How Small Businesses Can Offer Competitive Shipping Rates

Owning and running a small business throws you into the world of management. You get to wear many hats at once and learn new things every day. You control production, marketing and strategizing, as well as pricing your products to stay ahead of the competition.

Some things take time to learn and familiarize yourself with. Small business owners often see their shipping costs rise over time, which is caused by carriers raising fees and gas prices increasing. While those things are out of your control, you still want to keep your shipping costs low for customers who might otherwise walk away.

Read on to learn how small businesses can offer competitive delivery rates. With a little extra thought and strategy, you’ll figure out how to handle the costs of shipping goods and still impress customers with your fees. It may feel like a challenge, but any small business owner can rethink their rates to become the better option for people who would otherwise shop with major brands.

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Set Clear Expectations

No one wants to put items in their e-cart and get sticker shock when they go through the checkout process. Shipping expenses aren’t always listed upfront, so this kind of surprise is common. Customers will appreciate the clear expectations you set up when they get to read your rates ahead of time.

Create a subsection of your website dedicated to explaining shipping costs. Consider offering transparent rates at different pricing tiers. You could charge $5 for domestic and more for international delivery. The flat fee shows you care about your customer’s experience and don’t want them to feel like they need to overpay for what they want.

Offer Free Shipping

Big businesses like Amazon have made free shipping the new standard. Although it may not be possible for you to pay for every shipment, you can make it appear that way.

Many businesses now include shipping in a product’s price, so customers see that magic zero appear while they check out. Recent studies show that 91% of customers will leave a website automatically if free shipping isn’t available. Offering free delivery is one easy way to reach that major consumer base.

Choose Different Packaging

You might not think about how you package products for shipment, but it makes a big difference in how much you pay. Little things like choosing padded envelopes instead of boxes will significantly reduce your shipping costs. Packaging airbags instead of peanuts or styrofoam could also decrease the overall price. 

Pay Attention to Codes

Depending on what you sell, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) Code could cost you less money than you currently pay to ship. It’s easy to get HS codes confused if you don’t read about how to find them, but that time will be worth it. You can find the correct HS numbers for your products that won’t add fees to your international sales.

Do Your Research

If you feel ready to take a second look at the shipping fees you charge your customers, it’s time to do some research. Little things like reading about HS codes or packaging products in new ways will make a considerable difference in impressing shoppers with your competitive rates.