that are included with your online store like Etsy or Shopify. Both services let you print shipping labels from multiple carriers which include special preferred rates. They will also notifying the customer of the shipments status automatically by sending them tracking directly. Let your system work for you, so you have more time to work for yourself!
5 – Utilize your data
There are countless data points related to your shipping that can allow you to make your process more efficient. This data can help your business answer questions like: What is my average cost per package? What is my state distribution breakdown? What should my discount percentage be?
The best way to answer these questions is to use an analytics platform. These platforms filter through all of your shipping data and populate it into reports/charts/graphs so you’ll always be on top or your shipping. Businesses use these analytics to understand their spend breakdown, where they should be setting up distribution centers, how much of a discount they can leverage during carrier negotiations, and countless other valuable insights.
Which analytics platform do we prefer? Refund Geeks, of course! Our analytics platform is completely free for all users who use our automated refund service.
So what should you do first? Anything! Making any small steps towards improving your business is certain to pay off down the road. What are you waiting for??