If shipping is a big part of your small business, it’s definitely a good idea to have a strategy that will ensure your shipping process is efficient. To help you better streamline shipping as a small business, here are a few tips that will help you reach your shipping goals.
- Use technology. If you are still handwriting certain aspects when it comes to shipping, stop. With all the technology available today, there’s no reason to waste time doing everything manually. You will save tons of time by using shipping technology and software that will help speed up the entire ordering process.
- Make processing returns easy. Consider updating your returns policy to ensure that it is clear and easy to understand. When customers have the ability to return items easily, they are much more likely to order from you again. You may go as far as to include a prepaid return label, which makes many customers feel like they have the option to return any unwanted items with ease.
- Update your mailing lists. Take the time to review your mailing lists and get rid of the bad addresses—it will save you money right out of the gate. Keep in mind that people move all the time, and ZIP codes can change from year to year. When you use outdated addresses, you’ll have to deal with unsatisfied customers and costly returns.
- Automated insurance. Decide ahead of time what types of packages need to be insured. For example, create a cut off when it comes to package value or if a package needs insurance when shipped internationally, etc. With rules in place, you’ll no longer have to second-guess if a package needs insurance or not.
- Don’t forget about flat rate pricing. If the packages you ship are between 14 ounces and 3 pounds, Priority Mail is typically going to be your cheapest shipping option. If you can get a commercial rate, you’ll be able to save tons of money on packages that are much heavier as well.
- Ship orders more efficiently. Designate a certain time of day (or two) to do all of your shipping at once. Create a cut-off time for orders so you can ship according to the deadline. For example, all orders placed before 3:00 pm will be shipped that day, and anything after will be sent out the following business day. Once 3:00 hits, you can begin packaging and filling orders and still make your shipping carrier’s deadline for pickup.
- Switch to a fulfillment center. If you are to the point where trying to fulfill orders is just too overwhelming on your own, it may be time to find a fulfillment center that can take care of everything for you. Fulfillment centers build relationships with shipping carriers so they can offer their customers exclusive rates and discounts. A fulfillment center will not only save you money on shipping costs, they will take care of the entire shipping process from packaging to tracking returns. For a small business that is growing faster than anticipated, a fulfillment center is the perfect option when it comes to order management—and will give you more time to focus on more important things.