Product shipping can seem like a breeze when you have only a few customers.
But when your business grows or you have an influx of orders during a peak season, it can become cumbersome. Hand-delivering products to the post office, or your shipping carrier can quickly eat up your time while purchasing packing at retail can eat up your bottom-line.
Moreover, it can create a poor experience for your customers if delays occur due to inadequate resources. But how can you improve the way you ship? Here are a few best practices to help enhance your process.
1. Look at packaging you use.
Most business customers buy vendor-supplied corrugated packages. However, other options that exist may be lower-priced or even free. For example, USPS offers free packaging for boxes in a variety of sizes and shapes, including shoe boxes and tubes, depending on the volume ordered by its business customers.
It's also important to know the dimensions of your product and package. Carriers often charge the higher amount of the cost of a package's dimensional weight versus the actual package weight. For example, dimensional weights are divided by set values that carriers use to determine how much to charge you for shipping your product in a package that size.
If you're not sure about the dimensions of your product and packers are randomly deciding the box size to use, you may be paying more than what you have to pay by using too large a box.
Know what your products are and which boxes you are using to try to optimize the box sizes for the goods being packed. It will help you to save on cost and minimize getting the dimensional weight charge from the carriers.
2. Give better delivery timeframes.
When you provide your customers with better delivery timeframes, you can improve their shopping experiences. For example, you can consider shipping via a next day service or use a two-day service shipping option if your customers enjoy getting their products quickly.
Compare a ground transit versus air carrier to determine if you are providing the best delivery option for your customer and are saving on transit expenses. Additionally, last-mile or final-mile delivery services, such as FedEx's SmartPost or UPS's SurePost, enhances shipping by optimizing collaboration with USPS.
The postal carrier actually makes the final delivery to your customer, which can help you save on cost.
3. Consider your carriers' service offerings.
Determine if the service offerings your carrier is providing you with best fits your needs. Is your carrier offering options that help you optimize your freight charges? Assess whether or not they are giving you the flexibility you need to service your customers.
Additionally, you can consider the time-in-transit capabilities of your carrier: these can help to improve shipping process by taking advantage of multiple carriers' capabilities to transport goods based on available data that's often integrative with your existing warehouse management systems (WMS) or electronic resource planning (ERP) tools.
For example, instead of shipping your products via a carrier's next day afternoon service, compare the carrier's time-in-transit service to determine if ground shipping is a better option versus using air freight modes of transportation.
Look to a Partner
You may be primarily talking to your carrier and getting their input on how to handle your shipping. But if you're using just one carrier's advice, you may not be getting the overall picture.
Instead of just getting a single perspective from one carrier, consider bringing in a partner so that you can gain additional insight and recommendations on ways to improve your shipping process.